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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Waves That Sparkle

Sometimes I am almost embarrassed by how many photos that I take while walking on the beach. Often my wife says that I cannot walk for taking pictures. I will admit to that being true sometimes. While all beaches are special, those along the Crystal Coast offer some opportunities for photos that are hard to match. The interaction between the blue skies and often emerald green waters is really hard to resist. I am always looking for that one picture that captures the essence of our ocean waters and beaches. A really good picture can bring back wonderful memories or be the start of a great new journey. As we approach beach season there are lots of people trying to decide where to vacation this summer. I like to think that if people could just see our sparkling waters in person that it would not be a contest.
I have enjoyed beaches all around the world, and I think we have some of the best and most accessible beaches right here in Carteret County along the Crystal Coast. If you are someone that has a special taste for beaches, it is quite possible that there might be one here that fits the bill.

When I am fishing, it is nice to find a beach that has cuts in the sandbar just off shore. Those cuts are often a great place for fish, and not a great place to swim anyway. My favorite fishing beach is Third Street Beach. There are usually some good places to fish there just to the west of the entrance. It also turns out to be a really good beach for shells. Parking is limited to just a handful of spaces, so we are fortunate that it is not easy to spot from Emerald Drive. You have to find the beach by driving along Ocean Drive since there is no Third Street running from Emerald Drive to water. This map will help.

Some of the most famous beaches in North Carolina are up in Corolla on the Northern Outer Banks. People love those beaches because they have a shallow slope and fine sand which provides an easy walking surface. I find that the Crystal Coast beaches which are just to the east of the Point in Emerald isle are very similar to those in Corolla and actually easier to get to for most people. I just love walking those beaches out by the Point. It is a wonderful area with so much beautiful beach that I often imagine that it is the way beaches were before America was discovered. You can best access these beaches by using the Station Street parking.

For much of the winter, I stick with beach near the Islander just after Highway 58 crosses over from Cape Carteret. It usually has few cars this time of year. It is only ten minutes from my house, and it is a pleasant walk to the beach from the paved parking lot. The short walk from the parking lot to the beach takes you by a dressing/bathroom area and beach volleyball nets. That same area is often where small concerts are held during warmer weather.

While those beaches are all great, some even nicer beaches are only accessible by boat. Those beaches which pop up in and around Bogue Inlet are some of the finest beaches in the area. Their sands which disappear at high tide stay above the water long enough to provide plenty fun from low tide until they slide under water. If you do not have your own boat, you can grab a ferry ride over to Hammocks Beach or if you want to go farther afield you can catch one of many ferries over to Cape Lookout which is very close to the way beaches were before people started building home along them.

The variety of beach activities in the area always amazes me. So if you would like to capture some pictures of sparkling waves or just relax on the beach, now is the time to start booking that vacation. Even our paradise has a limited number of seats.

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