Warm Oct. Afternoon on the Beach

Warm Oct. Afternoon on the Beach

There is really no way that those of us on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast can complain about this fall’s weather.  We have endured a couple of chilly evenings, but for the most part, our fall weather has been stellar.  We have hardly had any clouds in the sky.

However, even here near the beach, cool weather has to start showing its chilly face eventually.  As someone who “closely” follows the weather in a number of places, I was aware that a cold front was scheduled to visit our area on Friday, October 28.   With that deadline in mind, I decided to head over to the Point at Emerald Isle on Thursday afternoon, October 27.

I have lost count of how many times that I have walked the Point this year, but I did not want to miss what might be our last day on the beach in 2011 when the temperature made it to 80F. There is nothing like walking the beach in the fall and wading in the still warm ocean water.  I really dread the time when I have to switch to bluejeans for my beach walks.

As I walk the beach in the fall, I like to fish a little, even if I don’t catch anything.  With fishing as part of my excursion, my outfit is carefully considered even down to the things that I take with me.

I don’t leave home without my fishing hat even though I am careful about putting on sunblock.  Mostly it protects my balding head without me getting sunscreen in my hair.  More importantly,  I have a waterproof case for my tiny clip wallet and a couple of cords that I hook to the case.  One cord has a multipurpose fishing tool, and the other has a tape measure and my fishing license in a waterproof plastic card holder.  My cell phone goes around my neck in another waterproof case which has a slightly different multi-tool attached to it.

In my back pocket is a small plastic fishing tackle box with a few lucky lures.  In my right pocket  goes my small Sony HX7V camera.  Below that pocket there is another zipper pocket for my truck keys.    I usually wear my ancient LL Bean’s sunglasses that have a reader section built into the lenses.  The lenses make tying knots in fishing line a lot easier.

If the weather is nice as it was on Oct. 27, then my Nikon 3100 with a telephoto lens will also be around my neck. You never know when the opportunity for a great bird picture might present itself.  A microfiber hand cloth and a light spinning rod complete the outfit.  I’m fairly sure that I scare most fish away as soon as I arrive on the scene, but I do get some good pictures.

Everything that could be damaged by water is in a waterproof case because I inevitably end up getting wet.  That is also the main reason that I wear a bathing suit on my excursions during the fall and summer.  This year after hitting over 100 miles hiking on the beach,  I settled on Crocs as my footwear.   On my long hikes, I typically end up walking in some silty areas where I would rather not put my bare feet which are normally perfectly happy on most of the beach.

On my October 27 excursion, I parked at the Station St. parking lot just off Coast Guard Road about 3 PM and started my hike to beach.  I didn’t get very far when a car stopped to ask me about finding a place to fish which didn’t require a lot of walking.  I guess he figured anyone looking as much like a beach bum as me had to be a local.  He seemed to be under the impression that you could park at the Coast Guard Station and fish there.  I corrected that illusion and gave him directions to Third St. Beach.  Then I continued on my journey.

I walked onto the beach from the Wyndtree Drive access public access point and headed west along the low tide line. Hitting the beach at around 3 PM meant that I arrived there at low tide.  The beach over at the Point continues to change with each visit.  It is almost a full time job keeping up with the changes there, but it makes for a topic that interests a lot of folks.  I am not an expert, but the tide over at the Point seemed lower than I had seen in a while.

The body of water that I have called the Emerald Isle community swimming pool  seemed to be gone.  There was little evidence of the swimming area where I had seen it on some of my earlier trips.   A little farther down the beach there was some indication of a little water not far from where it used to be, and then I ran into this area where I am guessing the the pool moved.   I’ll have to make another trip when the tide isn’t so low to see how much of a swimming pool remains and exactly where it has moved.

Walking west from there, I found some of the folks who fish the beach from their trucks parked on a sand ledge  which was actually a long way from the water.  It was almost like they were expecting the water to come to their trucks. Most of the truck fisherman don’t do a lot of walking.

As I got closer to the actual Point, I could see there were a few trucks down on the beach.  There were a lot of changes in the beach as I rounded the Point and headed north.

There was an impressive part of Bogue Inlet not under water.  I walked out and took this picture looking back towards the homes along the Point.

Then I walked down to what is called Coast Guard Island and continued along the north side of what is end of Coast Guard Channel.    The tide was so low that the remnants of Coast Guard Channel were split in two.  I took this picture at the head of the northernmost channel.

Looking back west towards Bogue Inlet made for a great photograph.  Next I walked up to the edge of the dunes and took this picture looking across Coast Guard Island towards the Emerald Isle Bridge.  There was an amazing amount of bait in the northern channel, but my few casts there did not raise any fish.

If you look closely in this photo, you can see the peninsula that the low tide gave us on Oct. 27.  This picture was taken looking east down the edge of the northern side of  Coast Guard Channel.  Here is a picture of the low tide peninsula between the two channels.  Finally this a shot from the same area looking back towards Bogue Inlet.

I had a great time wading around in the water and exploring some new sand.  I took the GPS track from my Droid and used an image editing program to fill in sand where it actually is based on my exploration.  While my hand edited map is by no means exact, it beats the Google map which has me doing a lot of walking on water.  The blue line is the 3.8 mile track that I walked at the Point on October 27.

You can see a lot more pictures of my journey at this Picasa web album.  I have my fingers crossed for another 80F day when I can once again put my strange uniform on and have another adventure.

If you think great October weather at the beach is rare, you should check out this album which I uploaded on October 10 last year.  I still remember the wedding party standing out in the surf.

As a side note no fish were harmed in the research for this post.  In fact none were caught by me, and I only saw one small fish put in a cooler during the whole hike.