I lived in Canada for sixteen years. I moved to Canada because I fell in love with its beauty, wildness, and the feeling that I had gone back an era.
Those days were some of the most memorable times in my life. I made great friends and loved living in the north country except on particularly American holidays like Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July.
Eventually all the snow, the cold, and distance from home began to wear on me, but still our time in Canada was a magical one.
That I went to Canada in search of wildness is a tribute to youth and not fully appreciating what was right on my doorstep. Having grown up in North Carolina, I was no stranger to the state's beaches.
I even have a cherished photograph of me on the Point at Emerald Isle in the late sixties. Little did I know then that over forty years later I would rediscover a treasured place and find all the wildness that I need just a few miles from my current home on the White Oak River.
A few years before we moved back to the United States, we came back home to North Carolina and took the kids for a beach vacation. On our drive from Mount Airy, NC to the Northern Outer Banks, we stopped for lunch in Tarboro, NC. It was so hot when we got out of the car that the asphalt in the parking lot was sticky.
Glenda, my wife, casually said to me as we were walking to the restaurant that she was warm all the way to her core. I got a chuckle out of it then and when she said it later on a trip to Kure Beach with her parents. Today it makes me reflect on how different life by the water is in North Carolina and Canada.
During our Canadian years we had three homes, our two Nova Scotia homes were both in the sight of the water. We had brooks coming out of every hollow on Tay Creek farm. I used to love to pitch my blue mountain tent down by the shore of the Bay of Fundy. I can still remember the salty taste of a steak grilled over driftwood.
In Canada we lived by the water, here on North Carolina's Crystal Coast, we live on or in the water. It is a fundamental difference. I still remember being surprised that my young Labrador retriever puppies loved taking a dip in the Bay of Fundy even when the water temperatures were in the forties. Unfortunately even in the summer the water rarely got to sixty degrees Fahrenheit.
If you spend much time on the water in a small boat, you quickly learn that your air temperature is pretty much whatever the water temperature happens to be. In the winter when I take a ride down the White Oak River on a seventy degree day, I still have to bundle up if the water temperature is below sixty.
Conversely in the fall when the air is cool and the water is still warm, it is a real treat to be on the water and enjoy its warmth. While the water in Canada is beautiful to behold, the water here on North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks invites you to get wet.
July of 2012 has proven to be stubbornly warm along the most of the east coast of the United States. North Carolina is certainly no exception. Even along the coast it has been very warm. At our home just three miles up the White Oak River from the Intracoastal Waterway, we have seen plenty of temperatures in the low to mid-nineties.
It is the South, and we do expect warm temperatures in July and August. We are seeing them, and they have warmed the area waters. I watched the area fireworks from our skiff on the evening of July 4th. My GPS/depth finder showed that our water temperature in the river at 9 PM was over 86F. The surf over at the beaches in the low eighties.
Surprisingly eighty plus degrees out on the water at night in a stiff breeze is pretty comfortable. In fact it is a lot more comfortable than sixty degrees in the wind.
When it does get hot here on the coast, we head for the water. On July six just before noon when the temperature was around ninety, I went kayaking. There was a great breeze out on the water. With my kayak parked in the marsh grass I could have stayed there for hours if other things weren't calling me.
On July 5, I left for a beach hike around 4 PM. It was close to ninety when I left home. When I arrived at the beach the temperature was 86F. There was also a good ocean breeze. My hike of 4.5 miles in those conditions left me wishing that I had more daylight left so I could hike even further. That day I took these pictures.
If you view the album you will see a surprising lack of people (short YouTube video panorama) for a popular beach on the day after July 4th. This time of the year once you get out beyond the yellow house that marks the last line of homes along Inlet Drive and Bogue Court, you will find lots of sand but few people.
There is plenty of beach for people to spread out on closer to the beach access points. The beach beyond the yellow house is almost like a park. It is waiting for those of us willing to walk a little.
Not surprisingly to those of us who live here on North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks, much of the area we call the Crystal Coast has special places like the Point or nearby Hammocks Beach where you can find all the solitude that you want.
It is amazing that we can have all the modern conveniences of the world, almost no traffic, and scenic beauty rivaled only by a few places in the world in our coastal paradise.
From my days in Canada, I remember how Canadians used to flock to Old Orchard Beach in Maine or the beautiful shores of Prince Edward Island. They are wonderful places, but they aren't places where the water invites you to get wet from May through November most years.
If this makes any Canadians or even land bound Americans yearn for a trip to our area, consider buying my book, "A Week at the Beach, An Emerald Isle Travel Guide." You won't regret visiting this area where you can explore the unknown without going very far.