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Thursday, August 6, 2020

The COVID19 Summer on the Crystal Coast

Sea Oats July 23 at Third Street Beach
This has been an unusual summer in most places.  It is even stranger for those of us who live in vacation spots like the Crystal Coast.  We live in a place that others love to visit but this summer many of us are holding back from visiting places that we normally frequent because it might be dangerous. On top of that I sold our skiff. I have no regrets because of all the work a boat brings but being out on the water is also one of the few things that you can do with minimal risk.

While being on an uncrowded beach like this one at Third Street a few days ago is also one of the safer places to be, in summer we often make trips to Beaufort, the Maritime Museum, Fort Macon, and Hammocks Beach.  Now when we think twice going to a place, we usually end up not going. Since we live here, the thought is that we can visit later when most tourists have gone home and the danger to our health is less.

Our beaches are still the same beautiful places that they have always been, but the Coronavirus has made for an unusual Fourth of July.  We have had a hot dry summer with masks and on top of that Hurricane Isaias kept us on our toes for a while in early August.  My wife and I were not impressed that Isaias chose our anniversary to visit North Carolina's coast.  We were saddened by all the damage especially on Oak Island.

Unlike most Hurricanes, Isaias was stingy with the moisture.  We only got 1.5 inches of rain which is the same amount that we got the whole month of July.  This summer's lack moisture in July is the opposite of the summer of 2018 when we got twenty inches of rain from July 12 to August 4.  Our July dry streak shows no signs of disappearing this first week of August 2020.  August has brought plenty of storms but none have delivered the needed rain. It is too late for much of the county's suffering corn crop.

Still this has been a bountiful summer when it comes to gardens that could be watered.  Our spring garden gave us lettuce from the middle of March well into the last part of May.  We had homegrown tomatoes to go with with our beans from May 15 well into August. I attribute much of the success to my wife's careful attention to the garden and the rest to the compost that we make behind our home.

Ever summer brings it own set of delights and challenges. One of the delights of our summer has been four marsh kittens that we trapped back in the spring.  They have taken over our home as you can see from these pictures.  While my job has hot been impacted, I have taken some of my extra time and devoted it to cooking.  I think I have breakfast almost perfected.

If you need more information visit my Crystal Coast Life webpage.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Crystal Coast's Real Fall and A New Adventure

Emerald Isle's Third Street Beach, Fall 2019
To a certain extent, 2019 has been a year of recovery for Carteret County, the Crystal Coast and the adjoining counties still have scars from Hurricane Florence.  Even some of my favorite beaches like Third Street got some new sand pumped in to reinforce the dune line.

However, we are over a year away from Florence and many of the places have healed physically but it will be hard to forget Florence. We are in our fourteenth year on the Crystal Coast, and Florence was the first time we got a mandatory evacuation notice.  We did leave but returned before the floodwaters closed the roads in Kinston.  We returned to a loose piece of vinyl and evidence that water made it onto our driveway for the first time ever but we found that the butter in our fridge did not even melt.  My skiff, which I always secure on its lift during storms, was also undamaged.  All things considered, Carteret County faired much better than other areas.  Our schools were only out a couple of weeks compared to over six weeks in adjoining Onslow County.  Swansboro, as many people saw in the national news, got over 34 inches of rain and Front Street was completely flooded. There was plenty of destruction to remind us of the power of a major hurricane.

When you live in a coastal area like ours, you expect some risk and the closer to the ocean or the more ocean that surrounds you, the greater the risk as even our good neighbors in Ocracoke will tell you after Dorian devasted them this summer.

However, here in our piece of paradise, we are pleased to come through the summer of 2019 with lots of sunshine.  It was a very dry summer and we were in something of a drought until late summer, but that just made it tough on us gardeners and great for beachgoers.

Now, the first taste of real fall is on the horizon. Today, October 30, we once again got up to 80F but this weekend our highs are forecast to be more seasonable and in the sixties.  Our lows in the forties will be a temporary shock to the system.  It is too early for temperatures like that to take root on the Crystal Coast.  Still, we are looking forward to somewhat cooler temperatures since the cooler air will keep our lettuce in the garden from getting bitter as we begin to eat it. 

If you hang around here long enough, you will end up agreeing with me that nature's peace will flow into you.  Even beyond the beaches, the beauty of the area  can take your breath away.  That scenic beauty and the peace that permeates the area are two of the many reasons that we have enjoyed living here since 2006.  Unfortunately, life is never simple.  We are now working towards our next adventure which will hopefully be grounded a lot closer to our grandchildren.  The people and places that have shaped us as we lived in two Canadian provinces and three states have made us better and more tolerant people so we go forward hopefully but we truly do hate to leave our spot on the Crystal Coast.

My wife laughs at me because I often choose to drive across the bridge to the Publix in Emerald Isle for groceries. While I can truthfully say that with the new roundabout on Emerald Isle it is just as quick to Publix as it is to the closer Lowe's Grocery which has a few stoplights, the real reason is that I enjoy driving across the bridge and getting a glimpse of Bogue Sound's beauty. It is even more beautiful as the light starts to fade but it is much harder to capture.  That is the seductive part of the Crystal Coast, the area's scenic beauty is addictive and hard to leave.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Summer of 2018 Dancing Between Clouds

The summer of 2018 has been a study of contrasts. For most of the early summer until July 12, there was very little rain. From July 13 onwards, it was easy to get caught in a shower or have multiple soakings but it was also quite possible to have an almost perfect week at the beach.  It just depended on where you happened to be.  We went to visit friends on the South Carolina coast for a couple of days and stayed very wet.

Along the coast in the summertime, it is not unusual for showers to form along the boundary between the coastal Seabreeze and the inland air mass. Often that means areas right on the beach are drier than areas inland. Who gets wet does depend on where the moisture is coming from and how it moves around.  In general, it has been a wet year in North Carolina and coastal South Carolina with lots of Gulf moisture impacting even the mountains and the Piedmont region of North Carolina.

However, during the first two weeks of August, we had two friends staying in Emerald Isle and while they saw a couple of showers, our location just three miles inland had showers almost ever day during their two weeks here.  For some historical perspective on this summer's weather, read my August post, Elusive Good Weather, about the summer and fall of 2015 when things were really wet here on the coast.

For a few weeks in mid-summer, the beaches were plagued with dangerous rip currents but that situation cleared by late July and with our weather pattern changing, it looks like we might be setting up for a nice fall season at the beach.

My WordPress blog has some possibly insurmountable technical difficulties so my new content can be found at this location.  My website homepage has more links and has been updated to improve its speed by using Amazon technology.

Our guide for Emerald Isle, A Week at the Beach - The Emerald Isle Travel Guide, was updated and released in June 2018.  There is also a less expensive black and white paperback and a very inexpensive Kindle version which will work on almost any electronic platform.

A good place to look at all our books is my Amazon author page.  If you need to contact me, you may use this form.  There is a link on this page to sign up for the Crystal Coast newsletter which we send out a few times a year.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Summer 2017 Hangs On

We are well into October 2017 and the warm, summer-like weather continues to keep our heat pumps humming.  We had a blissful week of fall-like weather before Hurricane Nate dragged a tropical air mass up the east coast.

It has been a wonderful summer here on the Crystal Coast. If you would like to a more detailed update, trying visiting my Southern Outer Banks site. You will even find some details about how the fishing season is progressing.

Fortunately fall is our best season of the year so if you have not had time to visit yet, there is still plenty of warm water to sample and lots of uncrowded beach to wander.

For complete vacation info try our guide book for the Emerald Isle area. The 2017-18 Kindle version of A Week at the Beach - The Emerald Isle Travel Guide is available for $3.99 and Amazon has the new full color print version at $19.99 and the B&W version for $7.95.  Both are prime eligible. Locally, Emerald Isle Town Office is carrying the 2017-18 color print books and has them available for $20. The Emerald Isle Book and Toys at Emerald Plantation is carrying the B&W version for $8.

If you cannot find a copy use this contact form and we will help you get a copy of the book. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Fall Is Slipping Through Our Fingers

It has been another exceptional fall here on North Carolina's Crystal Coast.  The weather is has been nearly perfect and the fishing exceptional.  Even the gardens are still growing and the winds and water from Mathew's brush with the coast are just memories here while others are still dealing with the impacts of serve flooding.  It will not be long before the annual seasonal reversal when the beach areas go from being the cooler part of the area to being the warmer part.

Soon a special kind of peace will descend on the salt marshes and we will be ready for the quiet that comes with the holidays on the coast.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Summer has embraced the Crystal Coast

After a cool spring, summer's warmth has found the Crystal Coast.  Visitors have been quick to find our beautiful beaches.  We had some great crowds on Memorial Day weekend and my beach walk have shown me that people are having fun here on Emerald Isle's beaches.  I just did a couple of walks up at one of Emerald Isle's lesser know beaches.  Read about it in the 2016 version of our book, The Emerald Isle Travel Guide - A Week at the Beach, or get a taste of it and the Atlantic Ocean in my blog post, Last Parking Place at Third Street.  You can also enjoy these shots of the waves and beach at this online album.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The calendar says that it is winter,  but Mother Nature seems a little confused.

It is New Year's Eve and for a couple of weeks, our low temperatures have been around 64F.  Our high temperatures have mostly been in the mid-seventies but we have reached 80F a couple of times.

You can read about this year's Crystal Coast fall at this post,  A Wet Early Fall 2015.

Fall brings some great memories, but because of the warm weather it has been a challenge to get in a fall mode, much less bundled up for winter.  One thing is for sure this past November's weather was memorable.

The water temperature in the river is close to 70F and that has prompted some holiday boat rides.

We will be on the lookout for winter, but from the forecasts that I am seeing the cherry tomatoes that I am picking beside our house are going to be safe into early January 2016.

It is unlikely we will see Raymond's Gut frozen over in January like it did last year but it is hard to predict weather.