A Dec. to Warm Your Toes 12/16/11
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It is amazing what a difference a year can make when it comes to weather.

If you had come to visit us in December 2010, you would have found
nothing but ice in the gut that runs behind our house to the White Oak River.

This year it has been
shorts weather in December. It is hard to believe that this is the same place that suffered through the coldest winter on record last year. Today, December 16, 2011, we got up to 70F.

Certainly
this wonderful fall has made up for whatever insults that we got from Mother Nature last year.

riversunset
I have managed to enjoy some wonderful time on the water this December.

Last December we even got snow the day after Christmas.

I guess there are times when we all have to put up with
a real winter.

This year our late fall has been a completely different and certainly warmer experience.

I have been out on the water at sunset when it is normally too cool to be there in December.

Perhaps it all balances out over time. Still I almost have to
pinch myself to keep make sure that all this great weather is real and doesn’t disappear.

Fortunately a fall like this is much closer to normal than what we had last year. Maybe we will be lucky not have to deal with really cold weather this year. We have enjoyed winters like that in the last few years.

ontheriver
Earlier this week it was so nice that I decided to run down to Swansboro and fuel up the skiff for the winter.

I try to run the boat a few minutes at least once a week in the winter.

However, when it does get chilly out on the river, my rides are sometimes short and sweet.
The trip down to Dudley’s Marina in Swansboro for some ethanol free gasoline is a short one for me, but I always enjoy it.

This middle of December ride was very pleasant.

The less than four and one half miles on the river goes by quickly especially at over thirty miles per hour when the river has no waves. It is actually very neat to have a river in your backyard where you can take a quick ride whenever the spirit moves you.

Having that much water close by with warm temperatures means that kayaking is also a December sport. I have taken my kayak out at least a couple of times this December.
A trip out to the oyster rocks for a little fishing only takes twelve to fifteen minutes of paddling.

Unfortunately, the water has cooled enough that the trout are hiding in their holes for the winter, but that doesn’t mean the paddling isn’t fun.

pansies
While I ate the last tomato from garden this week. We still have some lettuce growing and our winter crop of pansies is doing great.

We also have some
wonderful geraniums blooming, and among all our roses, there is a nice bloom or two.

Even
a recent foggy morning didn’t last very long here in Bluewater Cove. The weather cleared up, and we had another fantastic day.

While there is no doubt that the humans of the Crystal Coast have been enjoying this great weather, I suspect that some of the other residents have also been having a good time.

Earlier this week, I stopped the skiff to watch some bottle-nosed dolphins feeding in the White Oak. This is just
one of many photos that I took of them that day.

We have
our Crab Pot Christmas tree up and are hoping for a Christmas that is as peaceful as it was last year. However, warmer weather looks much more promising for this year.

If the lure of kayaking, empty beaches, and fishing is too much to take, you can find some quick links for planning a beach vacation at my Welcome to the Beach site.

If you have already made up your mind to come for a visit, you will find
my updated Emerald Isle Travel Guide very useful. Though the activities are targeted to summer, most except swimming are still fun this time of year.

More general information about the mainland is available at
this link about to a post the area from Swansboro to Cape Carteret.



Why we love it here?
It is hard to say that any place is perfect. You have to accept a balance between what you like and what you don't like but can tolerate. All of that changes as you age. At one time I was close to homesteading in Newfoundland. That is a little too far off the beaten path for me in 2011.

For thoughts on where to live, I would steer you to my articles, Ten ways Carteret County met our needs, Why I love living in Carteret County, and to the Crystal Coast Electronic Village Homepage as answers to why we have chosen this area.

My Crystal Coast, Salt Water on Your Feet site also has a number of articles for people considering a move to the Crystal Coast.

You will also find links to lots of pictures and information at my new Crystal Coast Life introduction page.

If you could spend the day with me, you would understand how easy it is to enjoy our lives along the White Oak. Living in a small subdivision called Bluewater Cove near Cape Carteret isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it is a great place to boat and relax. Bluewater Cove is truly what we were looking for in a place to live. It is close to services and even closer to the beach but not on the beach. We have a dock behind the house and are close to some great trails. I can ride my bike in the neighborhood and not face a lot of traffic.

I also use my kayak on the White Oak River and have learned to love exploring the river and surrounding waters with our skiff.

This area also has some great festivals like the Newport Pig Cookoff, the Emerald Isle Saint Patrick's Day, the Swansboro Mullet Festival and the Swansboro Oyster Roast. We continue to be impressed with the Emerald Isle Christmas Parade.

It is a friendly area with a great future. So right now it is the spot for us. I often write about the area in my other websites. If you are a very avid reader, you might find some similar content on multiple sites, but usually the content is fairly specific to the sites.

These are additional sites where you can find even more information.

Crystal Coast Life

Ocracoke Waves

Crystal Coast Life Blog

Crystal Coast Blog 09

Crystal Coast Blog 08

Some archived articles