It is pretty obvious that the seasons here on the coast are changing. Our winter along the marsh is giving way to much warmer days.
Winter has not thrown a lot at us this year. We did not even take our geranium off the front porch until sometime in January. You might even say that we just had a brush with winter this year.
Winter here on the Crystal Coast is a far cry from those many years that I spent in New Brunswick which has to be classed as a land of real snow.
We get most of our snow from memories of snow storms we have survived in other places that we have lived. Our last winter with any significant snow was two years ago.
February in North Carolina always brings the promise of warmth. March usually follows up with great weather that makes almost any visitor wish that they were living here.
Some cool nights and a few cool days are normal for a winter on the coast but remember a cool day to us is one that does not reach fifty degrees Fahrenheit.
A day here on the coast when we do not reach forty degrees only happens a handful of times during a normal winter.
It has not been cold enough to keep me off the beach or the river. However, I have cut back on beach hiking this winter more because of the construction on the Emerald Isle Bridge than any weather issues. Fortunately the construction should be done in the next few weeks just in time for some great spring beach hikes.
My weekly boat rides were not a problem even in January. The warm days have started me foolishly dreaming of summer on the water but the dreams have not caused me to forget how cold it can be over by Point in an open skiff when the water is still in the fifties. Mostly I just enjoy my daily walks around the marsh during March and take short boat rides.
Though I have no statistics to back up my hunches, this winter might have been a little cloudier than most. There are times that I have felt the need to grab some blue sky anywhere that I could find it
One special treat this winter has been all the big bird visitors to the marsh. The numbers of egrets, herons, and pelicans have been impressive.
We have enjoyed one special visitor, a great egret from Canada. Coming in from a kayak trip on the river late one December evening, I noticed a great egret with reddish splotches on his wings. I finally figured out that he was tagged and tracked down some information on him.
It turned out that he had picked up the name of Frank and was born last summer on an island in Lake Huron. We finally made contact with the people in Canada who had tagged him. It has turned out be a lot of fun learning about Frank. Our new Canadian friends tell us that we have contributed to their ongoing study of egret migration patterns.
It is nice to be useful at an age when the business world typically ignores you.
This winter has given us plenty of time and good weather to have fun in our wonderful little natural world.
Spring looks even better. The temperature on March 11, 2013 reached 72F. With that much warmth it did not take me long to get changed into shorts and take a ride down to the marshes by Swansboro.
As you can see from the linked map, it is not a long trip but it is one of my favorite short rides in our skiff. In the summer it is one of the rides that I often take even before I have eaten breakfast. I am pleased to report that the water temperature in the river is up to 52F which is a good start on spring.
Once we are past these cold mid-March nights, the water should pick up some heat. Of course before we can get some heat, we might have to deal with the spring winds.
We have had less wind this winter and early spring than previous years, but there is no predicting how much wind we will see this spring. Sometimes the wind is more persistent than the cool temperatures.
Fortunately we are getting plenty of nice sunsets to go along with our beautiful days.
If the water is quiet in the evening during sunset, the odds are against the continuous winds that can bedevil any coastal area.
I am happy to report that we seem to be getting just about the right amount of moisture to have a good growing season in 2013
Just maybe we will have adequate moisture going into summer. It would be nice to see some beautiful corn crops here this summer. I know the farmers would love to see that happen.
Taking everything into account, life here on the marsh edges has been very pleasant this winter. We have had just enough cold to remind us that winter weather is well-entrenched to our west and north, but not enough to really ice us over like in a couple of previous winters.
With just enough beautiful blue skies to keep cabin fever from setting in here in Carteret County, my mind and body are ready for spring.
Winter has been a good time to get some writing done. I managed to finish my book, A Taste for the Wild, Canada’s Maritimes. If you enjoy what I write and want to know more about me, this one book which is only $2.99 will provide a lot of insight into the person that I am.
If you need some help convincing your spouse that a trip to Canada’s Maritimes would be worthwhile, the book builds a strong case that Americans should visit Canada’s three Maritime provinces, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. I like to say the book is worth the $2.99 just for the story about our honeymoon on the barrens of Newfoundland where we almost disappeared.
Our blue skies and blue waters along with the great weather, kayaking, boating, beautiful beaches, and fishing at our doorstep are the reasons most of us are here.
If they sound enticing and make you wish for the smell of salt air, you can find some quick links for planning a beach vacation at my Welcome to the Beach site which gets updated frequently during the summer.
If you can wait until the end of this March, the 2013 version of our travel book about Emerald Isle will be available. The 2012 version “A Week at the Beach, An Emerald Isle Travel Guide” is already there if you cannot wait. It is only $4.99. Both books will be available in Kindle format but can be read on almost any electronic device by using free Kindle reader software.
There have been a few changes in the area and we are working hard to update the book with more pictures spread through out the text and some additional hand drawn maps of special areas. It should help anyone plan a great week at the beach.
There are lots more links to pictures and regular events on the coast at my Crystal Coast Links page. The festival season opens this coming weekend with the Emerald Isle Saint Patrick’s Day Festival and the Swansboro Oyster Roads. Both events are wonderful opportunities to meet people and get a taste of oysters and barbecue.
More general information about the mainland where I live is available at this link to my Swansboro to Cape Carteret page where you will find some helpful area details that might make folks think you are a local.
Why we love it here?
It is hard to say that any place is perfect. However, for those who think a walk on the beach is better than a trip to the mall, the Crystal Coast is hard to beat.
For thoughts on where we have chosen to live, I would steer you to my articles, Ten ways Carteret County met our needs and Why I love living in Carteret County
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.
Reading those articles lets you spend a virtual day with me. You can feel for how easy it is to enjoy life along the White Oak River. Living in a small subdivision near Cape Carteret isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we have found it to be a great place for boating, relaxing, and learning to appreciate the world around us.
Our area is close to services and even closer to the beach but not on the beach. We have a dock behind the house, and there are some great trails nearby. I can ride my bike in the neighborhood and not face a lot of traffic. We’ve even found a great church home at Cape Carteret Presbyterian Church.
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
Crystal Coast Life Blog
Crystal Coast Blog 09
Crystal Coast Blog 08
Some archived articles