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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Having Fun While Waiting For Spring

Nice weather has paid some brief visits to the Crystal Coast, but it has been a little like riding a roller coaster. There can be cloudy, gloomy weather when you go in a building and sunny, warm weather when you come out fifteen minutes later. I guess that is the mark of spring weather. We stopped to view some exhibits at a local museum the other day. Our plans were to go hiking when we came out. We only tarried in the museum for an hour or so. In that short time whitecaps had formed on Bogue Sound, and the wind started blowing at twenty miles per hour. In spite of the impossibility of out guessing the weather, we have had an enjoyable few days. Visiting some of our favorite places while we wait for spring to make our beach walks pleasant excursions is a great way to finish out winter.
Our first choice for fun was a visit to the Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores. It has been one of our favorite places since we moved here. This time we decided to take the plunge and buy a family membership so we could enjoy visits even more frequently.

We were lucky to catch a presentation on North Carolina snakes as we walked into the building. My wife was very impressed with the corn snake that managed to crawl around the presenter's neck. I just wanted to get on to the fish.

After having all my Boy Scout snake knowledge refreshed, we got to the large aquarium tank just in time to see the divers descend. I actually only had eyes for three Red Drum that were swimming around the tank, but I will admit to enjoying the Goliath Grouper. I would like to see him when he reaches his maximum size of five hundred pounds. I would need more than a shark guidance pole before I went swimming with the sharks.

After the inside exhibits, we headed outside to check out the boardwalk and trails. The wind had picked up and kept us off the trails, but we saw a very cooperative juvenile Blue Heron who was quite happy to pose for pictures. I was very happy about that since the Great Blue Heron who lives behind our home in Bluewater Cove is telepathic. I know he knows when I start thinking about trying to sneak out to get a picture of him.

I posted some pictures of our trip to the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. I can highly recommend a visit.

Saturday it was warm enough for us to go on a short hike. Aside from the 1.5 inches of rain we got last Monday, we have had very little precipitation so the waters are very clear in the rivers. It was easy to see some oysters growing on the bottom along the dock at Bluewater Cove. The oysters reminded me that we have the annual Oyster Roast coming up soon on March 21 from 5 to 8 pm at the Swansboro Rotary Civic Center. Now there is an event no oyster lover should miss.

Sunday afternoon we decided to visit another of my favorite museums, the Maritime Museum in Beaufort. Not only is the Maritime Museum a great place to spend an afternoon, but it is also so free. They just ask for a donation. It is interesting to drop into the Museum on a windy cool day because we have used it as place to retreat from the August heat in Beaufort. Beaufort usually has a breeze, but when it does not and the heat is on, it is a good idea to find a cool spot like the museum.

It is hard to say what is my favorite part of the Maritime Museum, but I think it is all the different models of boats that have had such an important part in the history of North Carolina. Of course I love all the old motors and the exhibit of the life saving tools.

There are lots of interesting things on display from a few Blackbeard artifacts to whale bones. It is just a great place to visit. This is the only museum which has even entertained my son who enjoyed it even at the age of 29.

I also posted pictures of our visit to the Maritime Museum at Beaufort. The pictures do not do it justice, so take my suggestion and plan a trip there soon.

Just to finish our spurt of activities to distract us from the weather, we drove up to Harkers Island today. That is where I took the picture in this post. Of course the picture is of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse taken from the shore parking lot.

If you are interesting in seeing more of my pictures and having them placed on a map, visit my Panoramio site.

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