Remembering Dismal Swamp Canal Lockmaster, Robert Peek


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January 28, 2021. Recently, in an email exchange with a fellow cruiser on Instagram, I learned that Robert Peek, the lockmaster of the Deep Creek lock on the Dismal Swamp Canal had unexpectedly passed away on October 1, 2020. His obituary appeared in the October 4, 2020 Virginian – Pilot. Robert’s passing was a loss to family, friends, and the boating community that cruises the historic and beautiful Dismal Swamp Canal and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.

Robert never met a stranger. Thanks to his expansive collection of conch shells, he was affectionately known to cruisers as “the conch man.” His collection lined the walkways outside the lock office. He told me that numerous cruisers passing through the lock had brought him shells they had picked up especially for him during their travels. If you were lucky, he would play you a tune on one of his many shells. Tributes written to Robert appear on the Great Harbour Trawlers, website and in the Waterway Guide.

To his family, friends, and fellow lockmasters, we offer our prayers and deepest sympathy. Robert was a good person that made cruisers through the lock feel welcome and appreciated. May he Rest In Peace.

When the golden sun is setting

And the earth no more you trod

May your name in gold be written

By the sacred hand of God.

Oh Captain My Captain

MarineTraffic and Libby


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Tuesday, January 19, 2021. For cruisers, there are many apps that help us along the way. There are also two that I use daily, whether cruising or not — Marine Traffic and Libby.

On October 2, 2020, as we crossed the Charleston Harbor in route to Beaufort, SC we passed the exquisite motoryacht, Sycara V. From MarineTraffic, I learned it was 223.7′ long.

MarineTraffic is useful to identify other boats and their proximity when cruising. When not cruising, I use it to identify boats I see cruising the ICW while I’m in my writing room or at the dock and watching boats passing the marina on the ICW. On my morning walk, I typically walk to the Charleston Harbor, and use MarineTraffic to identify boats on the harbor, as well as those running offshore.

What got me into MarineTraffic, when not cruising? This past spring and summer, a number of yachts in excess of two hundred feet, visited the Charleston Harbor. From Mount Pleasant, I could see them anchored, but they were too far away to be identified. One afternoon while talking with a friend while our dogs played by the harbor, he asked if I had the MarineTraffic app on my phone. When I said yes, he asked why I wasn’t using it to identify the yachts. It was a “duh” moment! For a couple of years, the app had been sitting, unused, on my phone! With MarineTraffic, I can tell where the boat cast off from that day, its destination, speed in knots, the length in meters, and the flag of the country in which the boat is registered. If nothing else, the information is a great conversation starter on a quiet day.

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Libby ~ If you enjoy reading or listening to audio books, Libby can save you hours of time and trips to the library. Equally important, with Libby, you don’t have to worry about returning a book or audio disc to the library past due. All you need for Libby is your local library card. In the app store, 1.3M people have given Libby a 4.8 rating! Whether you read while cruising or simply enjoy reading at home, Libby is a great and convenient app to have on your phone or iPad, maybe that’s why it’s an “Editor’s Choice” app.

Follow In My Wake,

Oh Captain My Captain