I will be going ICW south from MD. Has anyone gone through the Swamp route or the Virginia Cut route? If you have please let me know if eighter has advantages or disadvantages and which you prefered. _/) Thanks
I had a Pacific Seacraft Crealock 37, and fully loaded, I drew 6 feet. I enjoyed the Dismal Swamp, especially since it offered protection from the previous two weeks of bad weather I had experienced. True, I did rub my keel against the bottom a few times, but it was very soft mud. I would ask the locals about the current conditions, just to make sure. If the channel is a foot deeper than your keel, I would by all means take the swamp.l The overnight tie up is a great place to finally sit down and meet the boats that you have been traveling south with.
I went down the VA and up the Dismal... the Swamp route is certainly less trafficked, less well maintained, shallower, and has less conveniences, but is definitely more beautiful and more historical... the lock keeper at South Mills lock knew a lot of the history of the area and was very willing to share it (for instance, up until the end of WWII a small lake in the swamp was the official source of casked water for the US Navy)
I agree with the previous posts - if your draft is shallow enough, the Swamp route is well worth it - a note, though - the locks only cycle twice a day (like 8:30am and 3:30pm) - we spent a night anchored next to each lock, having missed the cycle time by less than an hour both times.