I can almost taste the salt water
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Summer is almost here

You missed our winter & most of our spring and it was my fault

I owe all my subscribers an explanation for the long delay between my end of year newsletter and this one. My day job as vice president of marketing at WideOpen Networks became something of a night job as we worked many evenings to meet the unprecedented demand for our services for the first three months of the year.

On top of that I fell into a Homeowners Association sinkhole. In May 2015 our HOA had no choice but to take the reins of our association.  I became the treasurer and most of my weekends have been consumed with straightening out the HOA's finances.  This April most of what would have been my free time was devoted to finalizing the yearend reports and putting together next year's budget. Last Saturday, May 7, I retired with the rest of the board which had gotten the association through this challenging year. I now have my life back and will work at getting my writing back on schedule.

As for the Crystal Coast we did not have a bad winter but I will admit that we did send a few storms up the coast including the one that swallowed Northern Virginia. Spring (some spring pictures at this link) came fairly early but was windy from the start and has remained breezy.  We started putting our tomatoes in the ground on March 26 but had to cover everything early in the first week in April.  The best news on the weather front is that we have enjoyed mostly normal precipitation during this spring.

Actually this spring has been one of the best ones for gardening that we have seen in our ten years on the Crystal Coast.  Our lettuce, spinach, and spring onion crops have been stellar.  Strawberries have had something of a tough year, but we have enjoyed some very good ones from our little patch.  We are now harvesting snow peas, our beans are blooming, and we have green tomatoes on many plants.  Monday, May 16, we will cut the last of our spinach.

I have managed to do a little boating but most of it has been showing some new boaters the zig and zag of the White Oak River. I did get one Friday off and a fishing friend and I tried some of my favorite spots.  It was my friend's first time fishing with me so I made a special effort to be a good guide.  He responded with an almost 17" trout and a nice bluefish.  On top of that he gave me the fish which made a wonderful dinner. He caught the fish in the marsh near Huggins Island   After someone drove their boat through what we hoped would be a good trout hole, we headed out to the eastern end of Bear Island but it was too rough there so we took the back way to the channel behind Hammocks Beach.  If you are traveling that route the sandbar just as you are turning into the main channel behind Hammocks Beach has come a little farther east.  Except for our fishing around Huggins Island this map gives you a good idea of our fishing trip.

I did manage enough of a hike on the Point on March 11 to determine that it is still changing but there is nothing radical happening so far this spring.  The beach is still very healthy there and I am looking forward to some great hikes now that I have freed up some time.  I have also been up to Third Street and am pleased to report that it is still in good shape.  What I have not been able to do is my normal hike from the Point all the way up to Salter Path.  Hopefully I can get it done before the heat comes.

Speaking of beating the heat, we did make it to Tryon Palace before all the tulips disappeared.  We also made it to Beaufort to check out the changes there.  I was happy to see the Water Bug still working Taylor's Creek.  The new Beaufort parking meters are in place but they will not be taking your money until May 28.  The construction crews are making some great progress on the new bridge to bypass Beaufort.  We kept our long running pony streak alive since we saw a couple of the ponies.

Spring has kept us on our toes. This morning's low temperature was 52F, twenty degrees cooler than the day before.  That is pretty cool for May 15.

As always we  work at evaluating some locally owned eateries.  There will be more in our travel guide, but I have to mention Banks Grill in Morehead City at 2900 Arendell Street near Tractor Supply, one of my favorite stores.  On May 14 after visiting Morehead City's long running curbside market, we headed over to The Banks Grill.  We never seemed to be able to get there at a time they were open. They close at 2:00 PM and most of our visits to Morehead City are later in the afternoon. This past Saturday we did make it.

The Banks Grill was well worth the effort.  I had a Carteret County shrimp burger which is nothing like what Cook's Country calls a shrimp burger.  Their's is ground up shrimp. Carteret County's is local shrimp and nice sized ones if at all possible. Bank's Grill get their shrimp from Harker's Island.  My wife, Glenda, had fish tacos which were made with fresh flounder.   It was an excellent meal for a reasonable price. Lots of folks were still enjoying breakfast and we made a vow to come back and try their breakfast.

On May 15, I made another late-afternoon trip out on the river.  I was looking for that perfect moment, when tides, current, and sky conspire to make a memorable moment.  The waves were rough in the unsheltered water and the only calm spots were in our Inlet. I saw lots of fishy water, but did not see any fish.  I had one gulp that got a tail nibble.  Maybe by the next newsletter, I'll have a picture of a nice flounder.

You can find our previous newsletter, Happy New Year, at this link.

You can find more articles about the area at Life Along The Crystal Coast and lots of articles about living here at the index for my Saltwater on my Feet blog.

Be safe no matter where you are and be sure to visit the Crystal Coast to find out why the name really fits.

The next newsletter with be will be out in early June, I promise.

Copyright © 2016 Crystal Coast Life, All rights reserved.

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