December 31, 2008

Right Whale Birth off the Cape Fear Coast

Following the earlier story this month about the young Right Whale that washed up on the Outer Banks shoreline, it was nice to read about the other end of the cycle of life.

So it is with this happy 'baby new year' story that we close out this blog for 2008.

We hope you all have a very happy New Year and we look forward to sharing with you some of the many positive changes happening on Pleasure Island in 2009.

Wilmington Star
December 30, 2008

Researchers taking an aerial survey Tuesday morning saw two (Right) whales moving south about 10 miles east of Masonboro Inlet.

A review of the natural and unique skin growths on the whale’s face identified the larger of the pair as Calvin, a whale so named for her inquisitive nature before her sex was known.

But the other whale, a small gray animal that was too young to have developed any callosity pattern, had never been seen before.

“It was very clear this was a new, new animal,” said Ann Pabst, a marine biologist with the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

While it wasn’t exactly certain to determine where Calvin gave birth, it’s very likely it was somewhere near where she was spotted Tuesday.

“It’s definitely exciting that we have a brand new right whale on the surface of the planet,” Pabst said, alluding to the fact that only around 350 of the endangered marine mammals exist...

Read Complete Wilmington Star Article

Photo Credit. Story/additional photos of Right Whale giving birth off the GA/FL coast

December 23, 2008

Christmas Already?

If you are one of those people who haven't yet started Christmas shopping or have a few remaining gifts to purchase, check out Cinema Jane's "What to Buy Your Girlfriend" blog for some wonderful last minute ideas. She has some good suggestions and most of the items can be snagged at local stores. And of course, she has a few DVD ideas as well.

December 22, 2008

Island Greenway...Now it is Your Turn Kure Beach

Pedestrian path plan takes step ahead

Monday, December 22, 2008

CAROLINA BEACH – Plans for a pedestrian path that would connect the north end of Carolina Beach to the south end of Fort Fisher are one step closer to becoming reality.

Earlier this month, the Carolina Beach Town Council approved the Pleasure Island Greenway Committee's proposal...

However, Kirkbride said the residents and town council's approval was just phase one. Phase two will consist of getting support from the Kure Beach Town Council and the other government entities that own pieces of land which the path runs through.

The Greenway Committee is also looking into extending the pedestrian path over the bridge so that it is accessible to both people on the island and in Wilmington.

Full Story and Video

So to the Kure Beach Town Council, please step up to the plate and help keep this wonderful Island initiative moving forward. The time is now and we need your help.

No frowns in 2009 please!

Bike Photo Credit
Frown Photo Credit

December 20, 2008

Surf's Up

OK, so maybe this picture isn't from the North End of Carolina Beach. But when you run across a picture like this, you just gotta run with it. To see more pictures and read the story about Kerby Brown surfing this 41 foot wave off the waters of Western Australia, click here.

Closer to home, you can keep tabs on the surfing conditions here on Pleasure Island by clicking on the following links (they are also listed on the lower right sidebar):

December 18, 2008

Carolina Beach Hilton Garden Inn Update

Carolina Beach Hilton Garden Inn
With all the permits, approvals and regulatory requirements satisfied, construction on the Hilton Garden Inn is finally able to proceed.

When they completed their underground infrastructure in late Summer 2008, one may have assumed they would roll into the construction phase. Unfortunately, the developer faced some last minute hurdles and the project was delayed.

But after months of delays, everything has fallen in line and we may soon see cranes in our vista. The developer, Russ Maynard, has stated that the project would take between 18 to 21 months to complete. Assuming that they may want to tap into the 2010 tourist season, we may see the start of construction in the coming weeks.

So thank you to Mr. Maynard for believing in our town and for continuing to back this project. This hotel, which will bookend the boardwalk along with the Courtyard Marriott, will have long term positive effects on our local economy.

(click pic to enlarge)Carolina Beach Marriott and Hilton Garden Inn
Update on the Right Whale story, unfortunately, the whale did not survive.

December 16, 2008

Right Whale Beached in Outer Banks

AVON, N.C. - Rescuers are trying to save a stranded Northern Right Whale calf that washed up on the beach in Avon, North Carolina Tuesday.

Right Whales are the most critically endangered whales. Only about 350 to 400 exist.

Because the whale is so rare, federal officials are on the scene working with members of the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team.

December 13, 2008

Gnarled and Twisted Trees

Here is a blogger's wonderful description of Fort Fisher. After reading her post, I felt compelled to go for a morning visit. It truly is a wonderful place to just wander about.

December 10, 2008

Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride Through Pleasure Island, NC

Here's a great first hand account of the Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride Carolina Challenge detailing stops throughout the area. He has posted some wonderful pictures as well.

...On to Carolina Beach where we stayed at the Golden Sands Hotel right on the ocean. It was about 60 degrees and some of the group went SWIMMING!! Dinner at the Golden Corral in Monkey Junction capped off this day.

The next morning began with breakfast at the Ocean Grill, followed by a ceremony at Lake Front Park.

Students from Lake Park Elementary cheered us on. Six miles to the Ft. Fisher Ferry where we crossed to Southport....

Read the full post and check out the pictures here

Photo Credit: From the blog post

December 7, 2008

NC Aquarium Photo Contest

Press Release:, NC Aquarium.
December 7, 2008

Before you send your list of wishes to Santa, be sure to mail in your best snapshots for the North Carolina Aquariums Photo Contest. All entries must be postmarked by Wednesday, Dec. 31 to be eligible.

Amateur and non-professional photographers can enter photos in three categories – Underwater Open, Underwater Close-ups and Aquatic Life in the Aquariums.

For the two underwater categories, photos must be taken in the waters off the coast of North Carolina or within the state’s freshwater systems. The Aquatic Life in the Aquariums category is for photos taken at any of the three state-operated Aquariums – at Pine Knoll Shores, at Fort Fisher and on Roanoke Island.

Participants can submit up to three photographs in each category. Cash prizes of $500 for first, $200 for second, $100 for third and $50 for honorable mention will be awarded in each category. East Carolina Bank sponsors the contest.

Entries must be accompanied by a completed application form, and delivered or mailed to the Aquariums Division office: Photo Contest, North Carolina Aquariums, 3125 Poplarwood Court, Suite 160, Raleigh, NC 27604.

Visit for complete contest rules, to download an application form and to see last year’s winners, or call 252-247-4003.

December 5, 2008

Island of Lights..."I love Christmas"

"I love Christmas" was the reaction by one young visitor who took in the wonderful lighting display at Carolina Beach.

The family’s trip to see the lights was recounted by the young girl’s mother, a Wilmington Star correspondent, in a recent blog entry:

...The girls were just delighted, from the moment we drove into the darkness and saw a clear night with a sliver of moon up high. As we crossed the bridge, they started counting off decorations. Rudolph. A star. A candle. When we passed the lake, they could hardly stay in their seats. "Ooooh," was all my 3-year-old could say. "There's a sleigh, and balloons. There's so many of them. Mommy, it's so pretty. I want to come tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after, and the day after," said my 6-year-old...

Read the full blog entry here

December 2, 2008

NJ Message in Bottle from 1969 Found in Outter Banks

December 2, 2008
Associated Press

NORTH HALEDON, N.J. (AP) - A message in a bottle tossed into the ocean off Barnegat Bay has turned up in North Carolina 39 years later. The note was sealed in a Schaefer beer bottle. It was dated Aug. 17, 1969 and read: "If found notify the North Haledon Fire Co. 2."

Mark Ciarmello and his 3-year-old daughter found the bottle along a beach in Corolla, N.C., in October. That's about 400 miles from where it was released.

The Downingtown, Pa., resident said he got on his cell phone, called North Haledon and e-mailed photos of the bottle to the firefighters.

No one is sure who tossed the bottle. But firefighters suspect it was during one of the many fishing trips that they used to take years ago.

CBS Video
Detailed Article & Photos in Daily Advance (Ablemarle, NC)

November 29, 2008

Fort Fisher: Southport Ferry to Close 1 December 2008 to 31 January 2009

Fort Fisher : Southport ferry route will be closed for a ramp replacement project from Dec. 1, 2008 to Jan. 31, 2009

November 26, 2008

November 25, 2008

Great White Shark Washes Ashore a South Carolina Beach

(Click picture for video: WCIV-TV ABC Charleston)

Morris Island, SC - Last week, fisherman found a 13 foot Great White shark that had washed ashore on Morris Island.

The Department of Natural Marine Biologists says the shark may have starved to death or been stranded.

"They are extremely rare in this area...They're large apex predators, so there's basically not a lot of them around," DNR Marine Biologist, Josh Loefer said...
[Read Full Story Here]

Note: According to the Wilmington Star, last Friday, three other sharks washed ashore on Sunset Beach, NC. [Read Wilmington Star Story Here]

For Past Carolina Beach Today shark posts, click here

November 21, 2008

Drop in Area Water Temps Creating Havoc for Sea Turtles

Today's Wilmington Star reports that numerous juvenile sea turtles have recently been caught off guard by a quick drop in ocean temps. The cold water has caused some turtles to suffer from hypothermia which greatly impairs their ability to do what they are pre-wired to do...head for warmer waters.

The lucky ones have been washing up on area shorelines where they at least have a chance of being rescued. The steadfast volunteers at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Topsail, NC have been busy taking in numerous turtles and providing medical care.

If you happen across one of these unfortunate sea turtles, please contact the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue center at 910-328-3377 or at 910-328-1716.

Sun News: North Carolina to Watch Virginia's Oil Hunt

Nov. 19--CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. -- Coastal North Carolina residents could get an idea of what to expect from offshore oil and natural gas drilling by watching what happens to an area off the Virginia coast that is currently being offered for lease.

The state of Virginia wants to know what might be down there and has begun what will be a multiyear process that could produce exploratory or production wells.

Even if a significant find is made, though, a 5-foot 8-inch person couldn't see a 150-foot high drilling rig that was 18 miles offshore, according to Lisa Flavin of the American Petroleum Institute.

The offshore area Virginia is exploring is the first on the East Coast to be opened as decades-old moratoriums on drilling expire and U.S. drivers feel desperate for a shield against the world oil market...

As many as 70 percent of N.C. residents want to see the state and nation exploit whatever energy sources may be available off their coast. But while coastal residents want the same kind of energy future of inlanders, their concerns are greater over how offshore drilling could potentially disrupt their lives...

Other scientists are concerned about how drilling might affect deep sea coral reefs off the coast. Should a spill occur at Mobil's proposed drilling site, Cahoon said, scientists have determined that the slick would flow onto the N.C. coast, 45 miles away.

Still, there are potential benefits to the drilling...For one, a discovery potentially would affect the domestic supply of oil, a decade or more down the road. Additionally, there could be direct payments to the state, and potentially counties, from lease payments and drilling volume. There would be good-paying jobs.

November 17, 2008

Snow's Cut Monthly Magazine: How Snow's Cut Park is Slipping into the Sea

Continuing with the earlier story on Snow's Cut Park, here is a story from Snow's Cut Monthly about the erosion problems at the park and how 20-30 feet of parkland is falling into the sea each year.

Text and Photos by Susan Hart
November 2008

Not long after I moved south (from New Jersey) to my new home in Wilmington in the winter of 1994-95, a friend and I stumbled upon Snow’s Cut Park. It was a nice day, sunny but cool, so we turned into the park and decided to explore. After a while we perched on a bench in the sun overlooking the waterway and ate our sandwiches. Nearby a father held his small child up to the water fountain to drink, other children were on the swings behind us and a little further down from where we sat, a family was enjoying a barbecue in one of the shelters with a great view of the waterway.

On my most recent visit to Snow’s Cut Park I found all of that was gone. No water fountain, no swings in the pine trees, our bench had disappeared and so had that particular picnic shelter – along with many of the pine trees. They were all victims of erosion along the banks of the park, taking everything with them to the beach and water below...

Neal Lewis, director of the New Hanover County Parks department, confirmed that the park land on the northern bank of Snow’s Cut is being lost at the rate of about 20-30 feet per year, depending on the number and severity of the storms as well as other factors.“We move the fences back twice a year,” he told me, “10-15 feet each time.” The main reasons for the erosion, according to Lewis are “the very steep sand bank, wakes from boat traffic, surface run-off from River Road through the park and storms, (especially) nor’easters and hurricanes...”

Read the Full Article

Credit: Photo is from the article

Erin's Restaurant Review: Jack Mackerel's Island Grill

4 out of 5 stars...

I love this place. I just realized last night that the decor is meant to make you feel like you're in a boat. Duh.

We went on Wednesday night to take advantage of the 40% off entrees. Such a good deal. And it lets me eat things that I normally wouldn't because I just don't think that 2 people should have to spend $50 to eat dinner. I had the crab cakes and my husband had the rib eye. I loved my meal. In fact, I'm eating the second crab cake for lunch today. He was ok with his steak. Personally, I think the reason that he rarely likes steaks is because he orders them too well done. You don't get any flavor or juiciness that way. Just my opinion.

The server and hostess were extra friendly and attentive and I couldn't really find anything wrong with our evening.

Jack Mackerel's Island Grill
113 K AveKure
Beach, NC 28449
(910) 458-7668

Click Here For Additional Pleasure Island Restaurant Reviews.

Click Here to View Available Online Menus of Pleasure Island Restaurants

November 15, 2008

Carolina Beach's Snows Cut Canal A Great Place to Fish

The News & Observer
Nov 13, 2008

CAROLINA BEACH - The U.S. 421 bridge links the mainland of New Hanover County with the beach communities of Pleasure Island. The bridge arches high above a segment of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway called Snows Cut.

Called simply "the cut" by locals, the navigation channel is an enormous man-made canal that allows vessels large and small to pass between the emerald green Atlantic Ocean at Carolina Beach Inlet or other places northward along the ICW and the murky waters of the Cape Fear River.

It's also a great place to catch saltwater species from the shore.

Along the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Easement for the construction and maintenance of Snows Cut are two parks. New Hanover County's Snows Cut Park is located on the northwest bank. Carolina Beach State Park is located on the southwest bank...

"Any fish you catch in the ocean, you can also catch in Snows Cut," Al-Matin said. "I catch bluefish, flounder, sheepshead, spots, croakers, pinfish, pigfish, black drum and red drum. The trick to catching them is to fish the deepest holes..."

Read the Full Article

Photo Credit

November 14, 2008

This Morning, Fog Horns Rule Pleasure Island

I awoke this morning to the sound of fog horns coming from the lower Cape Fear River. So after downing a cup of coffee, I headed out with the camera to catch some Island scenes.
A lone sailboat heads out to the Cape Fear River from the Carolina Beach State Park Marina. The intermittent soundings of fog horns await him.

Other than one lone gull on the beach, the air was quiet as the fog slowly began to lift.

A flock of Ibises go foraging on an inland Carolina Beach residential lot.

November 12, 2008

Concrete Fish House

The above video is of the NC Division of Marine Fisheries, DMF, adding new concrete material to the artificial reef off the Carolina Beach shoreline October 2, 2008. The DMF is assisting the Fish For Tomorrow organization in their ongoing efforts to increase the stock of Southern Flounder in NC waterways. The importance of their efforts cannot be understated when you consider that the NC flounder is "on the verge of extinction here in North Carolina." (WWAY interview with Tim Barefoot, Director of Fish for Tomorrow)

Fish For Tomorrow is a local organization that stands at the forefront of fisheries stock enhancement through aquaculture, creative reef placement and public education. Just last year, Fish For Tomorrow members helped start a pilot hatchery program at South Brunswick High School near Southport, NC. And today, flounder hatchlings are currently growing inside the aquatanks.

Another primary goal for the organization is to provide increased habitat for the NC fisheries stock. To accomplish this goal, they are working with the DMF in placing artificial reef materials in locations near our shorelines that are easily accessible by sport anglers.

The concrete material used in this years reef drop was donated by inland precasters. Once donated, Fish for Tomorrow is responsible for transporting the material to the State Port in Wilmington where the DMF takes over and delivers the material to the target site. Fish for Tomorrow pays for the transportation cost by raising money during its annual fishing tournament, Flat Bottom Girls, which takes place the first Saturday in November.

Flat Bottom Girls tournament helps this the Fish For Tomorrow program in two ways. First the money raised is used for reef material transportation costs. Secondly, all the Flounder caught during the tournament will be used in their Flounder Hatchery Program. This is important because the Organization needs a healthy and substantial adult population to accomplish their goals.

Based on existing scientific evidence, Fish For Tomorrow estimates that producing and releasing millions of fingerlings (2-5 inches long) into the wild could have a tremendous effect on the Southern Flounder population within just five years. The mortality rate of 4-inch long fingerlings versus hatchlings in the wild is estimated to be reduced by upwards of 95 percent. The wonderful news is that this same process can be used to shore up the stocks of other native species.

As an aside, the materials that DMF uses in creating and growing artificial reefs is quite varied. Just in Southeast NC, they have used: sunken barges, ships, tug boats, dredges, tankers, train box cars,
reef balls, tires, boat molds, F-4 aircraft, and a 230' bridge span.

So to everyone involved in this extremely important effort, we all say thank you and wish you continued success.

For more information or to make a donation (this includes flounder donations if you are fortunate to catch a larger one), please visit the Fish For Tomorrow

To learn more about DMF's artificial reef program, please visit their

November 10, 2008

The following heartfelt song debuted at the USO show in Jacksonville on September 19th, 2008 and was dedicated to all Veterans. The Group is Everly featuring Bethany Joy Galeotti and Amber Sweeney:

Home Is Me You Are Mine

Island Greenway Update

Supporters of the Pleasure Island Greenway initiative have been very busy lately. The following is an update of their recent activities as well as a schedule of their upcoming meetings. Please show your support for this wonderful island initiative and attend any of the upcoming public meetings.

10/27/08 8:00 AM meeting with Kure Beach Operations.
A meeting is scheduled to take place in Kure Beach with the Operations Department. At this meeting, Mike and others will discuss the latest revisions to the plans for a Bike/Pedestrian Greenway that will go through Kure Beach.

Report from Mike Kirkbride: The meeting went well. We updated them with our latest proposal for Kure Beach. Sunny, director of Public works made it clear we did have to meet with him regarding our path through his facility around 7th Street just south of Joe Eaks park, so that we could come up with a solution for that specific area. The Police chief mentioned that he did not foresee any issues with crime based on how safe the area is in general. Jim Vatrt was particularly interested in the costs associated with the path since that is a major concern. I reiterated that trails located on destination islands create returns on investment like the outer banks, where for every dollar they spent once they expect a return of $9 a year. Many of our sister islands data research indicates this: just look at the press section Kiawah Island news, they are extending their bike path across the bridge (off island) so that their residents can safely bike and walk to their food store and shops.

11/06/08 afternoon meeting with Steve Bevington, East Coast Greenway representative
This meeting is to discuss Pleasure Island as a destination for the East Coast Greenway and how our Chamber and Island efforts can create a partnership to make that happen. This is a how we can fund some of their effort long term.

Our meeting with Steve Bevington, Brendt Barnwell, Duke Hagerstrom, Alan Pacek and I was a discussion about collaborating with the East Coast Greenway on creating Wilmington and our coastal beach towns as one of their seven destinations. I think we should make Steve Bevington a proposal that includes 6 routes: a bike and walk loop in the town of Southport, a bike and walk loop at the Fort Fisher Aquarium east coast greenway path, a bike and walk loop at Carolina Beach's east coast greenway path including Carolina Beach state park and the carnivorous plant walk, a bike walk loop including Greenfield lake and River Road and the River to Sea path including the east coast greenway sections there, and a river walk walking loop.

The central purpose of this would be to use TDA funds to market our area with a bike and pedestrian green theme and create a long term partnership with the East Coast greenway in that effort. Brendt Barnwell and Duke Hagerstrom represent two board members of our respective towns TDA boards. Alan and Duke are also Pleasure island Chamber board members.

With respect to this heads in beds effort of the TDA add campaign the great thing about the bike/walk tourist is that they really fit best in our shoulder season as in having the possibility of expanding it. I see this conversation as just another level of WMPO coordination that requires our attention.

Ultimately Our goal would be to tie our whole region together but as with the East coast greenway being only 21% complete, our region being in the beginning stages we need to start somewhere. Choosing our best 5-6 routes would be a good place to start. From this preliminary meeting I placed this conversation onto the next meeting’s agenda of our WMPO bike/ped group.

11/06/2008 Cape Fear Cyclists Annual Meeting
The Highlight of the meeting was Joshuah Mello’s report on how new bike pedestrian path projects are being completed and the status of new ones being funded and scheduled for beginning. With the WMPO effort being just in its second year Joshuah is really leading the charge in getting many things bike/ped wise going. Lots of kudos to his efforts.

The second highlight was the numbers of user’s at the newly developed Blue clay off road bike facility created by the Cape Fear cyclists in conjunction with Sirbikesalot. To date for the year those that have signed in to use the park totaled 4,000; 500 of which were from out of state. Our new Parks superintendent Scott Barnard said that typically only 25% sign in so that 4,000 actually represents more like 16,000 users. From his perspective that was an amazing number for a park built by residents on county wetland that is now generating that kind of use while the county had only to contribute some clay and lumber and land that can only have that kind of low impact use. It was good for us to get on Scott Barnard’s good side with this effort, since our pleasure island effort will be somewhat similar involving New Hanover County as the holder of the easement of our path through Army property. And again that army property can only be used for something like a low impact path. One other note that particularly interested me was that Scott commented that the Blue Clay park was self maintained and secured. That means that the county park service does not have to clean up along the path other than maintain trash service in the parking lot.

The final highlight of the Cape Fear Cyclist group was them receiving a citation from the state that they had been active “Adopt a highway” continuous participants for a 2 mile section of river road for 20 years, a distinction afforded to only 2 others in the state’s history.In short this is a great organization to be a part of under Al Schroetel’s leadership.

11/08/08 at 8:30 AM at Beach Walk
This Saturday's upcoming Meeting at Beach Walk is to present our latest alternative path through their HOA in Kure Beach. Any members of that HOA we could sure use your support for that meeting.

We presented our latest proposal for Kure Beach at the Beach Walk HOA board meeting which has no portion behind Beach Walk homes and basically shares the roadway through Beach Walk on Settlers Lane going south bound and along 4th Street, Anchor and Sloop lane going north bound. The idea being to create a bike and walking loop in the community with possibly tempered speed limits on those streets. The Board said they would seek the communities feedback before they gave us their feedback. We look forward to their feedback even their alternative proposal. One of the issues that remains is the actual experience that the neighborhood is the primary beneficiary and user of the amenity. I would refer people to our web site: and go to the resources tab and click on the Omaha Trails study which really tried to get to this sense of experience of a trail after it was built through a community. I think the other aspect of a more bike and pedestrian friendly island has to do with the residents quiet enjoyment of their life. Returning to a time when some of us were kids and we biked and walked to school and playing fields, a time when we exercised throughout our day because our world back then was much more bike and pedestrian friendly, as in our mothers allowed us. Again on our web site go to the press tab and bring up the Coastal living article: “bring your own bike”. Our island with just a small turn towards a more bike and pedestrian friendly future could produce a dramatic shift in our residents health and well being, let alone the economic benefits many of our sister islands are experiencing whose trails are their #2 amenity.

11/10/08 at 6:30 PM Carolina Beach Town Council
At this Town Council meeting, we will present just a light preview of our report proposals to council

11/13/08 at 7:00 PM - P&Z Meeting
We plan to review our path proposal with P&Z. This is a meeting we need to have our full support for our plan from everyone and particularly Carolina Sands neighbors north and south and Snows cut neighbors so that we can get the recommendation from this board for our plan.

12/09/08 at 6:30 PM Carolina Beach Town Council
This is the meeting where we hope that the Council will hear and act on a recommendation by P&Z to approve our plan. At this meeting we need the support of everyone, locally and the region.

Visit the Island Greenway website and click on "Meetings" to keep up to date with the latest information.

Erin's Restaurant Review: Kate's Pancake House

4 out of 5 stars...

Generic breakfast food. I kind of felt like I was in Myrtle Beach. But, it was fast and filling. The french toast was yellow, that was odd. Super good bacon though that made up for it.

The best part was this great painting of saliboats in the women's bathroom. So pretty. I want to find out who it is so that I can put some of it in my house!

102 S Lake Park Blvd
Carolina Beach, NC 28428
(910) 458-3663

Click Here For Additional Pleasure Island Restaurant Reviews.

Click Here to View Available Online Menus of Pleasure Island Restaurants

November 9, 2008

A Day in the Life of Wilmington

Here's a wonderful blog entry (below the quotes) by a U.K. couple visiting our area. To hear them talk about the hospitality of our residents is heart warming and it reminds me that one of the easiest gifts you can give to a stranger is a smile.

•The shortest distance between two people is a smile. ~Author Unknown

•Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing. ~Mother Teresa

•A smile is the universal welcome. ~Max Eastman

•All the statistics in the world can't measure the warmth of a smile. ~Chris Hart

•A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give. ~Author Unknown

•Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Friday, November 7, 2008

No, Americans are not like English people.

‘Up North’ we always, without fail say that ‘Southerners’ are not friendly.
Well I would like at this point to say that compared to the average American (that we have met), Northerners are just as unfriendly and insular.

Without fail wherever we have travelled (and that is quite a long way now) we have found, without exception, that ‘the man in the street’, the next person in the queue (yes Americans do queue, even more assiduously than we do), the person behind the counter, the people on the next table at the café, or restaurant will always give a friendly smile, a ‘how you doin’, a ‘hello’. Drivers will stop to let you cross the street, or car park in front of them. People will hold open doors. There is often a dish of pennies on a counter for people who have slightly too little change. It is taken as almost an insult if your groceries are not packed for you, at the slightest sign of inconvenience the trolley will be taken and unloaded for you (no tip expected). People stand for old and disabled. One of the reasons for our enjoyment of America is that people do care, do take the time to say ‘Hi’, going shopping is a pleasure, sitting in a café is a social experience. And we love that...

But what really made Wilmington a top experience was the people...
Read the full blog entry

Now tell me, aren't all smiles infectious?
Girl Smiling Photo Credit
Happy Primate Photo Credit

Victim Puts on His Colombo Raincoat and Solves his Own Case

You just have to love stories like this where the 'victim' takes charge and solves his own crime. Kudos to Mr. Fulbright for being persistent and for ensuring that these two knuckleheads don't have the chance to victimize someone else!

Stolen boat leads to fraud arrests

Lumina News
by Jules Norwood
Thursday, November 6, 2008

The theft of a small motorboat from Masonboro Island and the use of the victim’s credit cards in several stores and restaurants throughout the county led to two arrests on Monday, Nov. 3.

Nicholas Fulbright said he had taken his boat over to Masonboro to walk across the island and surf. When he returned to the sound side of the island after surfing, the boat was missing. After spotting the boat across the inlet on the south end of Wrightsville Beach, he paddled across on his surfboard, only to find that a waterproof pouch containing his wallet, cell phone and keys had been stolen.

He reported the theft at the Coast Guard station, which notified Wrightsville Beach Police Sgt. V. Blanton. After filing a report, Fulbright returned home and began canceling his credit cards, only to find out they had already been used four times and declined twice...

Police describe what happened next: “One of the cards he called to cancel had just been used within a few minutes,” said Detective C. Schwartz. After visiting the business in Carolina Beach where the card had been used, Fulbright obtained a description of the vehicle and a possible address for the subject. He then found the vehicle at the address, and a few minutes later, saw two men he identified as having been present on Masonboro Island earlier in the day...

Jonathan Garland Pate, 22, of Myrtle Beach, and Joshua Raine Bishop-O’Bannon, 20, of Wilmington, were arrested and charged with felony larceny, financial card theft, financial card fraud, two counts of obtaining property by false pretenses, and one count of attempting to obtain property by false pretenses...

Read the Full Lumina News Article

November 6, 2008

A 'No Poop' Sign for Both Dog Owners and the Dogs

As one who occasionally has to pick up some pup remnants in my front yard, I really like this sign. I just hope the owners can read as well as their four legged friends.


Last Chance For NC State Park Survey

The NC State Park Survey ends tomorrow, Friday November 7th. So when you consider that Pleasure Island has two of the state's 34 parks located on the island, it is important for residents to have their opinions heard. If you have five minutes or so, please click on the link below and complete the survey.

Info on the Survey

Start Survey Now

November 4, 2008

November 11th: Free Admission To All North Carolina Aquariums

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher entranceBy Amy Kilgore
Public Relations Coordinator

Kure Beach, NC - In honor of Veterans Day, the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher offers free admission to all visitors on Tuesday, November 11. The Aquarium will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The three North Carolina Aquariums waive admission fees for all visitors twice a year – on Nov. 11 for Veterans Day, and on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in January. The Aquariums have designated free admission days each year since 1994 to assure that everyone has an opportunity to enjoy the facilities.

NC Aquarium diverThe other state-operated Aquariums are at Fort Fisher, near Kure Beach, and on Roanoke Island, near Manteo. The Aquariums, under the North Carolina Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, work together to inspire appreciation and conservation of North Carolina’s aquatic environments.

Usual admission fees are $8 for adults, $7 for ages 62 and over and $6 for ages 6-17. Admission is free for children 5 and under, for North Carolina schoolchildren visiting in registered school groups and for members of the North Carolina Aquarium Society, a membership-based organization providing support for the three Aquariums.

Photo: Children and adults alike enjoy an interactive dive show, held daily at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm.

Kure Beach Community Center Hosts Two NC Authors on November 8th

Speakers: Daniel Ray Norris & Esther Myles
Date: Saturday, November 8th, 2008
Time: 7:00 pm
Cost: $10.00
Seminar Location: Kure Beach Community Center

Join local writer, publisher, marine biologist, and all-around great personality Daniel R. Norris, as he shares his affinity for Pleasure Island and discusses his latest work. In his second book, Daniel places emphasis on Kure Beach, and he has a lot to say about the area.

His first book, Carolina Beach NC, Images and Icons of a Bygone Era, which was published in 2006, continues to be a strong seller with both visitors and residents alike.

Daniel is a college biology teacher, avid photographer, graphic designer and lives in Carolina Beach on the intracoastal waterway, where he considers it to be "The Best Place on Earth."

Along with Daniel, will be another North Carolina author Esther Myles. Her book, Nize:The Making of a Champion, is new to the literary scene, and Esther will be talking about entering the literary world and growing up in rural North Carolina.

The Brunswick County native, who now splits her time between homes in her native county and Carolina Beach, is a lifelong teacher and cosmetologist, with talents ranging from hair design and fashion, to teaching and architectural design.

So please, come out for an evening of interesting facts and entertaining presentations at the Kure Beach Community Center.

November 3, 2008

Erin's Restaurant Review: Mama Mia's Italian Restaurant

4 out of 5 stars...

Yet another odd little place at the beach. I'm going to be generous with my stars though. The pizza was great. Great enough that we both ate the leftovers for dinner the next day. The mozzarella sticks were just ok. Definitely out of the freezer. And they didn't cook them long enough...the cheese wasn't very melty. Other than that, it was a cute little place. Stuck in the 70's for sure. The people were really nice though. And they have those fun high-back booths that make you feel like there's no one else in the place.

Mama Mia's Italian Restaurant
6 S Lake Park Blvd
Carolina Beach, NC 28428
(910) 458-9228

Click Here For Additional Pleasure Island Restaurant Reviews.

Click Here to View Available Online Menus of Pleasure Island Restaurants

November 2, 2008

Outreach Program at the Fort Fisher Aquarium Is Thriving

Stars of the Sea and Swamp

Traveling exhibit brings marine critters to Carrboro

Chapel Hill News article
Deborah R. Meyer, Staff Writer
November 02, 2008

Hermit crabs, sea stars, sea urchins, and sea snails travel well in a van but are not the most charismatic creatures.

This posed a problem for Dee Rudolph, the new Outreach Coordinator for The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher at Kure Beach.

"I said, 'Oh, dear, they don't move much and are so small,'" Rudloph said. "They are not as exciting as bringing out a snake."

Her mission was to create a program that would bring out the exciting aspects of these marine invertebrates. That the program she came up with is one of the aquarium's most popular is powerful evidence that she succeeded... (click link above for complete article)

In April 2008, Community Foundation Executive Director Steve Dillon presented a check for $15,000 to Aquarium Director Donna Moffitt and Outreach Coordinator Dee Rudolph (who is holding the alligator) to help the Aquarium acquire a new outreach vehicle. It should also be noted that the NC Aquarium Society contributed $55,000 towards this effort.

-Gator photo from the Chapel Hill News article
-Van & check presentation photo credit

November 1, 2008

Legendary Actor, and Carolina Beach Resident, Pat Hingle Talks About Hollywood and Living on the Island

The Wilmington Star's Amy Hotz recently conducted an in depth interview with Pat Hingle about a whole array of subjects.

You can read the Wilmington Star interview

At the 5:30 mark, he discusses how he came to live in Carolina Beach while filming the movie Maximum Overdrive in 1986 with Emilio Estevez.  He clearly enjoyed our island as he decided to stay and make it his full time home.

11 minute interview:

Today, Mr. Hingle will be honored with a star on the Wilmington Walk of Fame:

What: Celebrate Wilmington! dedicates a star on the Wilmington Walk of Fame to Pat Hingle
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Walk of Fame Plaza on Water Street at The Cotton Exchange
Admission: Free

October 31, 2008

The Fat Pelican 360 Degrees

I came across this youtube video, posted by GermanMember, offering viewers a 360 degree view of inside the Fat Pelican. The video was uploaded on October 23, 2008.

It looks like the crowd is having a good time but that is pretty easy to do when you have a choice of over 350 different beers.

Pleasure Island Trolley

The Towns of Carolina and Kure Beach have put out a Request for Proposals for the operation of an Island trolley system. Proposals will be accepted up until 4:00pm on 11/24/08.

The Island municipalities are interested in the feasibility of operating an Island-wide trolley system during the primary tourist season (May-August).

The trolley would sevice the following locations:
• Food Lion
• Marriott Courtyard at Carolina Beach
• Carolina Beach Boardwalk
• Specific points of interest in Carolina and Kure Beach
• Specific beach accesses along Fort Fisher Boulevard
• Kure Beach Ocean Front Park
• Kure Beach Fishing Pier
• Fort Fisher State Park
• Fort Fisher Museum
• NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher
• Fort Fisher Ferry

If it is feasible, the plan is to have the trolleys operational for the 2009 Summer season.
Photo Credit

October 29, 2008

Photos of Carolina Beach Lake Following Hurricane Ophelia in 2005

Here are some interesting photos of Carolina Beach Lake following 10 inches of rain from Hurricane Ophelia which grazed our area in September 2005. The aerial photos were taken by the NC Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster and are posted here on their website. For additional Ophelia photos of the SE North Carolina coastline, please visit their website. (click photos for full size)

And one photo of the Snow's Cut Bridge

Here is a Wilmington Star article from November 2005 that explains the flooding issues of CB Lake. I don't believe the town received funding for the dredging.

Town Hoping to End Lake’s Flooding

CAROLINA BEACH When hurricane season comes along next year, Carolina Beach officials are hoping the town’s lake won’t overflow its banks again.

The town is seeking about $1.2 million in state aid to alleviate flooding, which usually covers U.S. 421 and nearby residential streets during periods of heavy rain.

Homes and businesses also have experienced flooding.

Steve Pagley, the town’s operations director, said the money would be used to dredge silt from the lake bottom, deepening it, and to buy another pump. If the state approves the grant, the town would have to put up $578,250, or one-third of the cost of the entire project.

Councilman Gary Doetsch said it sounds like a good start, but he hopes it’s enough.

Here are some key questions and answers about the issue:

11.5 acres, 3 feet deep and holds nearly 11 million gallons of water.

The town’s operations department wants to dredge the lake and buy an additional pump, which will help the town manage water flow from the lake. The dredging would deepen the lake by 3 to 4 feet, increasing the capacity to about 25 million gallons.

Town officials say flooding not only affects residential and commercial properties around the lake but also disturbs wildlife in and around the lake.

Flooding also makes it difficult for emergency vehicles to respond.

It will make the lake deeper. The lake can flood with just an inch of rain because water drains into the lake from 560 acres of land. According to town calculations, an inch of rain dumps about 15 million gallons into the lake.

One pump can remove 7.2 million gallons of water from the lake in 24 hours. A second pump would double that amount, which means the town could reduce the lake level as storms approach.

Once the state grant comes through, the project should take six months to complete – in time for the 2006 hurricane season. After the work is done, the town will maintain the improvements and operate the pump as needed.

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