Cruisin' The Loop Aboard Kibon
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Friday, June 27.  Pearce scrubbed Kibon down and tried to get off the "mustache" that we had grown coming up the Waccamaw River, but Dawn didn't do it.  We'll get out the fiberglass cleaner when we stop at a marina again.  Kay did the laundry while Pearce looked at a few more galleries.  A truly great one is The Beaufort Fine Arts Gallery, on Turner Street a half-block back from the docks. Pearce took one of his paintings there, the curator liked "the colors", etc.,  but said, "We're really only interested in North Carolina artists..." Pearce's pitch that "I pass through North Carolina twice a year" didn't cut the ice. It's okay, he can handle rejection after a lifetime in sales. We left shortly after noon and rejoined the ICW above Beaufort.  We are quite a distance inland as the ICW cuts through to the Neuse River.  The trip up the Neuse has been quiet so far.  We by-passed Oriental  because our friends left yesterday to attend graduation ceremonies on Long Island, NY.  We'll catch them on the way back next fall.  We didn't go very far today, perhaps because we only left at noon, but we have found a lovely anchorage on Broad Creek off of mile 173.  We did not go into the guide book's suggestion of Burton Creek because we saw two local sailboats anchored opposite that creek.  There is a dockage further up the creek, and there are a few sailboats anchored near the docks.  We are very happy here, and we hope this good weather will hold for the rest of our trip up the river and around the corner at Pamlico River.

Saturday, June 28.  We're out early to be sure we catch the gentle winds.  There's a bit of a bumpy ride down the rest of the Neuse River, but things calm down as we head up the Pamlico River... then the Pungo River and into the Pungo Alligator Canal.  Doesn't that sound delightful?  There are only a few docks along the way, and the homes are all temporary mobile homes hopefully awaiting the permanent structures.  We did pass a few boats on the shore with the occupants enjoying the water.  There were no water skiers, and most of the boats we passed were working crabers.  The whole canal is narrow and is lined with stumps.  Later, when we came into tonight's marina, we met one of the boats that had passed us.  The fast sport fisherman ran into engine problems and came into the Alligator River Marina, the only place for 51 miles from Bellhaven just before we entered the canal.  We found out that they are running the boat from Palm Beach to Barrington, RI.  The skipper is Bill Gillbane, Brown class of '99, whose uncle Dick Carrolan is from our class.  You never know who you are traveling with or meeting along the way.

Pearce found a kite while he was sorting out things in the lockers, so he flew the kite for a while as we motored down the canal.  That's always a way to pass slow time.  We didn't see too much wild life along the way.  There was a wild turkey drinking his fill at the waterside.  Do you think he will still be here next Fall?  He may be a bit bigger then to serve for Thanksgiving dinner.

Kay went down to the cabin during the afternoon, turned on the generator so that she could sew up one of the v-berth cushions, and the generator stopped.  We thought about barbecuing dinner, but we weren't sure that a breeze would come up so we wouldn't need the air conditioner, so we continued another 30 miles.  We are hooked up to dockside electricity, and Pearce will check out the generator's problems tomorrow morning when the engine compartment cools down.  By the way, the people here are really nice, the gas station store has all kinds of items you might need, but don't believe their ad about Capt'n Charlies Seafood Restaurant.  There's a short order grill, lots of deep fried items, and a few eat-in booths.

Sunday, June 29.  Pearce spent several hours working on the generator and decided that the problem was in the filters.  Unfortunately we had not packed any spares, so we started out toward Albemarle Sound and the Virginia Cut where we were sure to find a marine supply store and maybe someone who would look at the generator.  Kay remembered that an e-mail from the Armstrongs said they intended to be in Manteo on Roanoke Island.  Pearce said that's just to the east of us, call them, and maybe we should go visit.  So we made a right hand turn to the east and came over to Roanoke Island.  It was a bit further than his 7 mile guess, but we arrived there in a few hours and have found a lovely dock at the Shallowbag Bay Club.  It is a condominium and marina, and the people are just wonderful.  We passed by the Elizabeth II, a replica of the boats that brought the early colonists to this New World.    When we got to Shallowbag Bay Marina, the dockmaster, Joe, gave Pearce the name of someone to call tomorrow about the generator.  Pearce also used their landline to try to fix his computer woes.  Still no luck.  We spent an afternoon exchanging travel and winter hiatus stories  with Mary and Don Armstrong.  We all then had a fantastic dinner at the Lone Cedar Cafe.
Monday, June 30.  Pearce called the mechanic who said he might be able to come see us tomorrow or Wednesday.  Since a storm is due through here about Thursday, Pearce had hoped to leave ahead of it.  We began to plan for some touristy jaunts.  Mary and Kay walked next door to the Christmas Shop and Island Gallery where they spent several hours browsing.  Pearce and Don did computer things.  Our web server had been having some problems which caused most of our problems.  We're back on line, but we had to delete all the messages that came in during the last 10 days or so.  Pearce also began tracing the many communication wires on the boat.  We again have cable TV on the dock, and he wanted to hook that up to the inside wiring.  He's also going to install a 3-way option of antenna/satellite/cable for both the TV in the salon and the one we will install in the stateroom.  Luxury?  Sure, but it keeps idle hands busy.

We were finishing up a late lunch and planning to visit the Wright Brothers Monument in Kitty Hawk when the dockmaster called.  He had contacted the mechanic who was on his way to see us.  The mechanic, Billy,  spent the rest of the afternoon working on our generator -- new filters and new fuel pump.  Everything seems to be good.  Mary and Don invited us for dinner, and we spent a relaxing evening with them.

Tuesday, July 1.  We went shopping to get the necessary bolts and nuts to attach the new fuel pump, which is smaller than the original.  Also drove to the Wright Brothers Memorial.  We didn't climb up because the day was humid and Pearce was having trouble breathing.  Maybe we were looking for an excuse to not indulge in exercise.  This is the 100th Anniversary of their flight on December 17, 1903.  One of the celebrations is a display of winged horses along the roadside.  Many of the businesses have embellished the horses to suit their commerce. 

We had breakfast at a Grits place, and resisted the impulse to buy the tee-shirt.  Since it was already after 10:30 when we finally stopped for breakfast, Kay declared it Brunch.  Back at the boat, Pearce installed the bolts, we said good-bye to Mary and Don Armstrong, and left.  The crossing of Albemarle Sound was quiet, and we headed up the Northr to an anchorage.  Pearce turned on the generator, and we listened to some strange sounds before it quit.  A telephone call to Billy the mechanic speculated that the water pump had given up.  So, up with the anchor, and onward six more miles to the Midway Marina in Coinjock.  Billy will stop off on his way to work tomorrow, and we hope he will solve the problem.  This place is very nice -- it even has a pool that Kay said she might try in the morning while the repairs are underway.

Wednesday, July 2.  Billy woke us up at 6:30 -- it may have been early, but it was very nice of him to try to solve our problem.  The impeller that was here on the boat must have been from some previous pump.  It didn't fit.  Billy left to see if his shop had one -- it did, but he couldn't get back to us until tonight.  We headed north in hopes of finding a fit somewhere.  Atlantic Marine had one and would save it until we got there.  It was only 38 miles, but it took us most of the day to get there.  Two of the bridges that are only 5 miles apart open every half hour.  We got to the first one 5 minutes after the scheduled opening -- it hadn't opened and wouldn't do a late opening.  We couldn't get to the next one within the half hour, so we had to hang around that one, too.  Just beyond Atlantic Marina is the Great Bridge and Lock.  We timed that one nicely and continued up the ICW.  Wouldn't you know that as we locked through this 108th lock, that it was raining!  Our first several locks on the Erie Canal involved donning slickers as well as proper gloves while we manned (womanned?) the lines.  This lock didn't even need the poles to keep us off the walls while we dropped 18 inches, but the rain came down until we motored out on the other side.  

We're getting close to mile 0!  But first we had to negotiate two more bridges which had restricted opening times because of commuter traffic.  We made the first one on time.  The bridge tender asked us to wait until the two sailboats caught up.  They had locked through with us (the Great Bridge bridge tender had yelled at them to hurry up and don't hang back so far.)  So we hung around while they dawdled.  The bridge tender told them to hurry up, and he even suggested that he would open for us and close before they got there (you know these bridge captains talk to each other.)  There was a lot of chatter from various boats, but Kay heard someone say, "He doesn't dare do that."  The second boat motored around the first boat -- they weren't going to be caught on the wrong side!

We all had to wait an hour while the last bridge, the Gilmarten, remained closed for the commuters.  Pearce anchored and went below to install the impeller.  He got part of it done before we took off again.  A tow boat (without any barges) pulled out in front of all of us and led the way down to the Jordon Bridge.  We went through with him and were closely followed by a tow and two barges.  The bridge tender asked this tow to hurry up so the bridge wouldn't have to remain open so long.  The tow captain said, "I need you to stay open for me because the current is carrying me down."  The bridge captain said, "If you don't hurry up, I'll have to close."  The tow captain replied, "I can't stop, I'll come on through the bridge."  Bridge captain, "That's your problem, not mine."  The bridge remained open, and every one came through smiling.

We motored carefully through the Naval Yards.  The little "police" boats march up and down in front of the huge boats.  Their crews watch us diligently with their binoculars.  We even had a helicopter fly over -- was it coincidental or were we being watched from above, too?  We continued past mile 0, and we are anchored just off the Naval Hospital here in Norfolk.  There are many other boats here -- all but one are sailboats.  Pearce has successfully installed the impeller, and the generator is working beautifully.  It's time to create dinner.

The last of hurricane Bill is dribbling all over coastal North Carolina and Virginia tonight. We're snug at anchor, but bouncing a bit. Tomorrow we head up toward Maryland and Delaware. We have been thinking about taking the less traveled route outside the the Delmarva peninsular, but wind and waves tonight have us leaning more toward the inside Chesapeake route.  Tomorrow will be time enough for that decision. Stay Tuned.

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