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Friday, March 6, 2009

Remembering some great boat trips

I doubt that anyone on the Crystal Coast complained very much about today's weather. We certainly made it well into the sixties. It we could have gotten through the day without the strong breezes, it would have been a perfect early spring day. Still considering my snowy yard earlier in the week, today was a huge improvement. Certainly having the temperature still hanging at fifty three degrees Fahrenheit at 11 PM this evening is a good start to warming up our chilly area waters. We were on South Water Street in Swansboro today when I snapped the picture looking east up the Intracoastal Waterway to Cedar Point. Seeing all that blue water made me start thinking about some of my favorite boat rides.
It is a little early for me to do much more than think about long boat rides given the open nature of my skiff and the cool March waters.

The cool waters actually encourage me to think back to our Shackleford Banks trip in late June of 2007. We made the trip just after we had purchased our boat. It was my first long trip piloting the skiff, and it was a perfect day for it. I had hired a guide from Morehead City just so we could not miss any of the sights. We ended up doing everything from watching ponies to finding sand dollars. It was a perfect glassy water day for a trip down the Intracoastal.

One of our next trips was up the White Oak River past the point where it turns to fresh water. The White Oak is a great coastal river but it changes very rapidly from being nearly two miles wide where we are to being fifty feet wide or less above Stella. Folks who have traveled far above Haywood landing tell me that it is like visiting another world when you get to the point that the river is hardly as wide as a small skiff is long.

Of course some of favorite boating trips have been out Bogue Inlet when we go fishing for Spanish mackerel. Whenever I am feeling the need to be on the water and cannot get there, I play this slide show called Mackerel Morning.

It shows a trip from our home dock in Bluewater Cove down the White Oak, past Swansboro, and out Bogue Inlet and then down the shore by Hammocks beach. Not only was it a beautiful trip but we also caught both bluefish and Spanish mackerel.

One of the great things about Carteret County is that almost anyone can boat here if you are careful. There are plenty of well marked routes to follow, and usually there are lots of folks to answer questions and help if there is a problem.

In addition, there are always boating classes running somewhere here along the coast. As someone who has only been power boating since 2006, I can attest to the value of the courses. I took a one day course given by the Coast Guard Auxiliary in Morehead City to get my start in boating.

When I think back to this summer, my favorite trip was the one where we anchored the skiff just off a small island in Bogue Inlet and surf fished for an afternoon. The trip and having our own private island was very special.

It the weather holds this weekend, I am hoping to get my kayak in the water. It is a different kind of fun, and I find it very relaxing. I plan to watch the winds, but if it looks good my next post might have a nice picture of the White Oak from my kayak.

I am just excited that we have flowers blooming, warm weather, and the hope of even warmer weather. After this winter, I think we all deserve it.

Getting out on the water instead of just dreaming about it will be icing on the cake.

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