May Saturday on the Crystal Coast

Perfect May Saturday on the Crystal Coast

Every area has its sweet spot, and I like to think that one of the best times to enjoy the Crystal Coast is one of those warm, blue sky days like Saturday, May 7.  Sometimes, however, you have to be patient as the day develops.

My Crystal Coast kind of Saturday started a little damp on the dock.  It was actually cool with fog blowing in off the White Oak River, but I knew the fog was only temporary since I could see some blue sky in places, and the weathermen were calling for a nice afternoon.

After the sun broke through, I took a nice walk around our boardwalk in Bluewater Cove.  I stopped by the pool just to check the water.  I judged it as potentially warm enough to support adult swimming depending on afternoon temperatures.

As is often the case, I got to see an interesting bird or two on my walk.  I managed to see a nice bluebird, but it was hard to get a good picture, and I have lots of good ones from other walks.  When I got back home,  I decided that it would be a good time for a quick boat ride.

Our skiff sits on a lift only a little over twenty-five feet from our garage door so it only took me minutes to get my life-suspenders on and carry my standard gear to the boat.  Then it was just a matter a putting the plug in, attaching the GPS, and lowering the skiff into the water.

On the short ride out Raymond’s Gut, I managed to watch an Osprey soaring in the sky, and just as I was entering the White Oak, I saw a Green Heron perched in a tree.  Even though it wasn’t far from being high tide, I was surprised to see the oyster bar near our channel.  It is a sign that the water is pretty low.

After maneuvering between crab pots that are dangerously close to our channel, I headed down the river a few buoys just to give the motor on the boat a little workout.    I turned just as Jones Island came into view and headed back home.  You never want to push your luck on the water when your wife has a morning agenda.  I did find the water temperature in the sixties and one spot in our channel where there is some silting.  I’ll just have to make some extra trips out to open up the channel.  A fishing trip on Monday would be a good start.

It was a quick trip back to the dock, and I got home a little after 11 AM.  I carefully did my u-turn, got the boat on the lift, grabbed the GPS, and headed inside to shave and get ready to participate in the day’s planned activities.  We made it to the Swansboro Post Office well before noon, then headed down to the grand opening of the new Swansboro Papa John’s Pizza.  There were plenty of free slices of every variety to sample.  They had set up some nice tables with umbrellas so it was a very festive atmosphere.   We ate far more delicious hot pizza than we intended and had a nice discussion on flounder fishing with someone who joined us at our table.

After thanking the owner for all the free pizza, we headed down the road to the Enviro-Fair. We really didn’t know what to expect at the Enviro-Fair, but with more tents, blue skies, and a pleasant breeze, it was impossible to resist.  The event had just a nice amount of people.  I enjoyed seeing the farm raised flounder from Riverworks at Sturgeon City in Jacksonville.

I also had a nice conversation with Dale Weston, the Vice President, of the White Oak-New RIVERKEEPER® Alliance.  We exchanged stories about the White Oak, and I thanked them for their efforts at improving the river water quality.

Then I moved on to talk to the lady with Carteret Catch.  I told her how much we enjoyed the fresh red snapper that we had gotten from Clyde Phillip’s Seafood on Friday evening.

I also had a conversation with my friend Cathy who was in charge of the booth for  Q 4 H 2 O which is program where restaurants charge you a quarter for a glass of water, and they donate the money to help provide clean water in developing countries.  With just the three Rucker John’s Restaurants participating so far, they have already collected $33,000.

I stopped by a booth with some live corn snakes.  They had a great NC snake book published by Davidson College Press.  I confirmed that the snake that I saw behind our dock the other day was a brown water snake.

After the snakes, I checked out some goats, a worm farm, and watched the Boy Scouts filter some water.  While I was doing all this my wife was collecting some hemp seed to go on our oatmeal,  sampling some new recipes, and getting a massage.

We managed to pull ourselves away from the exhibits about 1:30 PM and headed home by way of Buck’s Corner Farm where we picked up a nice box of freshly picked local strawberries.

Once we got home, I had to have a nap to sleep off the pizza.  It was a nearly perfect nap since the outside air temperature was just in the mid-seventies, and all the cooling that was needed came from our overhead fan. In fact it has been a while since I have heard a heat pump, but that is a good thing.

Around a quarter til four, I headed off to Emerald Isle for a beach walk.  I am gradually walking all the beach within the town limits of Emerald Isle so I planned a walk from James Street to Heverly Drive.  My beach walk took me from the beach access at James Drive down the beach and under Bogue Inlet Pier to a point just opposite 129 Heverly Drive which is a property that I used to have as a listing.

Close to the Pier, there were a fair number of people on the beach.  In the isolated sections of the walk, I got to enjoy a Labrador Retriever showing the world how to fetch a tennis ball from the surf and some very active birds including a Whimbrel who is probably on his way north for the summer.

After finishing my hike which totaled 4.22 miles, I stopped by Food Lion for a few items.  It won’t be long before stopping on Sunday afternoon at the grocery store will be a completely different experience.  On Saturday, May 7, at 6:30 PM, there were just a handful of cars in the parking lot.  I got some fresh ginger for  the local Bok Choi that my wife planned to cook to go with the pork chops I was in charge of grilling.

My last stop was the Walgreen’s Drug Store in Cape Carteret. I got to park by one of local police cruisers.  My beach walk had finished off my supply of zinc oxide so I picked up a pack before heading home.

I got to pause at the stoplight at the intersection of Highways 24 and 58.  It was a good place to stop because the sun was shining on the wildflowers the state has planted on either side of Highway 58.  It is that time of year when we start seeing folks taking wedding pictures out in the wildflowers.  If the weather stays cool, there will be good pictures until early June.

The trip home took seven or eight minutes, and I arrived just in time to help with dinner.  As I was grilling the pork chops, I happened to look up and saw two great egrets flying high in the evening sunlight.  They’re favorite white herons of mine, but you don’t often get to see them flying up so high.  They were a beautiful sight and a nice finish to a great Crystal Coast kind of day.  Our rain on Friday afternoon just seemed to make Saturday that much more beautiful.

Lots more pictures and links to information about the area are available at this link.