The Channel Behind Bear Island

The Channel Behind Bear Island

I feel blessed to live along North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks.  We could have lived almost anywhere on the coast, including the better known area from Duck to Cape Hatteras.

Actually we even briefly considered Ocracoke Island, but my wife said I would have to live there without her.

However, we ended up on the western side of Carteret County along the White Oak River for a number of reasons, but access to great boating water was a big part of the decision.

Our home gives us easy access to some waters which remind you of just how beautiful this earth can be without human interference.  Two places on the area’s waters remind me just how stunning water views can be.  One is up the White Oak River beyond the railroad trestle.  The other stretches along an area on the back side of Bear Island east towards the Point at Emerald Isle.

The picture in the post comes from that second area, the one behind Bear Island.  The first area up beyond the Stella railroad trestle is probably a little wilder area than the waters behind Bear Island, but I love the oceans breezes in the Bear Island channel and the panoramic marshes that stretch as far as the eye can see.  Another plus for Bear Island is that you are only a little ways from the Point where Mother Nature holds sway no matter what man tries to do.  The Point is where all the waters meet.

Actually many of the waters along the Carteret-Onslow borders are lightly used except on weekends even during the summer, but both of these are a little less traveled than most.  If you want to  really enjoy them at their best, get up early one weekday morning and make your trip.

For me the trip starts in Bluewater Cove and follows the well-market channel south down the White Oak River to where it meets Bogue Sound just beyond the Highway 24 bridges at Swansboro.

Then we take a right turn out of Swansboro Harbor and follow the Intracoastal until we get to what is known as Cow Channel.  Today it is a well marked channel to Hammocks Beach State Park which contains Bear Island.

The first time I went out to Bear Island in the summer of 2007, there were no markers in the channel.  These days it is one of the best marked channels in the area, but you still have to pay attention because if you get out of the channel there is plenty of shallow water as I found out on a recent trip.

Once you get over to Bear Island by the ferry dock, a turn to left will take you east behind Bear Island to my favorite waters.  There is plenty of water until you get to the point where the trees disappear.  Then finding the best channel is a little challenging, and if you are unfamiliar with the area waters, the best thing to do is hope that another boat comes by so you can follow them.

It is not a long trip over to the Point, but there are some places where the water can get a little shallow.  Once we are over at the Point, we usually take the quicker route back through the Bogue Inlet channel to the ICW and then Swansboro before going home.

The circuit over to Bear Island to the Point back to Swansboro is one of my favorite trips.

Every time that I make the trip to the waters behind Bear Island, I come back glad to be alive and feeling privileged to have enjoyed a moment on the water where I have to believe that God was well pleased with his work.

You can view some photos of a trip to the area that I took last summer at this Picasa web album.  There are a lot of pictures as it was intended to be a navigational aid to those wanting to make the trip.

If you don’t have a boat and happen to be in the area this fall, you can almost get there via the Marsh Cruises for Toys for Tots run by the state park.

No matter how you get to the area, make sure you don’t miss it.  I suspect you will be just as much in awe of its beauty as I am.