Boaters who transit the Dismal Swamp Canal, which George Washington called a "glorious paradise," experience the serenity of the pristine, untamed wilderness that once covered more than 1 million acres of southern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.
However, the canal gives just a taste of Dismal Swamp, one of North America's great wetland forests. To experience what lies within the dense stands that line the narrow waterway, tie up at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center and walk across the pontoon swing bridge into Dismal Swamp State Park.
Elizabeth City is on a sharp bend of North Carolina's Pasquotank River, just below the U.S. 158 bascule bridge. It's the major port on the Dismal Swamp Canal route and about 20 miles from the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in Albemarle Sound.
Tie up at Parks Marina and visit one of the last waterman communities in the Chesapeake
A shoal follows the point of land's finger far out into the Graveyard of the Atlantic.
Heaving swells, grown powerful in their travel across the ocean, thrash in agony as they meet the shoal and die. Seagulls and pelicans bank warily overhead, though fish by the hundreds flash in the shallows. They know that swooping down for a meal can bring crash landings as the waves leap and lunge.
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