Teased by Spring’s Warmth

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Beach near the Point, Emerald Isle, NC- March 2015

Beach near the Point, Emerald Isle, NC- March 2015

Spring is always an interesting season on the coast. I feel lucky if I only go through two sets of clothing during a spring day. You can wake up to temperatures under 40F only to find yourself quickly looking for shorts and a t-shirt before lunch.

Sometimes instead of getting cool at night, it get warmer. Then there are the persistent spring winds. Often you can be quite comfortable out of the wind only to find yourself needing another layer or two of clothing when you step into the wind.

The most challenging aspect of spring for me is the sun. When it hides behind clouds, you can get cool pretty quick. However, when the sun is out, the wind dies down, and you are in just the right place, things can warm up quickly. I have gone on some beach walks only to regret that I wore too many clothes.

On a recent afternoon walk around the marsh I started out with a long-sleeved t-shirt and shorts. There was a cool breeze hitting me as I walked out our driveway. The breeze was still strong as I walked around the docks near our home. As I got even with the inlet that runs out to the White Oak River, the wind dropped and the sun had me directly in its sights.

The temperature seem to climb quickly and I started wishing for a short-sleeved t-shirt. I solved the problem by getting on the move again. I quickly transitioned to the shade of some large pines and as I rounded the next corner, I was once again facing a cool breeze.

I recently wrote about the roller coaster of early spring weather. Sometimes March can also be unpredictable. March of 2015 has been pretty nice to us. The only night we have dropped below freezing so far was March 6. It is no surprise to me that the forecast is for us to again go below freezing on Sunday, March 29.

We had a frost all the way down to the water on March 29, 2011. It is not unusual to get a frost that late in the year, but we also have had tomatoes blooming at that date. We stay prepared and have some nice Easter egg buckets in pastel colors all prepared to cover our plants.

Probably the most challenging part of our 2015 spring is having nice days but very cool nights. Cool nights make it hard for the water to warm up and most of us live here because of the water.

This time of year the beach can be irresistible and the waters very enticing. However, there are not many years when the waters are begging to be waded even by the end of March.

Seeing the blue skies and blue waters will help us get over winter, but only true warm will pull us out of spring into water season. I might enjoy walking to the ends of the sand on the beach but what I really love is answering the call of the river in my kayak or my skiff.

If you want to find out more about this special area, we send out an almost monthly newsletter. Our most recent newsletter was sent out just after Valentine’s Day.   Our first newsletter of  2015 can be found at this link.  Our last newsletter of 2014 is still available on the web.

We will be getting another newsletter out around the end of March after the first of the season’s festivals.

If you are interested in visiting the area, check out our free online travel guide to Emerald Isle.

Sign-Up for monthly Crystal Coast Life Email Newsletter

The Cure, Blue Skies and Blue Waters

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Blue Skies over the White Oak River

Blue Skies over the White Oak River

Winter is tough for many of us, but some blue sky and blue water enjoyed when the clouds and cold seem to be winning can make a huge difference in how we feel.

Some of us are incredibly sensitive to sunlight or the absence of it. When we lived on the side of the mountain in Roanoke, Virginia, I loved to roll out of bed and capture the sunrise. I photographed some amazing sunrises there.

Over our twenty plus years on the mountain I noticed more and more haze obscuring the sunrises. While I had no real scientific explanation or proof, I always linked it in my mind to unbelievable increase in truck traffic going down Interstate 81 through the Roanoke Valley.

So when we started looking for a place to spend our next couple of decades, sunshine and blue skies were priorities. I also wanted access to water. My dream was to live by the water and enjoy it to the fullest.

It did not take long wandering around North Carolina’s Crystal Coast to figure out that there is a lot of sunshine with accompanying clear skies here on the coast.

No place is ever a perfect place to live but without a lot of effort we have somehow enjoyed living in a variety of different places. Some of those places have been very foggy spots or snowy places.

However, here along the White Oak River, we found our water and our blue skies. Sometime the skies and waters are an almost perfect blue. Other times they are so bright, blue, and sunny that it is hard to capture them in a photograph.  The one at the top of this post that I took from our skiff on March 7, 2015, was a challenge to keep from washing out because of all the sunshine.

If someone called blue skies and blue waters spring tonic, I would immediately agree with them. Compared to a place like Chicago, we have lots of clear, sunny skies. It looks like we have about thirty days a year more of sunshine than Chicago. That actually confirms a conversation my wife had recently on a trip to the doctor.

The doctor told  my wife the story of walking to work one gloomy morning in Chicago and how he made the decision to move from the dull skies of Chicago to here. He has been on the coast for several years and says he has not regretted the move. Even this winter which had more gloomy days than normal was a treat according to the formerly frozen Chicago doctor.

Generally I can take cold weather in stride as long as the skies are blue. This winter even I felt under attack from the cold and sometimes dark skies. Still I usually made it outside if the sun was shining. Mostly I was just waiting until I could get back on the water.

That mission was accomplished this past early March weekend. While it was not a long day on the water like I would prefer, it was certainly a good dose of spring blue-sky vitamins. My trip into the White Oak was a great reminder that spring will soon be here with warmer waters and bluer skies.

Spring can be magic here on the Crystal Coast. There is no reason to believe the spring of 2015, might not be a memorable one like the spring of 2011. Our area’s spring waters are addicting.

It is hard to wait on the water as it warms up, but the fun on the water under those magnificent blue skies is well worth the wait.

So if you are looking for a place with sunshine, you might want to give the Crystal Coast a try.  If you cannot make it for a visit, there are lost of sunny pictures in my book, 100 Pictures, A Thousand Words, A Crystal Coast Year.

If you want to find out more about this special area, we send out an almost monthly newsletter. Our most recent newsletter was sent out just after Valentine’s Day.   Our first newsletter of  2015 can be found at this link.  Our last newsletter of 2014 is still available on the web.

We will be getting another newsletter out around the end of March after the first of the season’s festivals.

If you are interested in visiting the area, check out our free online travel guide to Emerald Isle.

Sign-Up for monthly Crystal Coast Life Email Newsletter