There's a few local islands I stare at all of the time but haven't actually explored yet. One of those is Dudley Island, part of Eastern North Carolina's Hammocks Beach State Park (recently added). Now, I didn't actually know that this island was part of the park until after the trip, but none-the-less, I'm glad it is and it's being protected.
We left the Point at Emerald Isle and paddled across the Bogue Inlet to reach Dudley Island. A higher tide is preferred as there is a giant sandbar between Emerald and Dudley. If you launched from the Point like us it's best to paddle away from the ocean a little bit to avoid the confused seas caused by the Inlet. Moral of the story - you probably won't be able to paddle in a straight line from island to island.
Once we navigated our way across, we found a few nice beaches to land our kayaks. Strangely there is lot of mud on this side of the island so don't be surprised when your feet get sticky as you step ashore. Because there's more soil, there's interesting grass growing (pictured above) that gives this island a different feel than the surrounding ones. There is a good deal of beach to walk on (on the oceanside of the island). For a good part of the season the interior of the island is off limits due to nesting birds. There are posted signs with dates.
We played on the beach, took a few pics, and back we paddled! A nice trip with some expected navigational challenges crossing the Inlet. On our return we paddled back over to the Point and up near the Emerald Isle Coast Guard Station to duck the current and wind. This probably isn't a great trip if it's your first few times in a kayak, but if you feel comfortable and have a little experience it will be fun (if you plan ahead!). Also, parking is limited to a neighborhood park near the Point - it will be hard to find a space at busier times.
Paddle safe everyone!
~Paul, Amber, & Eleanor EVERYONESTRAVELCLUB.COM
Emerald Isle Woods
Emerald Isle Town Boat Launch
Cedar Point Tideland Trail & Boat Launch
Hammocks Beach State Park - Bear Island
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