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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Your Own Private Beach

One of the great pleasures of living on the Crystal Coast is having access to the wonderful beaches of the area. We live on the mainland just a few miles from Cape Carteret. We can easily be walking on the beach in under ten minutes. Going for a daily walk on the beach is something that a lot of permanent resident incorporate into their daily routine. Emerald Isle maintains two beach access points with lots of parking. On the other end of the beach strand near Altantic Beach, Fort Macon provides similar parking opportunities. The parking is free and except for a couple of months of the year, has more empty spaces than full ones. These are the standard beaches most people read about. What isn't so well know about the Crystal Coast is how easy it is to have your own private beach.
Even before we moved down here, we had been sampling the Carolina beaches for years. When we started seriously looking for property, one of the first things we did was take a large skiff ferry from Calico Jack's on Harkers Island to Cape Lookout. Once over there, we hooked up with a four wheel drive taxi which took us to point at Cape Lookout. That afternoon for four hours we enjoyed our first private beach where we wandered at leisure and waded the warm waters and took in the gorgeous scenery. If my memory serves me correctly that trip cost us twenty dollars per person in 2003. It is a wonderful trip that I often recommend to visitors who want to see the Outer Banks in their natural state.

Last summer just after we bought our first skiff, I hired Captain Jay Cusick of Morehead City to ride along with us on our first long boat trip. From our home on the shores of the White Oak River to Shackleford Banks, it took us about an hour and forty-five minutes to go from our dock to walking on the sand with the ponies. It was a great trip with some fantastic shells that my wife enjoyed. I even learned how to go fishing for Sand Dollars with my toes.

As last summer progressed, we found more low water beaches in Bogue Inlet. About two weeks ago, a friend and I went fishing on one of those beaches. We left our dock at about 8 am. Even with a stop for some bait shrimp at Clyde Phillips, we were wading ashore around 8:30. The spot we enjoyed was part way between the Point at Emerald Isle and Bear Island at Hammocks Beach. No one else was there, and as is often the case with fishermen and especially surf fisherman, we fished and enjoyed the scenery with a minimum amount of words.

The beach there in the shallows of Bogue Inlet was as pristine as you will find. There were no tracks of other humans and in fact at high tide our foot prints would also be gone.

A weekend trip to the beach is tradition with many locals on the Crystal Coast, but just don't be surprised if they pack their boat instead of their car.

Another great beach with lots of privacy is Hammocks Beach State Park near Swansboro. You can catch a pontoon ferry for a modest charge and enjoy plenty of private beach.

We often troll for Spanish Mackerel just off the shores of Hammocks Beach, and I have yet to see any crowding.

I would say see on the beach, but I probably won't unless you are following my skiff.

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