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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kayaking on the White Oak River

Almost everyone has been pleased with our recent weather here on the Southern Outer Banks.  We might quibble a little with the high surf that has made surf fishing difficult for a few days, but blue skies and temperatures in the mid-sixties are hard to beat in the middle of November. Saturday afternoon was a nearly perfect day. Sunday there was not a cloud in the sky, so there was no reason to expect anything but nice weather for an outdoor adventure.

After church and our grilled lunch, I briefly thought about leaning back in my easy chair and watching some football, but the weather was just too good to waste it on football.  I decided that it would be a great time to go kayaking.  Our home is right on Raymond's Gut which leads out to the White Oak.  Saturday's boat ride in our skiff had taken care of my longing for flying across the water, so I was ready for some paddling.

We have a grassy area behind our bulkhead, and that is where I slide my kayak into the water. It is a little slope so when I am ready to exit the water, I usually have my wife pull my kayak in with our pickup truck.  That way I don't get in trouble for wet or dirty clothes.

The water Sunday afternoon was creating some beautiful reflections of the blue sky so it was also a good time for some photographs.  I loaded my trout rod, a couple of cameras, life vest,  floating bag with cell phone into my kayak and headed out just after 2 PM.

The coast has been experiencing some very high tides, and one of the first things that I wanted to do was investigate an area in the marsh grass that I can only get into when the tides are very high.  I did not have any trouble getting in there Sunday afternoon, and as I suspected I found our great blue heron hiding back there.  Of course he saw me before I saw him.  I got a couple of pictures, but neither of them is good enough for public consumption.

It is a neat spot back in there.  I love the gnarly old live oaks that surround the area.  After checking out the blue heron's lair, I fished a little out in the channel before I paddled out to the river.

I made it out the Red Sixteen Buoy which is the buoy which marks the spot where on our trips back up the river that we turn to go back to Bluewater Cove.  I did "check in" with Foursquare at Red Sixteen.   I fully expect to continue being the mayor of Red Sixteen on Foursquare.  It will be a hard spot for someone to dislodge me, especially with winter coming.

The picture at the top of the post was taken just beyond Red Sixteen looking towards Swansboro.  I did a little fishing out in the river, but the current and winds were strong enough that each time I made a cast, I ended up having to paddle for five minutes to get back to where I started.

There were only a couple of distant fishing boats on the river so it was relatively quiet as is usually the case.  I finally gave up on the fish and started making movies.  I have a friend who is unable to kayak so I thought he might enjoy the feeling of a movie instead of just static shots.

Before I knew it, time had slipped by, and it was four PM.  My wife was due to take our cat to the vet for some medicine before 5 PM so I focused on paddling myself back to the dock.  I found my wife waiting for me by our pickup.  She had gotten carried away with the good weather and was cleaning out my pickup.  Hopefully I will still be able to find everything when I need it.

The water was so high, it didn't take much of a tug to get me onshore.  I had a great time, got some exercise, and managed to relax a little.  That is hard to beat.

I posted three short YouTube videos, Kayaking on the White Oak, Bluewater Cove, and Headed Home.

You get a real feel for being in a large coastal river with the first one, Kayaking on the White Oak.  The Bluewater Cove one is just my kayak riding the currents and wind back into the main body of Raymond's Gut.  My favorite YouTube one out of this batch is the final one, Headed Home.  I did some fancy paddling with one hand in that video.

I hope the weather stays this way for a while.  I would love to get some more kayaking in before it gets too chilly to sit in a kayak.   If you have never been out on a coastal river in kayak it is well worth trying. Where I do most of my kayaking, the White Oak is nearly two miles wide.  If it is your first trip, you might want to wait for a calmer day.  Sometimes there is hardly even a ripple in the water.  I really enjoy sunset kayak trips on the White Oak.  Early in the morning and just before sunset are the best times to catch calm waters.

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