[Kyle]Due to the combination of the complexities of bridge opening times and the paucity of places to stop en-route, our first day from Portsmouth was a short one; we left at 5pm to catch the first bridge openings after rush hour, and then proceeded down a part of the Elizabeth River that we had never manged to see before. I must say, it was probably the ugliest stretch of river I'd ever seen; derelict factories and rusted hulks lining both sides, spindly trees straining to grow through the muck.
The View was not exactly inspiring, but it was nice to be finally headed South on our way to a warmer climate. About 5 miles South of Portsmouth we made the turn into the alternative ICW route, into the Dismal Swamp Canal; immediately things became much more tranquil and prettier. We arrived at the first locks at Deep Creek, just as the last light of day was fading. We passed several boats anchored outside the lock, and we tied to an empty dolphin at the entrance (don't be worried, this dolphin is not the marine mammal, but a mass of wooden post strapped together in a cone shaped bundle). For some reason we were the only boat to do this, it may be that the other 5 or 6 in the anchorage either didn't know that the dolphins were here for that purpose, or they may have been concerned about draft (not a concern for us). I sure hope they don't know something we don't! So we are closest to the lock to traverse in the morning and shall have an easy start as all we have to do is untie ourselves from the dolphin - not have to haul up a muddy anchor.
The anchorage is very peaceful, quiet and protected; glassy water. It already seems that we are a million miles from the endless industrial noise of the Portsmouth waterfront; a fitting start to our journey south.