Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cape Lookout National Seashore

Let me first start by saying, WOW what an adventure. 
We have traveled alot of places in our lives and visited a lot of different Beaches but this is one for the books!!! 

Let me back up and start from the begening.  We knew that we were headed to a place where there would be no Walmart or fast food places to run so we had to pack carefully.  Remember we are on a 20' dual console so every inch counted. We had a two man tent and a double air matterss that fits perfect behind the captian chairs on the back of the boat.  Porta potty on board and a fold up camping stove, now all we needed was fresh water (this boat has no fresh water holding tanks).  We took care of that by purchasing two, seven gallon tanks  added a  12 volt electric pump that Rick wired to a toggle switch, added some tubing and a shower head and we were set.  (what a genius I married!) 
Holding Tank and Shower Head
Pump Mounted in Front V

We put our boat in and left the truck parked on Harkers Island, NC.  We used Harkers Island Fishing Centers Ramp.  There is a small fee for launching and overnight parking for the truck and trailer but the cost was very resonable and we felt safe leaving our truck parked there.  There is also a motel there if you choose to go that route.  I can not vouch for the rooms but people we asked said it was a clean place if you just needed a place to sleep. 

Once the boat was in the water and everything loaded we headed out on our Adventure.  The water was very rough that day with the winds blowing out of the SW.  We took our time going across,  all I can say is watch your markers and stay between them as the water can go from 15' to 1' in a matter of seconds.  Know your basic rules on markers and remember red on left going out and red-right-return.
We saw a larger fishing boat bottomed out about half way,  all the men were out trying to push with no luck. They were stranded till the tide came back in, not a way to spend a day on the water.

Once out there the water calmed a bit but was still very rocky the first night on the boat.  The next day was much better still a little windy but that just ment we would not be hot and miserable as it was in the 90's.   We started off by cooking breakfast,  it was "So Good" of corse every thing is better out on the water.  Then we went over to Shackelford Island which was just across from Cape Lookout National Shoreline.  Shackelford is known for its wild horses, approximately 120 are known to live there at this time.  There are no houses on this island so they are free to roam the entire place.  You can see them back in the sea grass eating or at times out walking the beaches.  There are a couple of fresh water lakes on the island so they have everything they have needed to survive here.

This entire area was great for shell hunting which I love to do.  What was amazing to me was the different shells that were on each beach. There is one beach area out near an old dock that was full of coach shells.  The water was so clear you could look down in about 2' of water and find live ones.  Please don't take these as there are plenty ready for the picking on the beach that are not alive. 

The shoreline is shaped like a hook, this area is called the Bight.  The Lighthouse is at the start of the hook with the beach curving around to form a beautiful cove from the ocean.  At several points along the way you can cross over and walk to the ocean side.  At the far end of the ocean there was also a unique area where a lake was formed on the beach, this was large enough for kite surfers to practice.  The beaches on both the cove and ocean side were very wide (expecially at low tide) and private.  There were many spots were you could take an evening walk and not see another sole just boats docked out in the Bight.  The water was very clear and blue just beautiful.  I can honestly say if you didn't know any better you would think you were in the Bahamas rather than somewhere in North Carolina.  After another long and wonderful day we set up camp on our boat,  took warm showers and cooked us a wonderful dinner,  We stayed docked off that night right on the beach.  What a wonderful place to "rough it". (Camping is also permitted on the beaches)

The next morning we decided to head over to the Lighthouse.  This area can get crouded with alot of day boat traffic and all the ferries that run from the main land bringing people over for the day.  People swamp to this beach area and when crouded it can take a while to be able to go to the top of the Lighthouse as there is a limit to how many can be at the top at one time.  There is a small fee and the Lighthouse is not open everyday so check the schedule before your trip.  This is deffinately a must, the view from the top is breath taking!  My photos do not do justice you have to see this for your self!!!!

I can honestly say this was an adventure of a lifetime, and we will be back!  Other than a little wind the weather was wonderful.  The water tempature was perfect for swimming and I can not say enough about the beaches.  This is a very Special Treasure that we have found in North Carolina.  A part of me hates to tell you about it because I hope it does not ever become a huge tourist spot,  I want to keep the  privacy we had.   Just always keep it beautiful and clean, remember to take back everything you bring as there is no trash pick up.  Don't come looking for entertainment and nightlife. The true entertaiment is in the beauty of the nature around you.  Enjoy!!!! 

Four Days and Three Nights all I can say is ...

Cape Lookout National Seashore

Monday, June 4, 2012

East Coast Boating Adventures - Oak Island / Bald Head Island

Oak Island

What a wonderful weekend!  Hooked up the boat early Friday morning and headed out to Oak Island, NC.    The weather was great low 80's and a nice breeze in the air.  Once arriving we soon found our motel/marina.   I had called a couple a weeks earlier and book us at
Always a little concerned about booking a place sight unseen but what a pleasant surprise. 
Blue Water Point is an older  motel but very clean and well kept.   The place offered us everything we needed.  The boat landing and marina is there on site, so once unpacked in the room we were ready to unload the boat and park the boat in the marina.  They even had a special parking area for us to keep the trailer. 

Our room was on the bottom floor and on the back side which was perfect as there is a sea wall that wraps around the motel offering an alternate fishing location right outside your door.  They have benches and rod holders all along the wall.  We enjoyed it so much we just spent a couple of hours setting out there relaxing after a long day.

If you don't own a boat but still want to get out on the water the "Princess" is charter boat that stays docked at the marina.  She offers fishing trips and also evening cruises.  The captain also manages the motel and a great person who is very knowledgeable of the area.

Talking about knowledge just check out the locals at the marina's "Fisherman's Wharf"  Add a couple of drinks and who knows how big the catch of the day really is?????

Last but not least one of the top restaurants on the island is also on site.  It opens at 5:00 and the crowds would gather around to wait to get in.

Oak Island is sandwiched between the ocean and the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW).  Once you pull out of the marina you hit the ICW.  Just a short ride and you are at Southport and Bald Head Island.
Bald Head can only be reached by boat or the ferry that runs from Southport. 

Bald Head Island

This was our destination for Saturday morning.  We took our boat so we could come and go as we pleased.  I reserved a golf cart ahead of time at
this is the only transportation on the island as no cars are allowed.  The roads are narrow paved passages.  It is a wonderful way to enjoy the scenery. 

 The lighthouse (Old Baldy) has a museum you can visit.

Also a short walk and you will be at the local Post Office

Across the street is the most peaceful looking church you would ever want to attend.

If you take the road on the beach side there will be parking places all along the way for a short walk to the beach.  At the end of the island is the point a beautiful beach area to set up for the day.  But be sure and stop by the market to pick up what you need for a picnic lunch.


After a very enjoyable morning we headed back toward the marina. 
  A beautiful place to dock or rent a transit slip for the night.  This is definitely a place you will want to spend some time.

The afternoon was spent heading out to one of the reefs to do a little fishing.
  Caught a couple of blue and sea trout, nothing to brag about.

Our trip was cut short on Sunday with a little boat problem.  Having some carburetor issues.  Oh well that's just life.  No big deal heading home to get things fixed and ready for the next trip. 

Don't ever let breaking down with a boat discourage you.  My recommendation is to make sure you are a member of "Boat US or Sea Tow"  membership is very reasonable and then there is no need to worry or spoil you vacation on expensive tows.

Had a wonderful trip thanks to everyone we met along the way and now looking forward for our next East Coast Boating Adventures.