March Exits The Crystal Coast
Spring is finally
This is our second Crystal Coast newsletter of 2014. You are getting a copy of it because you have either subscribed to this newsletter or communicated with me about the part of the North Carolina coast that runs from Swansboro to Beaufort.
There is little doubt that those of us who reside here in Carteret County will be happy to see the month of March exit. It started with some lingering cold and even as late Thursday morning, March 26, we were enduring a few hours of below freezing weather. Fortunately the cold did not last long, but it was enough to remind us that winter is not far away.
The big storm which went up the coast and gave as much as 22 inches of snow to Prince Edward Island and closed down Nova Scotia for a day stirred up the ocean and we even got some ocean foam in our inlet three miles up the White Oak River. It was a reminder that even when we do not get the worst of a storm, we can still get whipped around a little.
It has not been all bad weather. Around the middle of March I took my open skiff down the river and had it serviced at Casper's Marina. It is a great convenience to get your boat serviced without ever putting it on a trailer. Our boat normally stays on a lift behind our home on Raymond's Gut. Because it only twenty-five feet from our garage, I manage to go boating almost every week during the winter. Sometimes I will make it only half way down the river, but if it is a warm day, I will often slip into the marshes on the other side of the Intracoastal Waterway at Swansboro.
With this map you can actually see the trip that I took after I picked my boat up at Casper's. I decided to take advantage of the warm weather and visit some of my favorite nearby spots. The marshes on the south side of the Intracoastal Waterway are often on my list in the summertime for the early morning fishing trips that I sometimes take before breakfast. It is not unusual for me to go boating in the marshes and make it back home before my wife has had her first cup of coffee. I can usually have breakfast and be upstairs at my desk working by 9:30 AM. That works fine for the somewhat relaxed schedule that we keep here on the coast.
The waters have looked especially enticing this spring but until recently they have been very cold and not worth the risk in a kayak. Even the beach has been inhospitable enough to keep me away far longer than is normal. However, on March 27, my schedule and the weather finally cooperated and I headed off for a hike at my favorite spot, the Point on Emerald Isle. While I was wearing blue jeans, a sweat shirt, and a jacket with a hood, I had to give up the jacket about half way through my hike of slightly over three miles. The warmth on the beach as I turned north and headed along Bogue Inlet surprised but pleased me.
The picture at the top of the newsletter was taken in 2013 near the northernmost part of the area we call the Point. The body of water to the right of the picture was gone when I made by March 27, 2014 hike. None of us who live here are ever surprised when sand keeps moving. You can read all about my hike and see pictures of the Point area in my post, An Irresistible Beach.
It was great to be back out on the beach walking along the surf. I am looking forward to a trip soon when I will get to wear shorts and a t-shirt. We expecting several days in the seventies this upcoming first week of April. It will not take much of that to warm the waters well into the sixties. Our Bradford pear trees are already past their prime with some blooms transitioning to leaves. Some of our grasses are also turning green. My peas are above ground and I hope to have my tomatoes in the ground by the middle of the week.
Usually by the middle of April we can count on the first strawberries of the season. I have already been to my first oyster roast of the season. The steamed oysters which were from Cedar Island were perfect and required no condiments to enhance their slightly salty taste. The Emerald Isle Saint Patrick's Day festival continued its streak of lucky weather and from what I have heard the Swansboro Oyster Roast was also successful.
Next on my agenda is getting out in the water in my kayak and catching the first fish of the season. I also hope to catch a ferry ride to Bear Island and see how the beach there survived the winter storms. Then my fishing buddy, Brian, and I will likely take the skiff out to the big water and see if we can find some fish near Bogue Inlet.
Our medical building in Cedar Point is going up faster than any of us thought possible and the new service station at Taylor Notion and Highway 24 is already advertising for help. The for sale sign is gone at the Fairway Restaurant and we have seen work trucks there recently.
We hope to have the updated print version of our Emerald Isle travel guide out before Easter. It looks like April is going to be a very busy month.
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Thanks so much for taking the time to read about the Crystal Coast. We are happy to have you as part of the group of people who love our piece of paradise.