Sooo here's the thing...When I plan an adventure I always research where to launch, the weather, and the tides. I always have a PFD, a light, a sound making device, an emergency blanket, a GPS, and even a waterproof VHF radio if things ever get really wild (it even floats!). However, if my crew doesn't really have anywhere to be or ocean tides to race, I don't always plan where we're actually paddling for the day. If you paddle for fun like this, it's always a good idea to head against the weather first (or else you'll usually paddle far to start and then fight the wind and tide on your return). Most times I get unlucky and somehow end up paddling against the wind both ways - sigh.
Our paddle to Jones Island was definitely a random discovery. We basically stumbled upon the small island. It sits near the the ocean, the ICW, and the town of Swansboro, NC. It's located in the mouth of the White Oak River (stay tuned for our next blog post on paddling this river from our house all the way to the ocean!).
We shoved off from the boat ramp in the nearbyCedar Point Recreation Area. The wind and current were light so we made it to Jones Island rather quickly, a leisurely 30-40 mins or so. We circled to the upriver section of the island and found a nice beach near a wooden boat dock. At this point we still weren't exactly sure where we were...maybe we'd found a secret spice trade route to India!!!
Luckily there is a Hammock Beach State Park sign just up from the beach as you step onto the island. It turns out Jones island is a part of the nearby park. We walked around and explored the old cabins.
The grounds were great but we were quickly scared off by a local tribe of no less than a hundred mosquitos! Run! Back to the ship!!! Abort island exploration!
After our quick departure we ended up circling the island and eventually heading back to our launch ramp at Cedar Point. It's important to note that Jones Island is also really close to Bicentennial Park in Swansboro - it would be an even quicker paddle from the kayak launch there. Be careful: the water can get pretty shallow in these parts and also watch out for the protected oyster beds around certain parts of the island.
All and all, the trip turned out like we actually planned the thing. Next time we'll bring bug spray:)
~Paul, Amber, Eleanor
P.S. No sign of Blackbeard's treasure here:(
If you're looking for a nice spring hike, look no further than Goose Creek State Park. It's located along the Pamlico Sound near Washington, North Carolina - or 'Little Washington' as the locals call it. The park has ample parking, a nice visitor's/education center, and 8 miles of trails through forest, over boardwalks, and out to the beach.
Near the park's small campground is a boat ramp and small wooden fishing pier. Paddlers who are overnight camping may use this to launch a kayak or canoe but non-campers should use the dedicated launch across Goose Creek. This launch on the other side of water is called Dinah's Landing, it's not really accessible from the parking here - you'd have to drive around (click here for a more detailed map).
So, head over to Goose Creek for a quick hike, a paddle, or to camp. We'll be heading to nearby Dinah's Landing to launch when that water gets just a bit warmer;)
~Paul & Amber ETC
Come celebrate the freezing and/or hibernation of Eastern North Carolina's mass mosquito mob! This week on ETC we're highlighting a few local hiking trails on the water. With the bugs away we head to Emerald Isle - a stretch of sandy beach along the NC Atlantic coast east of New Bern and Jacksonville.
Emerald Isle is our local beach. While it's mostly residential with large beach house rentals, there are a few public areas like this one to hike and launch a kayak. Emerald Isle Woods park is close to the bridge onto Emerald Isle and has plenty of parking near the entrance (and some further in). Several short trails crisscross the woods, many leading to a small fishing pier and kayak launch.
The kayak launch sits in view of the mainland bridge and offers great paddling in the Bogue Sound. It's a little bit of a walk from the parking lot to the kayak launch and you may want to pull closer to drop off your gear before you park. We are thankful to have our Innova kayaks when we launch from this site - they're easy to carry in a pack to and from the car.
Emerald Isle Woods is a great place to launch paddling trips heading towards Bear Island and the end of Emerald Isle, along with trips to Swansboro. Currents and wind will have a huge impact on paddling from this spot, as the Bogue Inlet is right around the corner, bringing water from the ocean in and out of the Bogue Sound. Also, the amount of gear you have could be a challenge as the kayak launch isn't right next to the parking lot. That said, the floating kayak launch with rollers (pictured above) is the best and the park is very accessible when you arrive on the island and need a quick hike or paddle.
~Paul & Amber ETC