Summer's early warmth has covered the Crystal Coast as the June days tick away. We are used to the heat. This is the South, not New England or Atlantic Canada. We actually like the warm temperatures because they bring up the temperatures of our coastal waters to the point where fish are active and swimmers do not turn blue. This time of year, the heat is very easy to handle since the night time temperatures are still cooling into the seventies. It is during those few weeks mostly in late summer when the temperatures sometimes stay in the eighties at night that we sometimes dream of a Canadian cold front. But right now you will find very few residents complaining about the warm temperatures near the beaches. One of the reasons is that all you have to do is go a few miles inland, and you will feel the full force of the summer heat.The Crystal Coast's temperatures are moderated by the temperature of the waters around us. In the spring, we stay cooler than the inland areas of North Carolina until our waters warm. Most of the summer, water temperature and breezes protect us from the worst of the heat.
On a number of trips I have left here with the temperature at 85 degrees Fahrenheit. In the short trip to Jacksonville, we will often see the temperature rise into the nineties, and sometimes by the time we hit Raleigh, it is over one hundred degrees.
The solution to the heat on the coast is the water. It you are on an island in Bogue Inlet surrounded by water, I can guarantee you will be in a more pleasant climate than any mall parking lot in the eastern two thirds of North Carolina.
If you are jumping waves in the 80 degree water along Emerald Isle's beaches, I suspect you are far more comfortable than you would be walking the streets of any of North Carolina's small towns.
Yesterday when I kayaked out on the White Oak River, it was pretty warm at my house just before noon. Even with the exercise of paddling out into the river, I had cooled down by the time I was in the middle of the river. I stayed in the river enjoying the breeze and trying to outwit some fish for a long time. Only when I paddled back and hit a section of our inlet protected from the wind did I finally feel the heat once again.
The heat does change routines a little here. Getting up early is well worth it. The air is fresh and cooler than it will be at any other time in the day. Southern gardeners have done their work in early morning hours since the South was settled. The other really nice time of day starts about thirty minutes before sunset and goes to thirty minutes after sunset. It is actually one of my favorite times to be on the beach. You can almost alway count on nice breezes at that time in the evening.
Heat at the beach is to be welcomed and enjoyed. Take off as many clothes as possible, or go straight to your bathing suit when you get here. Get wet as many times as you can in a given day, This is not Northern Virginia or Raleigh where you have to wear a coat and tie. A bathing suit is our uniform of choice here on the coast.
As you get really warm try to concentrate all the heat at the top of your back between your shoulder blades. Then bravely walk into the ocean water until it is waist deep and turn your back to the waves. If one does not hit you squarely in the back and completely drain the heat from your body, bend your knees a little so the waves will not have to work so hard.
I guarantee a warm body which gets a wave in the middle of the back will really appreciate the difference between hot and cool.
Swimming pools south of Maine are not acceptable substitutes for draining the heat from your body.
Remember, getting hot makes you appreciate getting cool.