Marsh edges from my kayak

Marsh edges from my kayak

Most often when people talk about scenic views, they have in mind large scenes like this view from the bridge across Bogue Sound at Emerald Isle.  In fact I have written about how wonderful scenery like that can stretch the mind.

However, there is another, more intimate way of looking at our area that can be even more powerful in changing your perspective of the coast.  I doubt that I will ever forget my first kayaking adventure on our coastal river, the White Oak back in 2006.   Before that trip I was a veteran of many kayaking trips to Carvin’s Cove in the Roanoke, Va. area.   Those did not prepare me for sitting on water that is nearly two miles wide.

Actually it isn’t just the large views that making sitting on the coastal river water so special.  The small nooks and little places along the edges of the marshy shores are among my favorite spots. Then there is the fun of actually taking a trip on the river in a kayak to a place like Jones Island near Swansboro.

With a tidal river and the winds that are often prevalent here on the coast, it is rare that a round trip ends up being the same route each way.  If you look at this trip to Jones Island that I did earlier in the spring, you can see that on my return trip I had to make adjustments to compensate for tide and winds.  It took forty-five minutes of paddling each way, but the effort required was different for each leg of the journey.

Of course the water on a big river can get challenging fast, but with experience, even choppy water is relatively easy to handle.  I would not want to try kayaking in 20 mph or greater winds, but I have done plenty of kayaking in 10-15 mph winds.  While it looks a little scary when the wind is blowing, it actually isn’t that bad.

Even in conditions like the the linked YouTube video, the safety valve is to quickly paddle to a more protected section of the river.  Within a few minutes of taking that choppy water video, I paddled back into Raymond’s Gut at Bluewater Cove and took this video of me being gently pushed by the wind back to our dock.  The day before I took another video while gliding in the inlet and listening to birds.

The experience and views that you get sitting on the water in a kayak is totally different that what you might get from a tall bridge or flying down the river in skiff.

If you haven’t had a chance to explore our coastal rivers by kayak, it really is an opportunity that you should not miss.