Elizabeth City Rose Buddies

Dismal Swamp Canal Janet Anderson

In some ways, the Dismal Swamp Canal is one of the most challenging sections of the trip for the SAIL Magazine Rally. The navigation is a cinch, and lockmaster, Robert Peek, reassured us that the occasional “bump-bump” of a sunken piece of wood is no problem with a sailboat’s keel-protected prop.

But the canal also means that we need to fit our 20 Rally boats, plus all the other boats of peak season, into the locks. It took a couple of lockings at South Mills, rafting us all the way across, to get everyone through. Move over, there is lots more room down the center aisle! Eventually we had the entire chamber full for the eight-foot drop.

South Mills Lock (1)

Ultimately, we all made it to Elizabeth City, the “Harbor of Hospitality,” a town that has welcomed boaters for decades. Two older gentlemen used to greet all the boats coming to EC’s courtesy docks, giving each female crew member a rose from their garden. The tradition continues, with a “Rose Buddy Reception” put on by the town any night that there are sufficient boats visiting their port. Tonight, the city put out the welcome mat for the Rally, hosting a fabulous fried chicken and BBQ meatball social provided by the waterfront restaurant, Groupers. A big thanks to Christina Rehklau, the new direction of the CVB, who ran flight control from her cell phone on a Sunday, including arranging for the police to provide access to our overflow docks! Now that’s hospitality!

Rose Buddies Ladies

{Photos by 1. Janet Anderson and 3. Mark Doyle}

 

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