January Warmth to Remember
The holiday season has come and slipped by us. We have made it to the middle of January.

We have been through a roller coaster of winter temperatures. In general it has been warmer than normal. Early in December it was almost like summer.

As the month progressed we eventually saw
a little frost on my kayak. Finally the last day of December 2012, I wrote about an “Icy Morning on the Gut.”

Raymond’s Gut runs from our house out to
the White Oak River which empties into Bogue Sound at Swansboro, North Carolina.

The cold weather spells haven’t been long lasting. I took this picture of oyster rocks from my kayak on Christmas Day.

It was warm enough to be in the middle of the river without a jacket. Much of my holiday time was spent
enjoying our inlet and paddling around the river.

We have not seen any ice since the last of December. It has been a fantastic time to enjoy all the birds and other creatures that visit our inlet. There is always a great blue heron complaining about something.

In January while I was watching a loon from my dock, a pileated woodpecker worked on a tree not 75 feet away from me. It is hard to decide which I like most woodpeckers or bluebirds.

We have been especially lucky to have a pair of otters here this winter. While it is hard on the fish population, the otters really are entertaining. I’ve done a few videos and posted them to YouTube.

One of my favorites has
an otter eating a fish like a popsicle. There is another great one of two otters trying to figure out why I’m sitting near their favorite fishing hole. I call that one the Last Otter video. I also have another video of a loon having his way with a school of fish.

Sometimes when I paddle back in our inlet it seems like we live in an unbelievable natural paradise.

I often find a surprise around every corner in the marshes, waters and woods here in Bluewater Cove.

Then when I can’t absorb anymore here in our inlet, I manage to head down the river in our skiff. Last week I took a trip down to Swansboro (
virtual trip link here). I wore a jacket since the water temperature was in the mid-fifties and I was running at 30 mph.

It turns out that was only a preview of the good weather. The best weather was yet to come. Saturday, January 12, I went kayaking. I was comfortable out on the river in shorts and a long-sleeved t-shirt. There was almost no wind. The White Oak is a big river almost two miles wide where we are. Saturday it was like being on a big, quiet pond. (
virtual trip link here)

All things considered, it was a wonderful, warm January weekend as we approached the middle of the month.

It was nice enough that I headed over to
the Point at Emerald Isle where the picture to the left was taken.

It was so pleasant on the beach that I hiked
3.75 miles along the shore down to Bird Island. I cut back across the sand along Coast Guard Channel to the vehicle ramp.

Amazingly, Monday, January 14, turned out to be the nicest day of all. I took our skiff down to
Jones Island just this side of Swansboro. I was able to ditch the jacket. By then the water temperature was up to 60F in our marshes and was even at 58F in the river. It is hard to complain about a winter like this. A little ice on the gut is just enough winter for me.

If tales of great weather, kayaking, boating, beautiful beaches, and fishing at your doorstep sound enticing and make you wish for the smell of salt air, you can find some quick links for planning a beach vacation at
my Welcome to the Beach site.

If you have already made up your mind to come for a visit, you will find
my updated Emerald Isle Travel Guide very useful.

Even better, take the plunge and get the full scoop on what to do at the beach by buying our book, “
A Week at the Beach, An Emerald Isle Travel Guide.” It is only $4.99 and available in Kindle format and can be read on almost any electronic device by using free Kindle reader software.

There are lots more links to pictures and regular events on the coast at
my Crystal Coast Links page.

More general information about the mainland where I live is available at
this link to a post about the area from Swansboro to Cape Carteret.

Why we love it here?
It is hard to say that any place is perfect. However, for those who think a walk on the beach is better than a trip to the mall, the Crystal Coast is hard to beat.

For thoughts on where we have chosen to live, I would steer you to my articles, Ten ways Carteret County met our needs and Why I love living in Carteret County

My Crystal Coast, Salt Water on Your Feet site also has a number of articles for people considering a move to the Crystal Coast.

You will also find links to lots of pictures and information at my new Crystal Coast Life introduction page.

Reading those articles lets you spend a virtual day with me. You can feel for how easy it is to enjoy life along the White Oak River. Living in a small subdivision near Cape Carteret isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we have found it to be a great place for boating, relaxing, and learning to appreciate the world around us.

Our area is close to services and even closer to the beach but not on the beach. We have a dock behind the house, and there are some great trails nearby. I can ride my bike in the neighborhood and not face a lot of traffic. We’ve even found a great church home at Cape Carteret Presbyterian Church.

I also use my kayak on the White Oak River and have learned to love exploring the river and surrounding waters with our skiff.

This area also has some great festivals like the Newport Pig Cookoff, the Emerald Isle Saint Patrick's Day, the Swansboro Mullet Festival and the Swansboro Oyster Roast. We continue to be impressed with the Emerald Isle Christmas Parade.

It is a friendly area with a great future. So right now it is the spot for us. I often write about the area in my other websites. If you are a very avid reader, you might find some similar content on multiple sites, but usually the content is fairly specific to the sites.

These are additional sites where you can find even more information.

Crystal Coast Life

Ocracoke Waves

Crystal Coast Life Blog

Crystal Coast Blog 09

Crystal Coast Blog 08

Some archived articles