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)

FISHY, FISHY, FISHY

Alice - Shrimp Boat

(Photo courtesy Alice Paul Gray)

This time of year in Brunswick County, NC you will see wooden shrimp boats, a dying breed, plying the waters of the Atlantic, reapers lowered, trailing an entourage of seagulls like so may white kites. The shrimping is great and so is the fishing. Surf fishermen abound along the shores of all of the South Brunswick Beaches, sitting or standing in the sun, their lines in the water, the soft breezes blowing. They also line the fishing piers including the City Pier in Southport, NC where you can fish the confluence of the Cape Fear River and the Intracoastal Waterway mixed with a bit of the Atlantic Ocean. On Oak Island, NC, you will find two piers from which to choose: Oak Island Pier and Ocean Crest Pier. Each of the three southernmost beaches has it’s own fishing pier: Holden Beach PierOcean Isle Pier and  Sunset Beach Pier.

There is nothing like fish fresh from the ocean and if you are lucky enough to own you own boat and be your own captain, you likely have a favorite water access and your favorite fishing spot. If you don’t own a boat, there are many head boats and charter boats available to take you out to their special spots. You can find a few here: Head Boats and Charters.

Then there are the fishing tournaments which run through the fall on the Brunswick County, NC coast where fish are still plentiful. Beginning this Friday you can participate in the Sudan Daredevils Shallotte Point Flounder Tournament in Shallotte, NC. On Wednesday, June 15, the Jolly Mon King Classic will start and will run through Sunday, June 19. There are no excuses – the fish are there – catch ’em!

OUTSIDE FUN

 

The weather has been extremely fickle recently and here is March – the most fickle month of the year. But I do believe we are finished with the days of extreme cold and are headed for weather suitable to spending time outdoors. I am well aware that many of today’s kids are absorbed with electronic devices, however, it really is good for them (and for us) to get them interested in enjoying the outdoors. There are so many opportunities for this in Brunswick County, NC. The first thought that comes to mind is the ocean. It is always there faithfully providing so many opportunities for enjoyment. In fact, Brunswick County, NC is filled with bodies of water in the form of lakes and rivers and streams as well as the Intracoastal Waterway. Opportunities abound for swimming, fishing, cast netting, boating, sailing, water skiing, surfing, kayaking and more.

There are wonderful parks all over the county. Some of these provide opportunities for watersports and most of them offer walking trails, hiking, horseback riding, exploring nature, having picnics, sports fields and more fun.

There are many team sports available for kids as well. These are provided by the Brunswick County Parks and Recreation Department and include football and baseball as well as tennis lessons. Team sports are also offered by individual town recreation departments. Do you have an avid swimmer in the family? Check out the Marlin’s Swim Team. Do you have a child interested in golf? Why not contact First Tee of Brunswick County?  There is so much to enjoy outdoors – get outside!

 

 

 

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/)

WHAT’S HAPPENING

Many years ago T. S. Eliot wrote: “April is the cruellest month” in his poem The Waste Land. He was not referring to income tax time, but for those of us who are required to pay into the IRS, he may as well have been. Luckily we live in Brunswick County, NC where there are so many interesting places and events available to us that can take our minds off of our tax troubles. Many of these events are free and those that are not usually serve worthy causes that benefit all of us. The water offers so much, be it the ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway, the Cape Fear River, the lakes – it is all there for us to enjoy and we are blessed with the kind of weather that allows us to enjoy these things. We can walk on the beach, sit by the water and meditate, fish, go sailing, ride a ferry, swim, take out a kayak, sunbathe – whatever helps us be happy. We are also lucky in the events that are available to us to enjoy. They are as varied as the ways there are to enjoy water. Here are a few that are coming up this month.

You can take the kids or the grands to the Kids’ Art Day in Franklin Square Park:

(http://southport.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/april/kids-art-day/profile/)

You can dress up (or not) and dance the night away at the Black-Tie-Optional-Gala in Southport, NC:

(http://southport.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/april/black-tie-optional-gala/profile/)

You can test your endurance in the Oak Island Lighthouse 1/2 Marathon 10K/5K Run/Walk:

(http://southport.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/april/oak-island-lighthouse-1-2-marathon-10k-5k-run-walk/profile/)

THANKFULNESS

There are many words that describe thankfulness, many ways to show thankfulness, and many things to be thankful for – especially in the NC Brunswick Islands. Water is everywhere here. From the Atlantic Ocean to the Cape Fear River to the Intracoastal Waterway to the many lakes – it surrounds us. It contributes to the saline scent of the maritime environment – something we miss when we travel. It provides venues for entertainment including; sailing, surfing, swimming, paddle boarding, boating, canoeing and fishing. It’s a virtual playground. It’s also exceedingly beautiful to contemplate. The towns are bird sanctuaries. We can hear the birds singing as well as the breezes singing through the trees – even with our windows closed – instead of the sound of traffic roaring past. The climate allows us to spend an inordinate amount of time outdoors walking, biking, hiking, running, on the water, by the water, on the beach, in a hammock. Even when the temperature dips, there is always the wonderful sunshine. What’s more, our towns, the county, the state have had the foresight to set aside large amounts of natural spaces for our enjoyment. Parks abound in Brunswick County, NC. Whether they are small, with a few trees and a bench or two, or hundreds of acres, they are here for our enjoyment. Here are a few for you to explore – and while you are at it, remember to be thankful for the air you breathe; for the fact that you woke up this morning; for your legs that allow you to walk; for your eyes that allow you to take in the beauty around you; for your lungs that allow you to breathe; for smiles and hugs and even for setbacks that eventually lead you to better things.

Brunswick Nature Park (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/sports-fitness-parks/parks/brunswick-nature-park/profile/)

Waccamaw Park (http://oceanislebeach.insiderinfo.us/sports-fitness-parks/parks/waccamaw-park/profile/)

Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve (http://leland.insiderinfo.us/sports-fitness-parks/parks/ev-henwood-nature-preserve/profile/)

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly…..

…and the Old Sunset Beach Bridge, too!

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From 1958 until the construction of a high rise bridge in 2011, a one lane wooden slat pontoon bridge, opened and closed by way of hinges and cables operated by winches, served as the only route to and from the Island of Sunset Beach, NC. The bridge had several incarnations as repair work required that it be removed from the water on several occasions leaving crossing by boat the only way of crossing the waterway. In the 1980s discussions began concerning the building of a new high rise bridge. Some home owners objected because they liked the easy pace of living required by the very nature of the bridge and the sound of the horn announcing the opening and closing of the bridge to boat traffic on the Intracoastal Waterway. Some thought a new bridge would lead to more development. Others were concerned about environmental damage. Eventually, progress won out and the new bridge was finished in 2011. Residents were concerned about what would happen to the old pontoon bridge and formed the Old Bridge Preservation Society. This group, with the help of Ronnie and Clarice Holden who donated the land, arranged for the old bridge to be relocated to a lovely spot under the live oak trees. The bridge that sat so many years in the brackish water, now rests on a shady spot of land.

So what does all of this have to do with a Christmas Carol?  The Old Bridge Preservation Society holds events at the bridge throughout the year for fun and fund raising. The next event upcoming is: 

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