SUNFISH, FOUNDERS’ DAY & 9/11

(Image courtesy of boatrentik.net)

Keep your eyes peeled for the most colorful race of the year as the entrants in the Around Oak Island Sunfish Race make their circle of Oak Island, NC tomorrow, September 10. The race begins in the Southport Yacht Basin and the boats will be visible from the Oak Island beach as well as along the Intracoastal Waterway and from the old Oak Island Bridge depending on what time of day you are looking.

Leland, NC will hold their annual Founders’ Day Celebration tomorrow as well. Check it out for lots of free fun, entertainment, food and fireworks!

Sunday, September 11, will mark the 15th anniversary of the devastating events that occurred on that unforgettable date. Anyone who was not a small child at the time cannot help but remember the date. There will be some commemorative events held by towns, by VFWs and, I am certain, in churches throughout Brunswick County. NC. Even if you do not take part in an organized event, you can certainly take a few moments to think, to pray, to send peace and hope into the universe, and to remember those who suffered personally on this historic date.

(Image courtesy 911memorial.org)

GRATITUDE

This morning I sat propped up in bed drinking my hot cup of tea and watched the moon set over the marsh. Read that sentence again. There is so much more in it for which to be grateful than the words say. Tomorrow is the day we celebrate the tradition of thankfulness. I think it is a good tradition, whether it is based on truth or myth. It is a yearly reminder to us to share our lives, ourselves and everything we possess with friends, family and other sentient beings every day. However, I am not a preacher and this is not a sermon – just food for thought. I wish you all a lovely Thanksgiving day and share with you some ideas for an enjoyable weekend.

Speaking of being thankful, you are invited to join the Southport Beautification Committee on Friday at 6 PM for a thankful celebration of support for the Bring Back Our Boats Christmas Wreath Project. The gathering will begin at the tree lighting at BB&T and a party will follow at the Southport Community Building in Southport, NC where you can enjoy treats, food and beverages.

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Skip Black Friday and go instead to the Smith Island Art League’s Thanksgiving Art Show held at the Bald Head Island Association Center on Bald Head Island, NC. The show will be held Friday and Saturday from 10 AM until 5 PM.

In Brunswick County, NC we like to hold our Christmas parades on land and on sea. The first flotilla of the holiday season, the Ocean Isle Beach Flotilla, is coming up on Saturday night at Shallotte Point beginning in front of the Inlet View Bar & Grill and ending in front of Sharky’s Restaurant in Ocean Isle Beach, NC.

THE SPRING SAILING MIGRATION

Image from rudd.com (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/vacation-home-rental/oak-island/margaret-rudd-and-associates-inc-realtors/profile/)

Just as the birds migrate in the spring and the fall, so many people do the same thing – and often by boat. The Intracoastal Waterway stretches along the eastern coast of the US and offers them a much safer transport than the Atlantic Ocean. The intracoastal Waterway is what separates Oak Island and the other South Brunswick Islands from the mainland of NC. Those of us who live here are witness to these seasonal migrations along with that of the birds. I moved to Oak island more than 24 years ago and was so taken by the sight that I wrote a poem about it:

THE AWAKENING

Spring comes to the island,
not in the shape of green crocus spears
thrusting their tips through frozen ground and snow,
bursting with the energy of new life,
anxious to claim the spring.

Spring comes to the island,
not in the shape of daffodils
uncurling their golden trumpets,
playing a fanfare of beauty to usher in the season.

Spring comes to the island,
not in the shape of a robin,
it’s red waistcoat bursting with pride,
gathering twigs to build a new home
to feather its season of love and new life.

Spring comes to the island
in the color of white
shining in the sunlight,
in the shape of sails,
billowing in the March wind,
carrying the boats through the waterway
like their great white wings
carry the ibis out to sea.

Most travelers of the Intracoastal Waterway do not sail the distance without leaving their boats. Many make a road trip (or water trip) out of it and stop at interesting places along the way – sometimes staying overnight or longer. These folks take advantage of the available marinas scattered along the route. Southport has its share of these marinas. Here are a few for you to consider:

Deep Point Marina ( http://southport.insiderinfo.us/marina-boat-sales-service/marina/deep-point-marina/profile/)

South Harbour Village Marina (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/marina-boat-sales-service/marina/south-harbour-village-marina/profile/)

Southport Marina (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/marina-boat-sales-service/marina/southport-marina/profile/)

KIDS, DOGS & BOATS

(Image from LindyLonghurst on Etsy.com)

Today, March 21, 2015, is a perfect day to go to the dogs. Dogs have become so much a part of our lives that to many they are like children and some people even have granddogs. There are dog salons for grooming, cutting and polishing nails, and dressing up with a pretty scarf. But don’t forget to attend to your dog’s health. You can participate in a free rabies clinic today by taking your best friend to Bark at the Park in Leland, NC where all kinds of dog services are available and your dog can visit with other dogs there. The proceeds will benefit dogs who are not as lucky as yours – those who live in animal shelters. (http://leland.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/march/a-bark-in-the-park/profile/)

To many folks in the Southport, NC area, their boats are almost like family. You can see almost any kind of boat you can think of passing through the waters there. There are shrimp boats, a dying breed, and sailboats, jon boats, fishing boats, ferries, kayaks, even container ships. Tomorrow, March 22, 2015, you can see nearly all of these kinds of boats gathered together for the annual Blessing of the Fleet — and what better day than on a Sunday.
(http://southport.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/march/blessing-of-the-fleet/profile/)

It is difficult to realize that March is nearly over and Easter will soon be upon us. There are many traditions connected with Easter from fancy hats to special foods, from religious observances to social activities. One activity for children that has survived for many generations is the Easter Egg Hunt. On Saturday, March 28, 2015, the children of the Southport, NC area can participate in this tradition once again in historic Franklin Square Park in downtown Southport. Take your kids and grandkids for a fun time provided by the City of Southport, NC.
(http://southport.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/march/southport-parks-and-recreation-easter-egg-hunt/profile/)

EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE!

Christmas means many things to many people and the diversity of celebrations is what brings us together. The significance of the holiday, itself, is new hope for each of us and for the whole world. We celebrate giving – the giving of gifts – the giving of the gift of ourselves. We share food and love and family and memories – some of them joyful – some of them sad – and yet they all bring us closer. Most of us, especially those of us with children, enjoy tree lightings and almost every community stages a parade. A parade means music and fun and in the NC Brunswick Islands, it also means golf carts and, sometimes, boats. Here are just a few of the parades you might want to attend – after all – they are held on different dates or at different times, so why not fill your days with fun and attend all of them?

Oak Island, December 6, 2 PM – Christmas by the Sea Parade: (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/december/christmas-by-the-sea-parade/profile/)

Calabash, December 5, 6 PM – Calabash Tree Lighting & Spirit of Calabash Parade (http://oceanislebeach.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/december/calabash-tree-lighting-and-golf-cart-parade/profile/)

Southport, December 13, 7 PM – Christmas Flotilla: (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/december/southport-winterfest-christmas-flotilla/profile/)

It’s Flotilla time!

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The Christmas season is the season of lights. You see them everywhere – on houses – strung across the streets of towns – in the windows – even wrapped around trees. Those of us who live near water, and particulary in the warmer climates, are lucky to have our own sort of lighted Christmas parades in the form of flotillas. If you have never been to a flotilla I recommend it highly. Yes, it is a parade on the water, however, it always takes place at night – in cold weather – in warm weather – not likely to be rained out – but it can be fogged out like it was in Southport, NC last year. There is something very special about viewing a flotilla – about the boats slipping across the water in the night with lights gleaming from stem to stern and up and down the masts. There may be music, though it is often muted and you can hear the music of the water lapping against the shore.

If you have a chance to see a flotilla this year – don’t miss it. There are two in Brunswick County. The first is on Saturday, November 30 in Ocean Isle Beach and it takes place in the Intracoastal Waterway where it starts at the Inlet View Bar and Grill at 5 PM and ends at Sharky’s Restaurant. You can also attend the party there with music beginning at 9 PM after the flotilla each year.

The second flotilla, the Southport Christmas Flotilla, begins at 7 PM and can be viewed from Waterfront Park in Southport, NC on December 14. This flotilla starts and ends in the Old Yacht Basin. The creative winners of this flotilla are judged by Southport Elementary School art students. Flotillas are family friendly activities, so bring the kids with you for a lovely family event. In fact, make it a tradition.

Wooden Boats

Don’t miss the Southport Wooden Boat Show on Saturday, September 28. I attended last year along with my daughter, son-in-law, eight year old granddaughter and 5,000 other people. It was a wonderful way to spend a lovely Fall day in Southport, NC. There was music in the air (provided by a live band) as well as the smell of seafood chowder from the Seafood Chowder Cook-off . An eclectic display of wooden boats lined the yacht basin and nearby streets. There were nautical crafts for sale like hand hewn wood mermaids, ships in bottles and floor mats and other goods made with nautical ropes. We had the opportunity to watch a wooden boat being built by boat building father and son, John and Sean Holscher. The Southport Maritime Museum provided a pirate boat building kit to kids (complete with the required plank for walking) along with help in building it and an ‘ocean’ in which to float it. The Fort Fisher Aquarium manned a tent with an extensive array of sea shells and  docents to name and explain them.

The boats at this show will be some of the most beautiful wooden boatsImage you have ever seen as they will be vying for the prizes that are awarded. You will see all kinds of boats from kayaks to sail boats and can vote for your favorite. This year’s seafood chowder cook-off tasting begins at 11 am and lasts until 2 pm so if you love chowder, here is your chance to have a variety of chowders for lunch for a fee of only $5.  ‘Out on the Ocean’ will provide music throughout the day. This group is famous for it’s  Celtic, Old Time, French Canadian, and Bluegrass music and will keep your feet tapping. Southport Wooden Boat Show 2013 posters and T-Shirts will be available in the Ship’s Store, located in the Old Yacht Basin. You will want to be sure to purchase one of these. Both feature a reproduction of a beautiful nautical painting by local watercolor artist, Roger Tatum, called ‘Catch of the Day’.