It’s January on the North Carolina coast. We’ve just been through a magnificent few weeks of weather and a very special mid-January weekend.
It has been warm and wonderful for a long time. Now we are headed into some cool weather, but folks not far to the west of us are getting snow.
Tonight, January 17, 2013, I have seen reports of 9 inches of snow in Pulaski, Virginia and 5 inches of the white stuff in Chapel Hill. The storm came quickly and seems to have caught most folks almost by surprise. I'll happily take our cooler weather if the snow will stay away.
It is the time of the year to stand on the dock and dream. There are days like last Thursday, January 10, that you can sneak out on the river and have a nice ride. I made it down to Swansboro harbor and back with just a t-shirt. Considering that I was skimming along the water at 30 mph, it is safe guess that we had a very warm day.
Most of us are expecting to pay for our warm weather. It seems to work out that way. It you get a warm December, January might be cooler. If February is warm, it will take March longer to warm up. We take what we get with the weather, but we can dream and that is what we do when we stand on the dock in January.
I think of those mornings in July when I gulp down a cup of coffee and head down the river to the marshes on the other side of the Intracoastal Waterway from Swansboro Harbor. If the currents, tide, and winds are right, there is place there that I can drift fish a few minutes in my skiff and let the cares of the world float away.
I have caught bluefish, trout, and a variety of other fish there. At the same the fish aren’t the main reason that I head to the marshes that early in the morning. I go there because it is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The marshes stretch all the way over to Hammocks Beach State park. This is a YouTube video of the marshes. A map of the area can be found here.
I usually don’t stay long. Then I’ll take the channel down to Cedar Point and run back south on the Intracoastal to Swansboro where I’ll head back up the White Oak River to our home in Bluewater Cove. The channel up the White Oak has some zigs and zags but it is well marked.
Usually I am back home in less than an hour. Sometimes my wife hasn’t even made it to the kitchen for her first cup of coffee. For me it is a great way to start a summer morning.
The pleasure of being out on the water that early in the morning is something that sticks with you. The memories help me get through the winter. All I have to do is step on the dock and the pictures of summer mornings stream into my mind. I can smell the water and feel the heat. It is all part of life here on the Southern Outer Banks.
It is a good thing to have something to look forward to when you know there are some cool days ahead. I can hardly wait to stand on the dock tomorrow morning.