Spring does not usually come grudgingly to North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. Life and the weather here in Carteret County are usually tempered by the waters of Bogue Sound and the White Oak River. While cool days are not unusual, we often get a nice taste of summer in March and some memorable April weeks.
Spring of 2014 has been a little less enticing from the chilly start to Easter weekend when we had our own private storm with three inches of rain, gusty winds, and temperatures hugging 50F for over two days. Our only warm weather through the third week of April has been sporadic and short-lived.
As the third week in April started, I was beginning to think that we might head straight from our chilly early spring to summer. Fortunately Tuesday, April 22, turned out to be a stunning day as you can see from the blog picture. The days that have followed have reminded me just how wonderful spring can be on the coast.
When I walked out on the dock on Tuesday morning, I was so struck by the beauty of the water and skies that it was hard to leave and head back to our house. It was such a treat after a spring that left me wondering when we were going to turn the corner.
Certainly Monday, April 21, the day before, was a nice enough day especially considering most of our other not so nice spring weather this year. Monday’s wind and weather were manageable enough to get me in our open skiff for a ride down to Swansboro harbor. It is a short ride of little over three miles, but it is not one that is enjoyable if the wind is over 15 MPH and the temperature is below 70F. While I did have to ride the tops of the waves for it to be a comfortable ride, it was nice be in the boat in t-shirt and shorts instead of bundled up with gloves.
Monday was just nice enough for a boat ride, but there is a big difference between a nice day and one that is so nice that it stops you in your tracks or makes you completely lose track of time out on the water. With some eighties in the forecast for the mainland this weekend, we might just have one of those magical Crystal Coast kind of days.
Unfortunately like my day job kept me from taking our stunning Tuesday off, renewing my real estate license is going to keep me in the classroom on Saturday. I don’t list or sell properties, but I do enjoy helping people find the right agent. In spite of having to work on Tuesday, I took enough time out of the day to manage four walks including one over on the beach. (One walk before breakfast, one during lunch hour, one after work, and a final one just as dusk was arriving).
The walk on the beach reinforced my thoughts that the beach weather has a ways to go before it is nice enough to jump in the water, but it was fine for a long stroll along the surf. Certainly there were no crowds like we have found in the island grocery store this Easter weekend.
It is good to have arrived at the point in the year when spring has sprung. Now we just have to wait out our normal spring windy weather pattern that makes fishing, boating, and kayaking a little challenging for a while. Of course there is no way to control when the winds will die down to manageable levels so we just wait. It is some of the hardest waiting of the year.
A quick ride down the river on the top of the waves or a hike along one of the beaches helps pass the time until the real water season is upon us. It is, however, a poor substitute. Even if you left the dock when I snapped the picture in the post, you probably would have only enjoyed a couple of hours of fishing before the wind picked up and started pounding the hull of your boat. By the same token even if the sun was warm enough to make the beach marginally comfortable for a couple of hours before and after lunch this week, it certainly was not our typical summer sun that will cook you just enough to convince you to throw your warm body into the cool surf.
However, progress is progress. Thankfully we are to the point that we can almost feel the great weather of past springs. So far our victories are limited. The local strawberries are here, but the water that is begging to be waded is about a month late. We just need to have a week or so of that great coastal spring weather to keep us going until summer really arrives. On the mainland we have one day of 80s in the forecast, but it will take more than that for the beach to really warm up.
For more information you can get our comprehensive travel guide to the area. We will be publishing a free electronic update for people who buy the 2013 edition. There is no greater place to vacation with a family than North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks. You can find more information at Life Along The Crystal Coast.
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