Kayaking Water

Raymond's Gut Just Off The White Oak River

Raymond’s Gut Just Off The White Oak River

The first warm and steamy weather has arrived here on North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks.  We no longer have just a hint of warmth, we now have some early summer weather which is great for walking the beaches or one of my favorite activities, kayaking.

Fortunately our waters near the coast are still relatively cool and have not yet climbed out of the low seventies.  That means the quickest way to getting cool is to slide your kayak in the water and find a breeze. We are lucky that some of the stronger early winds have died down.

Given that our county is over half water, and that we almost always have a sea breeze, finding a breeze on the water is not much of a challenge.  While I enjoy our skiff which has an outboard motor,  there are times of the year when the kayak just seems right.

December when the water is still warm is one of them.  However, late spring is a near perfect time. When you need a little cooling from the early summer heat, the area’s waters are happy to oblige and sitting on the water in a kayak is great way to enjoy the cooling effect of the water without getting wet.

Later in the year when the river gets warm, we often take the skiff over to Bogue Inlet where Bogue Sound meets the Atlantic Ocean.  The water stays cooler there longer in the summer.  However, at the end of May, the water temperature in the White Oak River where we live is just about perfect for taking the edge off early summer heat.

Our little inlet on the river is called Raymond’s Gut.  It takes about ten minutes to paddle from our house to the middle of the White Oak.  So far each time that I have been out in the last few days, there has been plenty of breeze on the river so staying cool has not been a problem.

Earlier this week the high temperature was barely in the seventies.  When I paddled in from the river, the warmer temperature in our inlet and the lack of breeze actually felt nice.  I am guessing that with the temperature headed to the middle eighties that will change.  The inlet will feel too warm and the breeze on the river will be just what is needed to keep me cool.

Now if I could just find some fish that were biting.



Beach Walk Weather

The Beach Near Eastern Regional Access, Emerald Isle, NC

The Beach Near Eastern Regional Access, Emerald Isle, NC

Living along North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks tends to spoil a person.  We like our weather warm but not too hot.  Cold weather which is often defined as anything under fifty degrees Fahrenheit is not welcome even in winter.

Skies are supposed to blue while our ocean water should stick with that beautiful emerald color that we often see when the light is just right.  Yet even in our coastal paradise sometimes we have to endure weather outside our comfort zone.

Spring of 2013 has been one of those seasons to challenge our weather expectations.  The warmth lovers among us including plants like tomatoes which thrive in the heat, have found much of  April and May 2013 to be relatively cool.  It has taken us a while to get to proper “Beach Walk” weather.

Early warm weather like March of 2012 almost seems like a North Carolina birthright, but we all know weather is nothing if not unpredictable.  Still a couple of months like April and May of 2013 when we just cannot seem to regularly reach those really nice spring temperatures that so often define our Crystal Coast weather throws a loop into our plans.

That is especially the case when your plans are to walk all the beaches inside the town limits of Emerald Isle.  For the last couple of years I have given myself the task of walking from the most northerly part of the beach on Bird Island near Bogue Inlet to the “Welcome to Emerald Isle” sign which is on the beach between Emerald Isle and Salter Path, North Carolina.  The approximately 12.5 miles of beach is not a huge distance, but I often end up walking something closer to 18 or 19 miles because I sometimes have to walk parts of the beach, turn around and walk the same beach to get back to my car.

When I first started doing this a few years ago, I had no idea that I would get so addicted to walking the beaches and that it would become so easy given the right weather. While I usually manage to get some beach walking in during all the months of the year, late spring is my favorite time.

The weather is usually pleasant and vehicles except for emergency ones are banned on the beach.  There are few fishermen to dodge and most of the ones fishing in the spring are courteous enough to not block the beach access with their lines.

This year I had to pick my time for beach walks.  Since the ocean water is usually in the seventies this time of year,  walking the beach when the air temperature is in the upper seventies to the mid-eighties is a nearly perfect scenario.  Those are the average temperatures we usually enjoy in Emerald Isle during May and June.

As is often the case even when you have some flexibility in your schedule, the weather rarely cooperates.  During the middle of April when there was a little spell of warm weather, I was tied up getting our book, A Week At The Beach – The 2013 Emerald Isle Travel Guide, published.  From the third week in April until the middle of May, we did not have a lot of great beach walking weather.  I managed to snare a few days, but it was only last week just after the middle of May when the great days for walking the beach were stacked up, one after the other.

I took advantage of the great weather and finished my first 2013 hike of all beaches of Emerald Isle.  It was good to get done while the beaches are practically empty.  Memorial Day is not far away and the small crowds that find our beach will not stop me from walking the beaches, but it always nice to finish a task even when it a pleasant one like walking the beaches.

I always have a camera with me.  This year my choice was a new Canon SX50 HS that I got in March.  It usually takes me a while to choose my best beach pictures, but I have posted an album which has many bird pictures from my walks this spring both on the beach and along the marshes.



Unexpected weather

Blue water and skies viewed from Raymond's Gut

Blue water and skies viewed from Raymond’s Gut

To be honest most weather here along the coast is unexpected, but I certainly do not blame our hardworking weather folks.  With so many of us living near bodies of water with different temperatures, I am surprised that our forecasts are as accurate as they are.

Still once in a while I have to call our coastal forecasters to account.  Going into the first weekend of May 2013, the forecasts were calling for practically a washout for the early part this past week.  Turns out we had very little rain.  After a couple of afternoons with brief cloudy spells, this second week of May has been perhaps the nicest week this spring.  We slept with our windows open last night, and as noon approaches I still have my office window open so I can enjoy the cool breeze while I finish my morning writing.

We finally got some real warmth as we managed to get up over 80F on Thursday, May 9.  That was actually a treat and I celebrated by going for a beach walk.  I am “working hard” to complete my annual Emerald Isle beach survey before Memorial Day.  That means I have to walk all the beaches in the town limits from Bird Island just North of the Point to the “Welcome to Emerald Isle” sign down the beach near Salter Path.

It is really not too difficult a challenge mostly because I walk all the time and I love to walk on the beach. The biggest obstacle is that I frequently stop and take pictures.  Usually I have to walk all the beach twice because my wife generally is not very interested in coordinating her trips so that I can drop off a vehicle and get myself dropped at another part of the beach.   I am used to walking down the beach and returning to where I started.  However, she seems to be weakening a little this year on her stance.  She has at least agreed to one or two drop offs.  That might let me meet my goal of finishing by Memorial Day.

Of course to do that I have to stay focused and out of the kayak and our skiff.  This unexpected batch of really nice weather makes it very hard to choose what to do.  If I start catching some fish which given my recent luck is highly unlikely, things might get even more complicated.

This week’s boat rides, kayaking and beach walks have all been spectacular.  Swansboro’s Harbour was picture perfect when I idled through on May 7.  The picture at the top of the post was taken on May 8 when I went kayaking.  There certainly was nothing wrong with the beach as you can see from this picture of the Bogue Inlet Pier taken on my May 9 hike from the Western Regional Beach Access to the pier.

Friday May 10, looks to be so nice that I suspect that I will find it hard to stay off the beach.  Saturday is supposed to also be nice, but unfortunately I will be sitting in a classroom taking my annual real estate training which lets me keep my license so I can keep a toe in the real estate world when I choose to do so.  Few people who have gotten their real estate license ever want to contemplate having to do all their initial training and exams again. That is exactly what you have to do if do not keep your training current and your license lapses.

Even with having to take a classroom day, it is nice to see spring finally on track, the winter wheat looks like it is in great shape.  Our vegetables are doing fine but I doubt that we will have any ripe tomatoes by the end of May this year, but that just means that they will taste even better when they are ripe.  This weather has been perfect for lettuce.  We have really enjoyed feasting on our homegrown lettuce for the last several weeks. It is so much better than what you get from the store that it is even hard to describe. Our lettuce would not have lasted as long if our spring had been a hot one.  The first time that I got my toes in the saltwater in 2013 was over six weeks later than in 2012 when I wrote Water that is begging to be waded.

As is always the case, we take whatever weather is served up and are happy to be here on the Crystal Coast to enjoy it.  I like to think nice weather in May is a tradition here along North Carolina’s coast no matter what the forecasters tell us to expect.