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Friday, March 26, 2010

A Stellar Afternoon on the Beach

There was a smile on my face yesterday well before I made it to the beach. All week I had tried to go for a walk on the beach. One day earlier in the week I had to turn the car's heater on to warm my hands after standing on the beach for five minutes and taking pictures. Yesterday I knew well before my toes hit the sand that it was going to be nice. Wednesday afternoon we had taken my skiff out for a quick ride on the river. What we had found besides the power to my GPS was not working was that it was actually nice on the water. The winds had also disappeared. By lunch yesterday it was almost seventy degrees Fahrenheit, and the winds were still calm,. Based on that, I was nearly certain that a trip to the beach would be a success.
Perhaps one of the things that I enjoy the most here on the Crystal Coast is the opportunity to enjoy good weather when it happens. I can remember some vacations when we tried to do warm weather activities even though the weather was not cooperating. With a vacation of one or two weeks, it was often impossible to reschedule because of weather. Now that I am living on the Crystal Coast, I grab any opportunity like yesterday to enjoy the beach especially this time of year.

As I crossed the bridge to Emerald Isle, I noticed a small boat anchored in the Intracoastal. That too was a good sign. When I got to the Coast Guard Road stoplight, I rolled down my windows just to check the temperature. I guessed the upper sixties, and when I checked against our car's temperature sensor, I found it was reading 67 degrees.

I have definite preferences for beaches. One of my favorites is Third Street Beach. As I have written before, the only place that I can find "Third Street" is on a Google Map. However, the small parking lot is easy to find, if you continue east along Emerald Drive until you get to Fifth Street. Turn right on Fifth Street and then make an immediately left turn on Ocean Drive. The Third Street Beach parking lot will be on your right in just a short distance.

As is often the case there was only one car in the parking lot. I parked, walked the short distance to the board walk entrance to the beach, descended the steps, and left my sandals at the bottom.

The warm sand felt great on my feet. I spent the next thirty to forty five minutes taking pictures and walking on the beach. I had a wonderful encounter with a very cooperative Willet. I even stuck my toes in the still cold water.

Much of the really soft sand has been trapped between the dunes. We will have to wait for the wind to blow from the other direction to get a nice soft sand coating back on the beach. Based on the way the winds were blowing sand around on the beach earlier in the week, we should not have to wait long.

As I put my sandals on, I made the decision that it was too nice of a beach day to let it end this early in the day. With that in mind, I headed back to Emerald Isle and made my way out Coast Guard Road. I parked in the parking lot just before Coast Guard Road ends at a stop sign. It is only a short walk to the beach from there.

I especially enjoy the board walk to the beach at this location. It crosses almost three complete sets of dunes. This is also one of the nicest beaches on the island. The slope is very shallow, and I have taken some stunning sunset pictures. from this beach.

I spent another thirty to forty five minutes wandering the beach. I did not see another person on the beach. I thought that I could see some people way in the distance, but I could not tell for sure. By the time I got back to the car, I was a little warm, but it felt great.

Now that the air is warm, we just have to work on getting the water temperature out of the fifties. There are links to more beach pictures in this article .

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