Cruisin' The Loop Aboard Kibon
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Saturday, November 14, 2003
Pearce got up as the sun was rising so that he could start the generator and try to get the temperature out of the 50s.  He reported that some of the boats were already showing signs of leaving.  We snuggled back under the covers for an hour and were among the last to leave.  We looked at the historic houses along the riverside and  passed the Coast Guard Station.  Pearce said that a few years back when the Coast Guard was downsizing and wanted to close the station on Long Island, they said that planes from this station would cover the New York area.  That's a long distance to cover when there's an emergency.  Thankfully, the Coast Guard changed its mind.  Further on down the Pasquotank we spotted the huge dirigible hanger that is big enough to house 6 dirigibles.  This is where all the dirigibles here in the United States are built -- all except the Goodyear one.  There were two hangers, but one burned down a few years ago.  Even so, it's an impressive sight.

The trip across Albemarle Sound was a little rocky, and we had to secure everything again.  We had bought those sticky tie-downs from West Marine for the TV and the printer.  The first ones broke when we were in the ocean off the Delmarva Peninsula, and we figured the TV was too heavy for the strap.  Now we found that the straps on the small TV and the printer (which is really lightweight) have also broken.  The only thing that seems to be holding is the sticky part that goes on the counter (even that came unglued on the side of the TV).  As we neared the other side of the Sound we began to see lots of sailboats and a few trawlers beginning to gather.  The tender at the Alligator Bridge has a great deal of patience and a lot of personality.  She would open the bridge every 10 to 15 minutes, just as soon as 3 or 4 boats would gather.  Once there was a lot of traffic waiting for the boats, but the cars had to be patient, too.  We passed 10 or more sailboats as we headed down the Alligator River, but most of them caught up to us by late afternoon when everyone anchored around the corner before the Canal.  

Sunday, November 15, 2003
 Same scenario as yesterday morning with one variation -- Kay got up to turn on the heat.  By the time we had a nice hot breakfast, all the boats that had anchored for the night were underway.  We even saw two more go by -- they must have stayed at the south end of the Alligator River.  We all headed down the Canal which is lined with stumps of cypress trees.  There were a few logs floating, and we passed a HUGE pile of logs that had been pulled from the canal after Isabel.  Pearce said, "That's one big beaver dam."  There's a dredging operation along several miles of the canal around mile 120.  As we neared the end of the canal, we began to pass all the sailboats that had left ahead of us.  One is from Nova Scotia -- maybe they don't think this weather is too cold!  We pulled out of the line at Dowry Creek to buy some diesel.  Since we needed over 300 gallons, it was $1.03 a gallon.  We also filled up on water -- Kay washed her hair this morning -- and continued on our way.  Most of the sailboats were headed into Belhaven, but we continued on down the Pungo River and crossed the Pamlico River.  The crossing was so calm that Pearce suggested that we head east and go around and down Pamlico Sound to the Neusse River.  Kay disagreed with this thought and pointed out that we could end up watching the sunset before we reached Oriental, NC.  We crossed the Pamlico River and headed up Goose Creek.  Some of the boats we had been moored with this morning were anchored in little creeks -- they'll probably pass us again tomorrow.  We'd decided to tie up at RE Mayo, Co's shrimp fishing dock.  There were three sailboats already tied up there, one seems to be a permanent attraction, but the other two were from Solomon's, MD.  The docking price is $.20 a foot plus another $.10 for electricity.  The company is closed on Sundays, so there is no one to collect our money.  The electrical outlets look like they could produce a fire so we'll depend upon our generator.  Maybe we'll find some answers tomorrow when the shrimp boats come in.  A sailboat started to tie up but decided it did not like the accommodations.  Skipper Bob said the "docks need repair" but they look fine where we are.  Pearce was happy because he could put the satellite dish on a dock so he could watch the end of the football games and see 60 Minutes.  We think we'll go to bed early tonight because we may be awakened at dawn tomorrow when the shrimp boats come in and start unloading their catch.

Monday, November 16, 2003
Pearce must have gotten up with the sun because by 7 am he had paid our $8 dockage fee, chatted with the "old boys" in the office, cast off our lines, and we were again underway with the two sailboats following behind.  For once we left before the sailboats!  As we left the river we passed by the Pamlico tow  with its barge heading north.  This was the tow we had heard yesterday as he tried to get the attention of some sailboats (probably the two we'd spent the night with).  He wanted them to move over so he could pass them, but they didn't have their radios on.  Pamlico Sound was beautiful, but it was difficult to see because we were headed directly into the sun.  We made the turn to the south into the Neuse River, caught up to two more sailboats, and were passed by two fast cruisers.  We arrived in Oriental by 9:30 am and headed to the free town dock.  There's only room for two boats there, and both sides of the pier were occupied by two sailboats we'd been with in Elizabeth City.  They'd put in two long days to get this far.  We rafted up with the Kentucky Woman and went ashore to get our mail.  Skipper Bob's book said the post office was just a quarter mile away, but that was before they moved it a few years ago.  Now it is three-quarters of a mile up the road.  Pearce returned to the boat to read the mail while Kay stopped in all the shops.  We had called Bob and Eulene Smith earlier, and they said they'd meet us and guide us in to their dock.  They pulled up to the town dock just as Kay got back there.  Bob and Pearce took the boat to their house while Eulene and Kay stopped at a local restaurant, M & M, where many of Eulene's counted cross-stitch works of art are hanging for the holidays.  The owner of the restaurant has a changing display of local talent, and Eulene and three other local ladies have more than 50 pieces hanging here.  They are all beautiful.

Bob and Pearce maneuvered Kibon through the mud to the dock behind the Smith's house.  Kibon pushed a lot of mud aside and settled in next to the dock.  We secured the boat with some lines because we expect some heavy weather to come in, but we weren't moving anywhere. Bob had sold his big boat several years ago and the Neuse River mud has multiplied profusely. Kibon was very safely bedded down for the coming nor'easter.

Next: The Big Blow in Oriental and on Southward