We woke up early and left Sojourn for the first time since starting out with them in Jacksonville. We needed to get to Norfolk earlier than them in order to catch a flight home. We headed toward the Dismal Swamp cutting across the Albemarle Sound. Like the previous day, it was a pleasant ride! We arrived in Elizabeth Town and considered docking the boat for a few hours to explore the town. We decided not to and continued up the Pasquotank River towards the lock and bridge that would take us into the swamp. We met inQuest in the lock. We'd met them the previous summer on our cruise down the Ohio River on our way home from Pittsburgh at the Marietta Boat Club. Upon exiting the lock, they urged us to go first out of the lock and lead the way to the visitor's center in the heart of the Great Dismal Swamp where we would dock for the night. What a beautiful cruising day! Between the Pasquotank River and the Great Dismal Swamp, we were amazed at the reflections of the trees in the water and eager to snap pictures.

We arrived at the visitor's center in the early afternoon. There was plenty of time for exploring nearby. Soon after we arrived, the Perch and her crew (Kim and Michael) tied up behind inQuest for the night. The ladies from each crew set off on a walk down the bike path and then returned in time to make snacks for docktails. Margo, the bird from the Perch, took a walk around the grounds.

The next morning did not disappoint! Karen sat out on the bow of the boat as Tony took her on a boat ride down the Great Dismal Swamp. We saw more turtles, eagles, mallards, Canadian geese, and other water fowl. It was a bright sunny day with a bit of chilly crispness to the air. We could hear a running race going on on the trail nearby. We were cruising slower than the runners running their race. We kept our eyes out for bear or other large mammals, but didn't see any. We arrived a bit early to the lock and bridge so we tied up and waited with 3 other boats, The Perch, inQuest, and Wanderer. The scenery changed very quickly as we left the swamp, with large naval ships, tugs, and dredging boats hard at work. We headed to the Atlantic Yacht Basin where we would keep the boat while we headed home for a few days and where the boat would have some routine maintenance completed. After washing the boat inside and out, we left the boat to explore Portsmouth and Norfolk. We ate at the Tidewater Marina restaurant, took the ferry to Norfolk, explored some of the city streets of Norfolk including the Freemason Street Historic District, ate at the Freemason Abbey Restaurant, and explored the Chrysler Art Museum, including taking in a glass blowing demonstration and watching a college art class.

After some delays on our flight home, we arrived home on Tuesday night late, and Jeff and Lisa Homan picked us up. We spent the next 4 nights and 5 days with family back home.