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:(