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Bob Laney

In late July 2022, Terry Rich with the Twin Rivers Paddle Club lead a kayak trip around the Oriental, NC, harbor and up one of the feed-in rivers.  We put in at the NC Wildlife boat launch on the harbor shore.  When we got upriver we explored a couple of small side creeks.  The large group of about 15 paddlers was mostly familiar with each other and convivial.  Many of the more experienced paddlers came up beside me and asked me about myself.  There were lots of across-water conversations.  The pace was nice and mostly casual but not lollygagging. 

Our leader appeared to be the only paddler who had a spray skirt.  He did a few Eskimo rolls for practice.  I was immediately jealous.  About 40 years before I had borrowed a friend's whitewater kayak and tried to learn to roll.  I may have made it over once or twice.  But I failed dozens of times.  On my last try sprained my back so badly that it took me about 9 months to fully recuperate.  I never tried again.  Now, I am paranoid of turning over in the middle of a big waterway and having a devil of a time getting back in my boat, even with my paddle float; or having to swim a half mile to shore while towing a swamped boat.  Since then I have signed up to take a roll class with the trip leader at the YMCA pool this winter. 

This trip was my last one with my old roto-molded plastic kayak.  It was inexpensive, not very good quality, did not fit my frame well, and was not sleek enough to go fast or to roll.  The seat back brace was short and uncomfortable.  Any paddle over 15 minutes gave me a backache.  Fortunately, down here around New Bern, kayaking is the main sport, so there were lots of options for upgrading. I met a nice guy in the paddle club, Bill Webb, who buys used kayaks and professionally renovates them.  The one we settled on is world-class quality, slender, long, and sleek: a 2013 Nigel Dennis Kayak Romany Excel.  The hull and deck layup is proprietary fiberglass.  It cost new about three times more than my old boat.  To my relief, Bill was able to sell it to me used at a wonderful discount. And, I sold some other outdoor gear, including my old kayak, to help pay for it.  

Before and after the trip we had breakfast and lunch in a cute little coffee and pastry shop called The Bean, right on the waterfront.  A good time was had by all. 

On a comfortable, sunny Friday in mid-September, 2022, my good buddy Peter Blackburn and his son William joined Ranger Bob on a planned kayak trip in the estuary around Cedar Point, just east of Swansboro. The water trail was from the Cedar Point campground boat launch in the southwest corner of Croatan National Forest, then into the White Oak River and upstream to the Tideland hiking trail. 

Unfortunately, the wind was high, and the Coast Guard had issued a small boat advisory.  The wind alone was worrisome and probably would have prevented me from leading the group onto the large, exposed body of water.  But in addition, the advisory prevented our boat outfitter from renting Peter and his son their reserved boats. We went to the Barrier Island Kayaks outfitter store on the causeway just east of Swansboro only to find the shop closed.  Peter's call to the owner educated us about the advisory.  I had my canoe with me on my Jeep roof rack. 

In the process of figuring out these changing situations, William proved his brilliance by frequently using his iPhone and Google prowess to find information and alternatives. Peter came up with our Plan B, which was to hike the Cedar Point Tideland Trail. So we did.  It was scenic, educational and beautiful. On our way home we stopped at the Bojangles in the village of Cedar Point for a late breakfast / early lunch.  Scrumptious!

On an early, cooler morning in September, 2022, Terri and Ranger Bob went to one of the beaches on Bogue Banks to collect miniature sea shells.  It was after Labor Day so the credit card payment machines had been removed from the parking lot.  The beach was nearly deserted.  Terri has an unbelievable talent for spotting microscopically small shells from among all the sand, broken shells and detritus on the beach. Today was no exception.  She found her normal quota of about 15 shells.  We saved them and headed home fairly early.  We stopped at the usual gas station to refill our coffee mugs and get some snacks to tide us over to lunch back at home. 

On a blazing hot day in July 2022, Ranger Bob tested his kayak equipment and paddling skills in the down-east black-water of the several connected River Bend marinas, which creeks are a tributary of the Trent River, which is a tributary of the Neuse River, which feeds into the Pamlico Sound, which leads to the Atlantic Ocean.  For the last several trips I have been having trouble keeping my balance getting into and out of the kayak.  This time I fell into the river only while exiting.  The fall was a good thing because I was pouring sweat.  The cool water was refreshing, and I was just as wet either way. 

At this point, I was still getting my “sea legs” and trying to re-acquaint myself with the kayak, since for the last few years most of my paddling had been in my Dagger solo canoe.  The kayak seat back was only barely adjustable and was not tall enough or far enough forward to properly support my back, so I was getting a backache in the middle of every trip. The rudder foot pedals were also not long enough to accommodate my long legs, so my position was somewhat cramped. 

Between this trip and publishing this article I have sold that kayak over Facebook Marketplace to a nice lady in Little Washington, NC. She is an example of the aphorism not to cuss somebody, because you may be talking to their kinfolk.  This lady in a rental cottage on the Pamlico Sound and her landlord is Rosie Poore. Rosie’s older sister Lisa was the last girl I dated in Raleigh before I met my first wife Kimberly. 

I will go back when I get my replacement boat.  I am getting a Current Designs Solstice GT, which is a sleek, hard-hulled, fast, open ocean-going sea kayak. My Internet research shows that it is the most popular (most units sold) of any manufactured kayak in history. It is also full of cool features which make it expensive.  A fellow Twin River Paddle Club member and a new friend who buys used boats and renovates them is selling it to me for 25% of the new price.   

The trip was pleasant but fairly short.  I went under several bridges and wandered through the waterways of several creeks and harbors throughout my River Bend community.  Many of the neighborhoods have canals and docks behind the houses. It was a fairly solitary adventure since I passed only one other group of two teenaged boys in kayaks.

Ho, hum!  Another day of beach life by retired Bob and Terri!  Another day in paradise! On a pretty, sunny, warm day in mid-August, 2022, Terri and I went to Indian beach on Bogue Banks [called by the Chamber of Commerce types as Emerald Island].  Our last several trips to the beach have been hindered by blazing hot temperatures and high winds.   Today was better, with less heat and wind.

Indian Beach has become our favorite one, so far, due to uncrowded parking, a short walk to the beach, clean bathrooms and an uncrowded beach.  We have not yet tried Salter Path beach, but it may be the best since it has all the Indian beach attributes, plus free parking that is partly in the shade.  

Terri has had good luck at each beach finding teeny, tiny, whole shells that look like conch, scallops, oysters, and other briny denizens. She collects these and at home displays them in nuatiucal-looking glass bottles and shadow box wood frames. Today her hunt went well.

The day ended unfortunately when Terri was knocked down by a wave in chest-deep water, she fell on her foot and broke a bone. We packed up camp and shuffled slowly home.  Terri saw a doctor who said she can skip surgery and put her in a walking cast-like boot.   We may not be going back to the beach until she heals. 

On a cool, rainy, cloudy, windy day in June 2022, Terri and I rode the ferry from the docks in the harbor of Beaufort, NC, out into Taylors Creek toward Shackleford Banks, to Sand Dollar Island.  This is a standard tourist run that takes a small boat load of people to Sand Dollar multiple times a day.  The island is not much to look at - just a spit of sand with no plants.  Its claim to fame is that many sand dollar creatures live in the area and leave their shells on the island.  Of course, all the thousands of tourists over the years have picked the island pretty clean of shells, leaving mostly sand and salt water. 

We had an enjoyable time searching for shells, including those left by other creatures.  Today, Terri sharted her on-going hobby of collecting teeny, tiny shells of different sorts.  Back at home, she puts them in shadow box frames and glass jars to display in our sunroom.  We had a good time and may go back again.  

SOLD.  Used Mountain Safety Research Fury tent.

4 season super strong and durable tent.

Rarely used, no damage, like new.

Double walled with interior netting and exterior tarp.

Excellent ventilation with multiple venting options.

Interior height 45 inches.

Floor size 36 square feet + vestibule 9 square feet

4 aluminum pole dome design.

12 MSR aluminum Y stakes

Taped seam bathtub floor.

2 person.

6 pounds 15 ounces.

Built in vestibule for cooking in bad weather or storing dirty, wet gear.

Price new $650.

Sale price $250 or best offer.

Shipped anywhere in continental USA for $50.

Call or text Robert Laney at 336-984-6860 for more information.

For sale used North Face sleeping bag.

High quality down filled.

Mummy shaped with full length side zipper.

Rated to minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit with serious high loft.

Fits persons up to 6 feet.

Weight 3 pounds 6 ounces.

Has two small patches where zipper caught on liner but no down lost.

Otherwise in excellent condition and works as good as new.

Has been professionally cleaned.

New price $600.

Sale price $200 or best offer,

Shipped anywhere in continental USA for $40.

Call or text Robert Laney at 336-984-6860 for more information.

Sale Withdrawn.  Dagger Reflection 15 canoe

ABS plastic

Length 15 feet.

Width 33 inches.

Weight 80 pounds.

Caribbean green

Wood gunnels, decks, thwarts and seats frames.

3 seats suitable for 1 solo paddler; or 2 adults; or 2 adults + 1 child.

2 end floatation bags installed. 

2 ends exterior Kevlar skid plates.

6 knee pads installed.

Multiple D-ring tie downs installed. 

2 end ropes floating rescue rope.

Former woven cane seats replaced with woven nylon webbing.

North West River Supplies big water life vest (like new, cost $125)

Small boat anchor

2 Sawyer wood paddles. 

Wood and closed cell foam portage yoke

Padded seat

Boat well used but in excellent condition.

Nothing broken, worn through, torn up or badly scratched.

New price $1,400

Sale price $850.

Delivery within 100 miles for $100.

Or pick up at 121 Randomwood Lane, New Bern, NC  28562.

For more information call Bob Laney at 336-984-6860.

SOLD.  Length 16 feet  

Width 26 inches.

Weight 68 pounds.

Color dark red. 

Material high-density resin.

Spray skirt. 

Carlisle double-bladed paddle. 

2 floating rescue end ropes.   

2 waterproof bulkheads. 

2 waterproof hatches for storage.

 Rudder can be raised or lowered and 2 steering foot pedals operated in the cockpit.

Boat is well used but in excellent condition.

Nothing broken, worn through, torn up or badly scratched.

New price $1,300.

Sale price $500 or best offer.

Delivery up to 100 miles for $100.

Or pick up at 121 Randomwood Lane, New Bern, NC  28562.

For more information call Bob Laney at 336-984-6860.

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