Sunset at the Point, Emerald Isle, NC

Sunset at the Point, Emerald Isle, NC

I am not shy about saying that you should have been here last week, the first week of October 2013.   We had the best of a series magical weeks here on North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks.

Most of you went back to work after Labor Day.  That is except for my friend, Stephen, who probably negotiated the start of his new job so he could enjoy some fall time at the beach.  He has the time of the year right.  One of these days he will figure out the beach where fall is the best.

Those of us who live at the beach are often accused of being on vacation all the time.  There is only a little truth in that statement.  We do take our enjoyment of the area seriously.  If you are going to live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world, staying inside and ignoring our world without walls would be a huge waste.

There might be some days that I do not start work until 10 AM and a few when I stop work at 4 PM.  In my defense I don’t work full-time, so I still get in plenty of work hours along with my kayaking, beach walking, fishing, and boating.

There has been very little to complain about when it comes to our weather over the last several weeks.   It is dry but I guess the remnants of tropical storm Karen are about to fix that.  During the day for most of the last couple of weeks, we have enjoyed temperatures in the low to mid eighties.  At night we were getting down into the upper fifties but as the water has warmed back up, it  has been hard to make it below the upper sixties.

Weather like that is one of the reasons we live here on the Crystal Coast.   We went close to two weeks without the heat pumps running.   My routine during this perfect weather is to open our windows around 4 PM each day and then close them the next morning at 7 AM.   The house manages to stay very comfortable all day and we save a considerable amount of electricity.  We also enjoy the fresh air and most days we get a nice breeze especially in the evenings.

Only on the last few days of the first week of October have my efforts been derailed as we got past the mid-eighties and the low temperatures struggled to get below the upper sixties.  Still, it  is was nice to have a taste of summer back even if the heat pumps did run some.  It certainly made surf fishing a pleasure.  Standing in warm water is much nicer than standing in cold water.

On October 2, we left home a little after 5 PM and drove up to Third Street Beach.  The bait was thick in the waves.  Finally about thirty minutes after we got there, I caught something besides a bluefish.  A nice Spanish Mackerel just big enough to feed us hit my gold Kastmaster.  He took a few runs before finally letting me beach him.  The total fish count for the evening was four bluefish and the one Spanish mackerel which we did take home for dinner.

The next day the weather was so nice, I had to vacation a little during the late morning just so I could fish a falling tide.  Kayaking with a water temperature in the seventies and the air temperature in low eighties is about as pleasant as it can get.  The winds pretty well disappeared and our nearly two-mile wide river was like a big pond on October 3.    It would have been easy to lose myself in the moment but I caught a nice drum and the idea of getting it home and on ice made a lot of sense.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of this week were about as perfect as you can hope for during a summer vacation.  It is nice to live where weather that delights is often the norm.  When it comes to kayaking, boating, or spending time on the beach, the stretch of great weather after Labor Day 2013 has been memorable and close to spectacular.

This next week, the second week of October, looks like a more variable week with some much-needed rain.  We will continue to get some great weather as fall progresses and sometimes we even get a taste of it in November and December.   However, it is unlikely that any of it will last as long as the streak of weather that we just finished.

As the weather got better and better with deeper blue skies, you could almost feel that this summer in October was on the horizon and then we blinked and it was here and the surf felt very refreshing.  My only complaint is that we have lost enough hours of daylight that it is hard to get in all the things that I would love to do.

If the number of hours of daylight in a season is the only thing wrong, things are going well.  The fishing season looks promising and our fall gardening is in good shape with just a few more heads of lettuce to plant.  I managed to the mow our centipede yard this first week in October.  It was a pleasure to mow with no serious heat.  Mostly likely I will only have to mow it once more before the grass goes dormant.  That is actually a good thing since it opens up additional time for fishing and more beach walks.  I am happy to not be living in the Virginia mountains where I often mowed our bluegrass yard well into December.  Mowing a yard with a sweatshirt on was never my cup of tea.

Now if the speckled trout would just show up and a couple of those flounder grown thick from a summer of foraging would find their way into the river and onto the end of my line, everything would be as it should be.

If you have never tried it, there is still time to make plans to try a fall beach vacation.  It might be a tradition you grow to love.  There are no crowds or waiting this time of year.  If you need some more suggestions try our travel guide.  It comes highly recommended.