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Monday, October 12, 2009

Our Secret Summer Season

While most of the country is looking at winter in their rear view mirror, here along the shores of Bogue Sound, we are still enjoying what can only be called summer in October. It happens to be one of those things that is a whole lot easier to catch if you live here instead of just come here as a regular visitor. Even the best weather forecasters have a hard time predicting it until all of the sudden we are enjoying temperatures in the mid to upper eighties. A good portion of the end of last week could be called summer weather. Many of us made the most of it, disappearing for whole afternoons to enjoy the warmth on the water. I know that I had a couple of great days of fishing and fun on the water. I missed Saturday, the last of this recent stretch of summer. Sometimes even those of us who deliberately go without a watch on our wrist get caught and have to work.
One of the secrets to our weather is that we live next to a massive amount of water which once it warms up is very reluctant to cool down. That warm water makes fall a real treat here on the Southern Outer Banks, especially for those of us who are residents.

The weather in October and November can be tricky. We cooled off this Sunday, and it was overcast all day today, but our temperatures are still in the sixties and seventies which is not very hard to take considering parts of the west never made it past twenty degrees Fahrenheit this weekend. Staying that cold is easy to do if you have two feet of snow on the ground like they do in the mountains of Montana.

For many of us, this great fall weather is why we live here. It is really almost a perfect situation living along the coast. North Carolina is such a varied state that it you want to look at some fall leaves and mountains, all you do is get in your car and drive six hours. There are plenty of colorful leaves to see and lots of fall festivals. This being the south even in the mountains the peak color of the fall leaves does not happen until sometime between the third week in October and the first week of November.

After a quick trip to the chill of the NC or VA mountains, you can come back to the coast, take your blue jeans off and put your shorts back on, and if you are lucky, enjoy some of that summer in October. There are many of us living on the coast who sneak off to the mountains on a regular basis. My theory is that it makes me appreciate the coast even more when I come back.

This is a time of year on the coast when there is so much happening that you just hope that you can keep these days of great weather coming. Just this weekend we had Saint Francis by the Sea Lobster Festival and the Swansboro Mullet Festival. If you looked a little farther away you would have noticed Mumfest in New Bern, but we have never been able to drag ourselves away from our local events.

On top of all the festivals, this is the season to fish and because of where we live fishing is in the air and is not optional. In spite of heavy surf I fished in the surf once earlier in the week and then managed to fish from the skiff for two afternoons when the weather really got nice. We were not alone, and we did catch fish. The fewest boats were counted early in the week when there were only around five on each side of the bridge. On Saturday when we crossed the bridge to Emerald Isle at noon, my wife counted forty boats just on one side of the bridge.

Everyone was having a good time on the water except the barge pilots who had to convince all the boats anchored in the Intracoastal to move out of their way.

In addition to boating, lots of people were walking on the beach, and yesterday we even saw a game of beach volleyball going on at the Western Regional Access.

So now you know the secret of the Crystal Coast. The reason we do not mind sharing the beaches in the summer is that we have kept the best season, fall, to ourselves. Our fall weather is one of the great reasons why so many people fall in love with the area and end up living here.

If you have caught the bug for living here, rest easy. It does not take long to become a local, especially in the fall when you cannot hide among the visitors. Even the most hardened city dweller usually becomes friendly after walking on one of our beaches a few times.

If you cannot join us as a local, come for a fall visit, you might get lucky and snag one of those summer in October or November weeks. If not, the fish will surely be biting.

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