Most of us would rather be out on the water than behind a desk. The weather never ever cooperates perfectly.
Monday a friend and I headed out to Bogue Inlet. We had been trying to get together to fish for about a month without any luck.
Finally this Monday schedules, winds, and tides cooperated. Still by the time we got to Swansboro things were getting foggy.
When we turned from the Intracoastal into the channel heading out Bogue Inlet, the fog got dense enough that we turned on the skiff’s running lights.
I have written about how rarely the Fog Fairy visits our area before. This case was really no exception. The fog was gone shortly after we encountered it. By 9 am we were seeing blue sky. It wasn’t long before we had nothing but sun and a few clouds.
We had a great time in spite of only catching one black drum. I posted a few pictures of the adventure.
While enduring this heat wave I have been playing around with high definition movies. Not surprisingly I tried to take one that would showcase the hot weather that has been hanging around the coast. It is done to the tune of heat pumps.
We have been looking for indoor activities. I managed to snap a few shots at the Duke Marine Labs last Saturdy during their open house. We got to look at Beaufort from a different perspective.
That album is interpersed with my other weekend activities, kayaking, fishing, and boating. The hot weather hasn’t managed to keep me from having a great weekend
This week has been especially hot. I considered moving back to Canada after barely surviving Wednesday’s heat and humidity while I was mowing the yard.
Today we finally got some rain and storms which are should help the hot weather exit our area.
This morning the temperature is down to 71 degrees. I am looking forward to the cooler weather and getting back to swimming. The pool has been so warm that it has been a couple of days since I did any laps. Of course now one of my ears is bothering me.
I have managed to keep up my bike riding by staying in a shady lane but trying to swim laps in a hot pool is more than I can take.
Thankfully we aren’t too far from fall which is the nicest season on the coast.
Soon we will have cool nights which let us sleep with our windows open once again.
Then we will be back to paradise. The couple months of warm, humid weather isn’t too steep price to pay for the temperate climate the rest of the year.
Among other things Alex is a fantastically skilled boater, having practically grown up in boat.
That means I will venture out in the boat with Alex when I would probably leave it on the lift if the job of captain was in my lap.
Monday March 3 we decided to down the White Oak to Swansboro and then over towards Hammocks Beach State Park where rumor had it there might be some fish.
We left on a falling tide, knowing we didn't have a lot of time. Usually the trip to Swansboro is pretty uneventful if you just follow the channel markers.
Fortunately I have a GPS in our boat and took the time last summer to mark all the buoys.
I say that because there are a couple of markers missing as you get to Swansboro.
There is buoy missing before the island and the last marker after the island as you turn to go towards the bridge is also gone.
If you have boated on the White Oak, you know that having missing channel markers on a falling tide is the last thing you want next to fog or darkness.
We managed okay, but by the time we got down to the Hammocks Beach area, the supposed fishing hole was a dry spot so we turned around and headed home.
One of the great disadvantages to visiting our area on a short trip is that you end up forcing what you do into a tiny window.
That being said we took off in the boat the next morning. We did that knowing that there were winds of ten to fifteen miles per hour. We also knew that sometimes the White Oak can be choppier than the sounds.
As we were riding by the dock of a neighbor, he told us to be careful up by Swansboro since some buoys were missing. We thanked him for the warning even if it was a day late.
Even with some wind we were hoping to make it up to Stella and perhaps fish for a few minutes in the White Oak after it narrows. Unfortunately the farther up river we got, the worse the waves became.
Just as we were close to making our last turn up the river by the campground, the waves were at two to three feet. I was too busy then to take photographs.
We made the decision that we should make a run for home before things got any worse.
Of course by the time we got back to Hancock Point and Bluewater Cove, the waves dropped substantially.
The picture at the top is after we got back to the markers in mid-river.
This picture at Green 15 is just as you see Worthy of the Lamb before getting to the Bluewater Cove channel at Red 16.
Of course the closer we got to home the quieter it got.
As the kids were packing to leave the next morning, there seemed to be an extra foot or so of water behind the house, the sky was blue and the winds were calm.
Oh well, there is always next time.
I had to work all day so I did not get to do a beach walk or anything exciting.
I still enjoyed the 70 degree temperature and not wearing a coat.
I have only had a coat on four or five times this year which is just about right in my book.
Today I did manage to sneak down to the Emerald Woods pier on Emerald Isle and take a number of pictures of yet another spectacular Bogue Sound sunset.
It is just amazing how different each of the sunsets can be.
We continued our break from cooking at home. Some friends treated us to lunch at Mike's on Emerald Isle, and I had oysters on my mind so we managed to get into Jordan's before the crowd hit.
The oyster were great. Lunch was delicious also. It is hard to beat Mike's stuffed pepper soup and their grilled reuben sandwich.
That's not bad considering we had some great pizza with friends at Trattoria in Swansboro Thursday evening.
Tomorrow I am hoping for some time to relax and catch up on my writing. We may even cook all our meals at home.
However, it has been pretty nippy the last two days.
My hands got pretty cold standing out by the Cedar Point boat ramp waiting for the sun to set.
Our weather here on the Carolina coast is not really that cold compared to where we lived in Canada.
Still we would all rather have some seventy degree temperatures instead of the upper forties.
I did a couple of unusual things today. First I baked bread and then I made some oatmeal cookies.
This is the fourth loaf in this iteration of my bread baking career which has only be going on for a few weeks.
I did bake bread once in a while in my early days in Canada before I got married.
These days I keep experimenting because I have been unable to find a good bakery here on the Crystal Coast. I love whole wheat bread.
This last loaf got the advantage of cracked wheat to go a long with the oatmeal flakes that I had been using.
We also added some millet which gives the bread a nice crunch. The initial taste this afternoon was very good so I am looking forward to my breakfast toast.
The oatmeal cookies were for my wife who complained that we didn't have any dessert around the house. I made cookies regularly when I lived in Canada on our first farm in Nova Scotia.
This was my first pan of cookies in 35 years so I guess baking cookies hasn't been a priority over the years.
Still it was sort of fun doing something different.
After we made our way across the bridge, we drove down a street with a patch of some freshly mown grass.
Seeing grass being cut in late February reminded me of why I love living in Carteret County.
On an earlier foray we had located Carteret County's only supply of Marmite at the new Coastal Community Market. Fortunately there had not been a run on the Marmite which I consider to be a market of civilization.
My wife has a different opinion and likes to describe it as country ham flavored axle grease.
We turned out to find some other things that I have had on my list for a while.
I bought some cracked wheat and millet for my next loaf of homemade bread. I have gotten frustrated with the lack of a good bakery on the coast. I have taken baking into my hands.
I am enjoying the fruits of my bread baking labor, but I have to be careful not to drop one of my lead loaves on my feet, I might end up in the emergency room.
It has been many years since I baked any bread except with a bread maker. Those long ago years were when we were living in an old farm house on the coast of Nova Scotia.
My wife baked many loaves when we ran our large cattle farm in New Brunswick. She tells me that she is baked out so if I want homemade bread, I have to do it myself.
Still I will get better at it. Kneading dough is very therapeutic thing to do in a challenging real estate market.
I think my bread not rising as much this time was related to buying slow acting yeast and not feeding them any sugar.
Sugar for the yeast is one of those crucial ingredients that wives don't write down. I suspect the info is passed from generation to generation carved on the back of their bread boards.
The next iteration of bread will have to wait for another evening. Tonight I had to get ahead of those sprouts of green showing in my yard. I put some pre-emergent weed killer on so that it would catch tomorrow's rains.
Spring is coming though it will not seem like it on Wednesday and Thursday with a blast of cold air.
The winds were not really bad, but as is often the case, I had no coat, and only sandals on my feet.
I knew as soon as I took the pictures that I would have a hard time choosing just one to send to Marvin at WITN.
There were a lot of great pictures, but I got my favorite for the day in at 9:00 pm. It was the first one that they showed on the 11 pm broadcast.
We managed to get three quarters of an inch in rain on Monday morning early with the thunderstorms that moved through the area. At least they waited until 5 am.
Our area has seen reasonable precipitation since the first of the year, but it still does not take the winds long to dry out the dead grasses.
I am hoping we can avoid any wild fires. The one that we saw in Roanoke, VA took a week to control and burned over 4,000 acres.
I did create a neat new map of the area using Google Maps and a service called Map Channels.
Google is amazing. I just wrote up an article on the impact of their tools on Apple.
A bike ride in the middle of February when you get to wear a tee-shirt and shorts is almost heaven.
We needed the 1.25 inches of rain we got last night, and the rain today held off until after I had finished my late afternoon ride.
On top of that the skies cleared just enough for some great photographs just before dusk.
This weekend we are headed back into the sixties again. There is nothing wrong with the temperature staying in the sixties in February.
That is especially the case since I can hear the weatherman saying that there will be a couple of inches of snow near Richmond tonight.
It was not a day to get in the surf.
I have to say that the surf was really impressive given that the winds were not that bad.
We just got back from a trip to Roanoke, Va where we endured winds close to 70 mph.
On top of that some forest fires got started and have burned thousands of acres.
I guess we are pretty lucky down here. The weather is mild and so far we have not even had a bad nor'easter this winter.
I am sure that our time will come.
Tuesday afternoon we were at home on the White Oak, and it looked like we were going to have a nice sunset.
It was nice to see the sun since the fog had been hanging around Swansboro and Emerald Isle for most of the day.
We left home in clear skies and before we even made it to Cape Carteret the fog was back.
A little later we stopped at the grocery store for a few things. By the time we headed back home, it was so foggy you could barely see the street lights.
Today we went over to Emerald Isle for lunch. We ran into fog on the bridge but ended up in the sunshine by the time we got to Mike's.
Later we drove down to the Point, and I snapped today's picture of the fog hanging just off the coast.
My guess is that the fog will disappear when the record temperatures take a hike this weekend.
We visited the nearby Eastern Regional Access on Emerald Isle.
Surprisingly there were no other vehicles at 5:15 pm when we parked.
It me only a couple of minutes to get down to the water.
For the first time in 2008, I left my shoes up on the steps.
The sand was not that cold. That must have gone to my head since the next I knew my bare feet were in the water.
It might be just a little early for wading, but I did it and my feet did not turn blue.
My guess is that the water temperature is in the fifties, but it is hard to tell if you are only using your feet as a thermometer.
The sunset was not nearly as spectacular as yesterday's golden sunset on Bogue Sound, but I cannot complain.
There was no wind, and we had the beach to ourselves on a very nice February evening.
The even better news is that even warmer temperatures are expected later this week.
I put up an online picture tour of Emerald Isle during the winter.
Today it rained most of the day, but I don't have the heart to change my main site and warn people from visiting.
I was working the Swansboro local businesses festival. As I get older, I find myself more suspicious of cold weather. I could live forever without any more ice and snow.
Weather causes far too many changes in my attitude. Even without winter storms, the currents by the point have made huge changes to the dunes. The place looks pretty weird with all of the fall sand disappearing.
Less than a week after getting my beach driving permit, most of the sand disappeared
Still it is one my favorite places.
This year we have seen the weather either very cold or very warm. There seems to be no happy medium.
Perhaps the sixty degrees that they are calling for next week will do the trick and snap me into the mood to go boating.
According to our gauge it was 22 degrees when I got up at 7 am.
It is now 35 degrees just before noon.
This would rank as one of the colder days we have seen since moving to the coast.
Fortunately there is no wind, so we didn't even turn on the fireplace this morning.
We keep the heat on 68 but my office which is upstairs and has a nice south facing window is already 72 degrees.
This morning I have watched frustrated Herons looking for open water this morning. I suspect they will have to wait until afternoon.
I don't plan on a lot of out of doors activity today, but I did manage to take a picture of our cove iced up.
Yesterday I did venture over to the beach and took this picture of the sun setting near the eastern regional access.
Yet, it does not take much observation to notice that our ground is so saturated with this week's rains that most of the water has headed to the river.
We stayed in the mid-forties all day today.
Tomorrow we are not supposed to get out of thirties.
It could well be the coldest weather we have seen since we moved here eighteen months ago.
Based on my rough calculations, we are close to three inches in rain for January. I would say that is good start on restoring soil moisture especially considering our area close to the coast only got dry for two or three months this fall.
It looks like the snow promised for the area will mostly stay west of Highway 17 which is about sixteen miles from us.
It did not take any snow to get us curled up in front of the fireplace. We bought some take out Chinese on the way home from a quick trip to Morehead City, then we settled in to relax in front of the fireplace and watch a little Discovery Channel.
A rainy day is just as good an excuse to relax as a blizzard, you just have a few more options on what you can do.
We will see what things look like tomorrow morning. Maybe I will have a picture of coastal snow to post.
I noticed how neat the sky was at Cedar Point boat ramp so we pulled in to add a few photos to the ones that I had taken over at the Swansboro bridges.
Fog does strange things to light. It was so mild out that it was a lot more fun taking pictures than it was earlier in the week.
There is nothing like sixty degrees in January to make you start thinking about spring.
It is January, and most years the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina get snow. That is why I am living on the coast.
As I look at this picture I will remind myself that today we were thirty degrees warmer than our mountain friends.
Winter hasn't impacted us too much. On the way back from the sunset chase we got some shrimp from Clyde Phillips Seafood and enjoyed what I call perfect shrimp before dinner.
The weather is changing. From the forecast it looks like next week will be significantly cooler than this week.
We cannot complain. This has been a spectacular run of weather with lots of great time on the beach.
I guess we have to go back to our "winter" and look forward to warm days in the future.
Actually I think standing on the point at Cannonsgate is more than that.
It qualifies as sticking my whole body into the cold wind.
The good news is that this cold weather is only going to last a couple of days.
It was already 30 degrees Fahrenheit earlier in the evening so I expect a cold night.
However, today has been the coldest day that I have seen since moving to the coast.
The temperature has not reached forty so our high is going to be in thirties.
On top of that the wind is blowing.
I am headed out to catch some sunset shots. A nice sunset always helps me forget the cold.
The knowledge that we will be have a warm meal including some of my wife's famous cornbread does not hurt either.
Hopefully I will have a nice shot to post later in the evening.
Fog seems somewhat rare on the Crystal Coast. I would guess that our Blue Ridge mountain home in Roanoke, Virginia actually experiences more fog than we do down here on the coast.
I suspect the reason we aren't fogged in more is that our coastal waters are never too far from our air temperatures most days.
It seems that we need a differential of twenty degrees or more between air and water temperatures before we get significant fog.
Later this week we are expecting a couple of days of very cool weather. That will let us see another coastal phenomenon, steaming waters.
This happened a couple of times last year. When the air temperatures got into the twenties while the water temperature was still in the fifties, fog or what I like to call steam would rise off of the water.
The weather is setting us up for a good opportunity to see some steaming water on Wednesday morning. We might even get a little ice on Raymond's Gut like we did last year.