Never bet against Crystal Coast Warmth

Submitted by OcracokeWaves on Sat, 10/16/2010 - 11:30.
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It was only a day or two ago that I bought into the theory that summer was ending with the arrival of this weekend's cold front.

As we were sitting on the dock yesterday afternoon, I concluded that the weather was nearly perfect.  The temperature was in mid-seventies with a light breeze and the afternoon sun was over our shoulders providing some extra warm.

With blue sky reflected in the water and a white heron watching us closely, it was one of those fall afternoons that make the Southern Outer Banks such a wonderful place to live and visit.

We were talking with Brian, a fishing buddy and neighbor, who had given us a tow the hundred yard back to our lift after our boat motor stopped running the other evening as we were headed out for some sunset pictures.

My wife, who is easily classified as a reluctant boater, was immediately ready to abandon ship.  She had thoughts of us being swept out to sea, but that was only her imagination run wild.

It takes several twists and turns to make it out Raymond's Gut from Bluewater Cove, and then there is zigzag channel we use to navigate down the White Oak River around all the oyster beds.

A skiff left to wander with the tides likely would not even make it out to the river, and if it did, the very first oyster bar would likely catch it.

Brian, who knows boats almost as well as he does building homes, managed to find and fix the problem on our skiff.  It turned out that the ethanol fuel which I had used the first two summers before we could get ethanol-free fuel had made the fuel intake pipe brittle.  It ended up breaking off near the top of the tank.

While I was off in Morehead City doing a presentation on social network for the local board of Realtors®, Brian had unscrewed my center console and fished out the broken pipe.  We met at Boats Inc. in Morehead City so I could buy the parts, and we could ask them about preventing the problem from recurring.

Chris, the owner of Boats Inc., where I bought our Sundance Skiff three and one half years ago, explained to us that fuel is now similar to milk.  You don't want to keep it around a long time. He went on to say that adding good milk to bad milk does not make it better and that fuel is the same.  He explained having a full tank is not nearly as safe as just keeping about what you use in a day in a tank. 

Managing fuel that way is like relearning everything I know about fuel.  Having run a farm in Canada for a decade, I learned to keep fuel tanks full to prevent condensation inside the tanks from damaging costly diesel engines. With today's ethanol mixed fuel attracting moisture, we have some new challenges to face.

Right now I feel fortunate to have run four tanks of ethanol free fuel through my motor this summer.  After seeing what ethanol can do my plastic fuel pickup pipe, I am willing to pay more for ethanol free fuel.

But the complexities of all that were lost once I started the motor on the boat and cruised down the channel to turn it around.  I was back to a warm fall afternoon on the water.  It felt great.

My heron buddy had moved to his evening perch in a pine tree along the marsh where he could catch the last rays of sunshine.

After securing the boat on the lift, I sprayed a few wild onions in the front yard, and enjoyed a beautiful sunset through the pine trees on the other side of the cul de sac here in Bluewater Cove.

Then my thoughts turned to the fantastic Saturday weather that we have coming.  I will likely mow the yard, maybe catch a football game on TV, show a couple of properties, and hope for a walk on the beach and maybe a sunset boat ride depending on whether or not we get higher winds.

It looks like we have another couple of weeks of this weather on tap.  All of us fishermen are hoping for some great fall fishing as the water cool this weekend.  I will be watching for the armada of spot fishermen that normally gather under the bridge to Emerald Isle.

Life here on the Crystal Coast is pretty special in the fall.


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