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Saturday, January 31, 2009

A View That Is a Big Part of the Fun

A view where the water never ends like the one above looking up Bogue Sound is one of the first things you see when crossing the bridge to Emerald Isle. Yet when most people think about the Crystal Coast, the ocean water along the Atlantic Ocean is the first water that comes to mind. It is a natural association. We have plenty of wonderful sandy beaches where you can lose yourself cooking in the sun and listening to the ocean on a summer day. Locals enjoy the beaches also, but some like me actually spend more time in Bogue Sound and Inlet than playing on the beaches. Many locals often have a skiff or kayaks that they use to take advantage of Bogue Sound and our local rivers whenever the winds and tides are right. It would be no understatement to say that Bogue Sound, our local coastal rivers and the Intracoastal Waterway are favorite water playgrounds for many area people.
While we are really fortunate here on the Crystal Coast to have some great beach accesses with lots of parking, there is even less of a problem finding a parking place if you are in a boat or kayak.

It is easy to load your skiff with some beach gear and a cooler holding some cold drinks. Then all you do is make your way out Bogue Inlet until you are just about even with the Point, then if you turn and head back towards Hammocks Beach State Park, you will often find a few boats tied up off a nice beach which is surrounded by water.

The sands change all the time, but we have had good luck with the beaches in this area over the last two summers. The water is usually relatively deep in the channel close to beach so we often nose the skiff onto the shore so most folks can hop off the bow. Usually one person will take the anchor and twenty to thirty feed of line attached to the bow of the boat. Once the boat is positioned just off the beach and the anchor is set, you pull the boat in and the captain hops off. Then the skiff drifts into position just off the beach. We watch the anchor for the first few minutes until we are certain everything is okay, then we start enjoying the beach.

Everyone usually has their own beach and water agenda, and mine usually revolves around fishing. I will often carry a rod, beach rod holder, and a small pack of fishing gear over to the ocean side and start trying to coax some fish from the water. My wife enjoys looking for shells which of course is usually much better on the less accessible beaches. There is no problem finding a spot to spread a towel and catch some sunshine while relaxing.

It is not unusual to find your own beach playground here on the Crystal Coast. When we do not want to get on the beach, we just throw the anchor out in the sound, pull out something cold to drink and enjoy being out on the water without getting any sand between our toes. I can remember my wife complaining about there not being enough breeze on a hot day in the boat. We ended up pulling the anchor and heading out closer to Bogue Inlet where there is almost always a good breeze.

I am a little spoiled living in Bluewater Cove since I do not have to haul my kayak all the way to Bogue Sound to enjoy kayaking. I just slide it into the water from my backyard and paddle out into the White Oak River. Kayaking on the White Oak is one of my favorite water adventures. Most of the time I have the river to myself. Of course having skiff on a lift behind the house makes that decision to head out to Bogue Sound a very easy one. We have a whole new section of waterfront lots open at Bluewater if you want to join us.

When the weather is great in the summer, we have gotten adventurous and made the trip down to Shackleford Banks. On a smooth day it is a nice ride down the Intracoastal and through the harbor at Morehead City. Some folks really enjoy the trip over to Hammocks Beach State Park. The marshes are beautiful there.

When the full story is known, it is pretty clear that Bogue Sound, the White Oak River and other local rivers are important parts of the water fun around here. It is really easy to rent kayaks to explore the sound or rivers. And if you have a kayak, there is a great kayak ramp for launching over at the mainland part of Hammocks Beach State Park.

So the next time you drive over the bridge to Emerald Isle take a second to remember that there is plenty of water fun to be had on Bogue Sound when you get tired of the beach.

If I keep writing about warm things and summer boat trips like the one I call mackerel morning, winter will go away quickly.

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