Crystal Coast

Strange Stuff Falling Out of the Sky


I awoke on August 14 to something that I haven't seen in a long time, a puddle at the end of the driveway.  Not only did we have a puddle, we also had a trickle of water coming through our culvert.

Since May 7, our total rainfall here along the banks of the White Oak River has been somewhere around three inches.  Three inches of rain over three plus months is not much in an area that averages over an inch per week during many summers.

This morning our rain gauge had six tenths of an inch in it.  That is hard to comprehend.  It has been a long time since a single storm delivered that much.

That much liquid which I think might be called rain has already caused me to do some things which I haven't done in a while.

First I pulled the plug on boat to let the collected water drain out of it.  Our previous brushes with precipitation have been so minor that they have hardly got the bilge pump warmed up.

I even had to take my bucket of emergency gear out of the boat and drain it.
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Morning on the River


It is August in North Carolina.  We're in the eastern part of the state,  It is the time of year that it never cools down at night.  On top of that, the water in the ocean has warmed close to shore, and the water in the river is just warm everywhere. There has been little rain since early May.

August is a time of year when you have to plan your activities and work around the daytime heat.  This is the month when I do outside things at certain times of the day.  I rarely deviate from my daily schedule because to do so means  you can be cooked alive.

We are in the heart of summer's heat. It is a moment on the calendar when we just get by and plan for times when it will be nicer outside. This has been an unusually hot summer following a very cold winter.  Normally it is rare for the parts of Carteret County near the water to see many high temperatures over 91-93 degrees.
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We get lucky on the heat


The last few days have been brutally hot along most of the east coast.  Here on the coast near Emerald Isle managed to get through the heat wave with lower temperatures than most areas.

At a little after 3:30 PM on July 22, our temperature sensor hit 91.7 degrees Fahrenheit.  Considering that Washington, DC and the home of my college roommate along the New Jersey coast were both over 100 degrees Fahrenheit at that exact time, I am pretty happy with what we had to endure.

While this weather is hot, we have managed to have a strong breeze off the water for the last few days. Though it is hard to conceive, water at 83 degrees Fahrenheit produces a cooling breeze when interior temperatures are at over one hundred degrees.

On July 21, I went for a walk over at the Point at Emerald Isle. It was about 11:30 AM when I pulled into the Station Street Parking lot just off Coast Guard Road.  I got one of the last three parking places.
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Little Escape from the Heat


You know when you wake up in the morning and moisture is running down the outsides of your windows that the day is going to be a humid one.

After a first cup of coffee, I decide to check the temperature on our front deck which is in the shadows most of the morning. I find the window thermometer already registering 80F at 6:50 AM.

When I walk outside twenty minutes later, the warm air surrounds me.  There is no breeze, skipping my morning walk around the docks doesn't take a lot of thought.

The change from July 12 when we sat outside in the driveway just as dusk found is striking.  That night the eighty degrees with a nice sea breeze and less humidity felt like a great beach night.

This morning I am glad that I mowed the yard earlier in the week and soaked all the plants yesterday morning.  My wife comes in from taking a couple of letters to the mailbox at 10:30 and pronounces her trip outside like a trip to a sauna.
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The Zig and Zag of the White Oak River


An updated version of this post can be found at this link.

Living on one of North Carolina's coastal rivers is a true pleasure, and I have written about it before including this post, How to Enjoy a Coastal River.

I am reminded of how wonderful the river is each morning when I look out towards it from our dock behind our home. Part of my morning routine is to check the tide level on one of the dock pilings and survey the water surface.

Then I try to gauge the winds out on the river.  If it is really windy out on the river, it is pretty easy to catch from the visible whitecaps.  However, it can be very calm in our inlet, look calm on the river and still  be pretty windy on the river once you are out there.  About the only way to really know how windy it is on the river is to get in the boat and head out to the river.  read more »

Finally some rain on the Crystal Coast


When I wrote the post, "Even at the coast, some rain must fall," on May 7, 2011, I had no idea that the rain I was describing would be the last significant rain we would see for almost six weeks.

That turned out to be the case. After the one quarter of inch of rain that we got on May 7, we did not see any measurable rain until early the morning of June 20 when we got at least six tenths of an inch of precipitation.

Fortunately we have been able to water our yards and gardens.  Farmers in the area haven't been that lucky.  Unless we get additional rain in the next few days, I suspect the area's field corn crop will be a complete loss.  It may already be damaged beyond repair at this point.

Some of our local vegetables are from irrigated fields so we are lucky in that respect.  However, there are a lot of area produce fields that are not irrigated so we need more rain if those fields are to bear fruit this year.
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Quiet in the Cove this Morning


We are having absolutely great weather as long as you aren't a farmer trying to grow crops or a homeowner trying to keep a yard alive.

There is no place more stunning and enjoyable than the Crystal Coast when the skies are blue, the water warm, and the sea breezes light.

Sunday morning as I walked around the boardwalk, the only noise came from birds hiding in the pine trees.  They were concealed as I got no chances for pictures of significance.

The birds were there, but their backs seemed to be turned to me.  Eventually as I reached the center of the boardwalk in Bluewater Cove,  my thoughts turned to Friday of the first week of June.

Early Friday morning, a friend and I headed off on a fishing trip.  We typically manage to fish together about once a year, but we missed last year.  His memories of the two nice redfish we caught on our last trip together were still fresh even though it was early in the summer of 2009.
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