Studying a bay

I have long pondered sailing Winyah Bay to explore its waters, seen only from a distance by this sailor. In certain respects the conditions appeared favorable on this day in early June: low tide at 10:30 (at the landing on the Sampit River); an early west wind predicted to swing to southwest, our faithful sea breeze; and little chance of thunderstorms. Other pluses: the opportunity to use this Monday for the trip without other obligations, Kingfisher in decent shape, and a spare tire to go with the one-year-old trailer. A fine plan, though a fickle wind Continue reading

Memories of misery

[This dialogue between my friend Rand Schenck and me began at our Ocracoke campsite in May, and was further imagined. While I initiated this discussion, Rand come up with the phrase “memories of misery”.]

 

Bob: We barely avoided the possibility of setting up our tent in the downpour of Tropical Storm Ana by one day. The Outer Banks reminds me of several trips  Continue reading

An epic sail

Often the transformation of dreams into reality is the basis for true personal fulfillment and actualization. Having been a sailor from an early age, and living and sailing along the coast of North Carolina for four years, I developed a dream. Continue reading

Ocracoke dream

[Author’s note: “Ocracoke Dream” originally was published in “the Island Breeze”, a monthly newspaper for Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands, in the fall of 1995.]

Occasionally we have the opportunity and privilege to experience life in an enhanced state. This natural state occurs through various means, including the perception of beauty, the connection with nature, the closeness with others, and the rush of adventure. Rarely does the experience Continue reading

Spring moment

The island was full of spring: new growth, pine pollen gushing off the trees in clouds, banks of jessamine brightening the forest roads. For a brief island visit, one moment trumped all: a crack off in the forest wetland, a splash and lively swim by a suspected alligator, rushing along with head held above the duck weed covered water. But alligators don’t climb trees, and the black body was of a fox-tail squirrel. That was not a comfortable environment for the large squirrel, probably climbing on a branch that broke under its weight, and tumbling into the cold waters populated by numerous alligators. It was a drama observed in the company of a couple and their three children – we shared the moment’s excitement.

Beneath the surface

History holds court at Hampton Plantation, one of the many outposts of the Rice Kingdom. A colonial era Big House with tours, fine grounds and gardens, historic visits by famous Americans (George Washington, Francis Marion), famous residents Eliza Lucas Pinckney and Archibald Rutledge (the first SC poet laureate) – all these elements and more Continue reading

Highlights

I requested a brief report from my friend Will Christenson on his two day bird survey with David McLean and Kathy Greider on Bull Island. It just so happened that their planned survey of the island coincided with the coldest weather of this winter – an Arctic blast that had lows in the teens and highs in the low thirties. (I described their survey as “valiant” – he used the word “idiot”). I was interested in highlights Continue reading

Fortune

All elements had marched together toward this Saturday morning. Outgoing tide low at 11, NE wind 10 knots, and the day warming up to sixty degrees. After a week of days not getting much warmer than the low forties, and an absence of sun until Friday, this day boded well. Despite the cold start still below forty, I arrived at the landing sometime after 7, looking to latch Continue reading