August 30, 2008

My Two Cents: Island Greenway Bike Trail and Carolina Beach Concrete Pier

Although everyone that I've spoken to on the island enthusiastically supports both of these projects, I know there is a minority that oppose these initiatives.

Let me start by saying I'm a HUGE supporter of the Island Greenway project. Having a trail that links both ends of the island would be a wonderful benefit for Island residents and visitors. For more information, check out the fantastic Island Greenway

I enjoy bike riding, jogging and at times, in-line skating. I'm not the best in-line skater so I prefer to skate in areas that don't force me to compete with vehicles for space. And although the island has many wonderful neighborhood areas to cycle, there is not an easy way to get from one end to the other without getting on the main road bike lane (during the 'on' season, many refer to the bike lane as a traffic overflow lane). Having this trans-island trail option would help encourage people to get out of their cars and onto their bikes.

Also, having a 9.5 mile trail would entice people from Wilmington and surrounding area to visit the island for some exercise and fun. I would imagine that the entire Pleasure Island business community would welcome this new infusion of potential customers. This would not be just a summertime draw since the weather here is generally favorable for outdoor activities nearly all year round. Having this type of year round draw to our island would really help our business owners during the off season.

Now I understand that some of the opponents are concerned about having a trail in their backyards and fear increased crime. From my experience of living in other communities with a vibrant trail system, the opposite is true. Instead of having vacant woods deep in the back of ones property where one can lurk without any chance of being seen, bike trails bring out your neighbors who are quick to report anything suspicious. I would image that both Carolina Beach and Kure Beach would support having police officers patrol the area on bikes which would add a new police presence. And let's be honest, crime is not a rampant problem here on the island.

But in fairness to the residents who have backyard concerns, I strongly support both parties working towards a compromise that everyone can get behind. Hopefully, there is an easy solution that will appeal to all parties and we can move forward as a unified front.

One last comment, many potential home buyers see easy access to bike trails as a draw and those property values usually reflect that value. If one needs proof, check out the real estate adds by some of the apartments/properties near the new trail system by Mayfaire...they often tout that fact as an incentive.

I only hope that all of our elected leaders have the vision to see what a boost this project would be for our entire island. A chance like this to increase our quality of life doesn't come around often and I just hope the powers-to-be seize this opportunity and drive this project to reality.

As for the concrete pier, I'm dismayed that anyone would oppose this project. But after reading a letter to the editor in this weeks Island Gazette, I see there is some opposition. Specifically, the writer said that pursuing a "fishing" pier project was the "stupidest task they could undertake considering we have two within a 6-mile area."

First of all, the writer fails to understand that this is not solely a fishing pier; it is an
educational fishing pier and will have broad appeal to both fisherman and non-fisherman alike. The NC Aquarium pier and large pier house will be used for conservation workshops, school programs, science camps, research, etc. The fact that there are two wooden fishing piers within six miles of this proposed pier means that fisherman will be able to keep their elbow room while the Aquarium can pursue public education initiatives.

Also, the pier will be 1,000' in length and will be constructed with concrete pilings. The pier is being constructed to hold up to whatever mother nature may send its way.

I'm thrilled that the NC Aquariums are considering the Carolina Beach boardwalk area for their pier and hope that our elected leaders will do whatever they can to make the project a reality. This is good for our town...plain and simple.

August 29, 2008

NC Beaches...They Are Inviting.

Hats off to to the NC Division of Tourism for this wonderful commerical. Now, where is the rum?

Surfrider Foundation Labor Day Weekend Cleanup at Masonboro Island

From the Grove Project:
If you have some spare time this holiday weekend, please volunteer it towards this effort. We are passing on this message from our friends at the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve.

On Labor Day weekend the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve will be creating a public education blitz to reduce trash and inappropriate activity at Masonboro Island. We need your help!

We’ll be setting up at the public boat ramps at Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and Trails End to talk with folks as they head out onto the water. We’ll give them some do’s and don’ts for visiting the Reserve and a trash bag or two if they need them. The plan is to host these information booths from 10 – 3 each day of the holiday weekend...

Picture from Seuss 910 on Flicker

August 26, 2008

A Pelican Happy Meal

I came across a group of visitors at the CB marina who were providing a free meal to some of our feathered residents. It appears that both groups were happy with the exchange.

carolina beach marina
pelican carolina beach marina
carlina beach marina pelican

The Boston Globe: (Bald Head Island) A Pretty Feather in a Cap on the Carolina Shore

...I discovered on a springtime visit that 10,000 of the island's 12,000 acres have been set aside for conservation. And what is being preserved is worth checking out.

Our painted bunting sighting came after a two-hour hike filled with natural treasures. We were on the Creek Trail in the Bald Head Woods Coastal Reserve, where you can hear waves crashing on the beach in the distance. The nearly mile-long trail had been cut recently by volunteers and staff at the independent, nonprofit Bald Head Island Conservancy, where Dewire is senior naturalist. The conservancy runs programs year-round, has a gift shop and visitors center, and is raising money to build a barrier-island research facility. It also coordinates the nationally recognized Sea Turtle Protection Program, since the island is an important nesting site from May through October...

Boston Globe Full Article

View Larger Map

August 25, 2008

Island Videos You May Have Missed

Here is one of my favorite Island videos from Youtube which was posted on August 31, 2007 by Kevin Smith of Wilmington. It offers both a Fort Fisher history lesson as well as some interesting aerial views of the area (from the description, it appears the video was taken using a radio controlled aircraft). And if neither of those peak your interest, it's worth playing the 3 minute video to hear 'Going Home' from the Gods and Generals Soundtrack.

I hope you enjoy this video as much as I have. For additional videos, please check out the "Island Videos" section at the bottom of our main page.

August 24, 2008

Erin's Restaurant Review: El Zarape Mexican Restaurant

4 out of 5 stars...

Short background about how our quiet dinner for two turned into a late, group outing of 11. We went to our godson's baseball game and unbeknownst to me; my husband had invited our godson and his parents to dinner. They also had another child with them. Then they invited some family members and the baseball coach's family. So, here we are...8 adults and 3 kids trying to find a place to eat at 9 pm on a Thursday night in Carolina Beach. And yes, that is the same night as fireworks and the beach music concert. Hmm.... so, we ended up at El Zarape.

They seated us in this strange upstairs area right next to the club. Yes, there's a club. It took approximately 20 minutes for us to get our drinks. When we were finally served our food, it was good. Really good. I didn't expect to eat so much. It just wasn't greasy like other Mexican places and I didn't even feel gross later. Full, but not gross like after El Cerro.

So, I'm overlooking the odd seating and service issues and giving them 4 stars for the non-greasy food.

El Zarape Mexican Restaurant
103 N. Lake Park Blvd.
Carolina Beach, NC 28428

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Carolina Beach Boardwalk Pier Update

As reported earlier, the Aquarium at Fort Fisher is considering building a new 1,000' concrete pier at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. The town of Carolina Beach is obviously excited about this proposal and is actively working with the aquarium to bring this proposal to fruition. In addition to the pier at Carolina Beach, The NC Aquarium is building two other similar piers at Nags Head and Emerald Isle.

To give you a general idea of what the Carolina Beach pier might look like, above is an updated artist rendering of the pier house to be constructed at Nags Head.

Although this project is still in the discussion phase and completion would be years out, it is exciting to see the town's potential begin to evolve! And as we look ahead, we must extend major kudos to all the parties who are today, working tirelessly to make this project a reality for Carolina Beach's future.

Here are some of the activities the Aquarium foresees with their educational fishing piers:
• Fishing
• Conservation workshops
• Beach explorations
• Sleepovers
• Science camps
• School programs
• Kayak excursions
• Surfing instruction
• Data collection
• Research

And here are the primary features of the constructed piers:
• 1,000 feet long
• Storm-resistant
• Concrete pilings
• Timber decking
• Exhibits
• Classrooms
• Event rooms
• Beach access & parking
• Bathhouses

August 21, 2008

Pleasure Island Bike Trail--Share Your Opinion

Wilmington Star

Pleasure Island wants fitness trail to run through Sunny Point

By Chris Mazzolini
Staff Writer

August 21, 2008

A group of Pleasure Island residents and outdoor enthusiasts are working together with government officials to build a paved bicycle and walking trail that extends from Carolina Beach to Fort Fisher.

Proponents want to build the Pleasure Island Greenway, a 9.5-mile-long paved path that would connect Snow’s Cut to Federal Point. A big chunk of that would run through land owned by the federal government.

So New Hanover County is seeking public input on a request to seek an easement on the fire break that separates the beach towns from the Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point.

Proponents are seeking a continuous strip of land between Sumter Avenue in Carolina Beach and Fort Fisher. Richard Himmelstein, a Kure Beach resident who’s a member of the greenway committee, said the path will help connect all of Pleasure Island’s recreational areas, provide a safe route for pedestrians and cyclists and give people an alternative means of transportation.

And access to such a large undeveloped piece of property is growing increasingly rare, added Michael Kirkbride, another committee member.

Since the property is owned by the federal government and is outside the beach towns’ borders, officials felt the county was the best organization to make the easement request, said Neal Lewis, county parks director. He said the county’s park advisory board has discussed the project and is in favor of it, but the matter would ultimately need commissioner approval – and the Army’s permission.

“The key player here is the Army,” he said. “They own the property. Everything here that happens will have to be approved by them.”

The project has garnered support from the island’s town governments. Carolina Beach Town Manager Tim Owens said the project could be an economic boost for the town. Kure Beach Mayor Mac Montgomery said such a trail fits the Pleasure Island attitude.

“I think we’re at a point that pedestrian traffic is becoming, for many people, a preferred way to get around,” Montgomery said. “It’s in keeping with the lifestyle we want to promote here on the island. I consider this to be a real positive not only for our citizens, but the whole county.”

Himmelstein said the project could cost as much $2 million to $3 million, and that they are seeking grant funding to pay for it.

Map of project

Carolina Beach Boardwalk Art Show

The weekly Thursday evening Boardwalk Art Show is off to a good start and is drawing in new visitors to our area. Combining the art show with the regular Thursday events of fireworks and live music was a good move as it helps lure many eyes to this new Carolina Beach attraction. Overtime, as the show grows in popularity, I foresee it being moved to another night in order to spread out the town's entertainment draw.

This past Thursday, there were quite a few booths set up with artist selling handmade crafts, island photographs, and paintings. There seemed to be something for everyone and the artist I spoke to said that they were finding quite a few buyers. As a matter of fact, I'll be there this evening picking up a photo that wasn't available last week.

One of the nice things about this art event is that it is for local artist. People who would like to sell artwork that they purchased on e-bay need not apply for this event. This art show is purely for local artist to show and sell their wonderful and unique work.

The art show is a fantastic event for our town and will help bring in new visitors to the boardwalk area. Elaine Stewart, Carolina Beach Arts and Activities Committee, said, "I think there's a new group of people we need to bring to the beach and artists will do bringing culture to the beach will step it up a good notch for Carolina Beach and Pleasure Island."

The area brick and mortar stores should also see a boost in their customer base as more people head down to the island to take-in the events.

Boardwalk Art Show
Every Thursday from 6:00pm to 9:00 pm @ the Gazebo

Carolina Beach Boardwalk Art Show
Carolina Beach Boardwalk Art Show
Carolina Beach Boardwalk Art Show
Carolina Beach Boardwalk Art Show
Carolina Beach Boardwalk Art Show
Carolina Beach Boardwalk Art Show

August 20, 2008

Wilmington Star: Kure Beach Officials Look to Solve Deer Problem

By Steve McDaniel,
Star-News Correspondent
Kure Beach August 20, 2008

Uninvited, four-legged dinner guests are becoming a problem on the southern tip of New Hanover County.

Evidence of increased numbers of deer, which are coming from the Sunny Point Military Ocean Terminal buffer zone, has Kure Beach officials searching for answers to what can be a vexing problem.

Town administrator Michelle James, along with state wildlife biologist Robert Norville and Sunny Point environmental director Richard Lockwood, shared their findings from a recent public survey with town council members at Tuesday's monthly meeting...

Wilmington Star Article

Hilton Garden Inn Groundbreaking Ceremony

Here are a few photos from today's 4:00pm groundbreaking ceremony.

(Click to Enlarge)

August 19, 2008

Carolina Beach's Newest Restaurant Opening Soon: Tangerine Caribbean Grill

We are all looking forward to the grand opening of Carolina Beach's newest restaurant, Tangerine Caribbean Grill. From what we can see on the outside, they have put a lot of effort and money into making this a fun and entertaining place. They have two outside dining areas and the rooftop area overlooks the town yacht basin. And based on the information in their employment adds, the Grill promises to be the largest restaurant in Carolina Beach.

In under a year, Carolina Beach has seen two waterfront restaurants setting up businesses in this location. This growing business interest in the marina area should help further push the ongoing town efforts to expand and modernize the town marina. Of course, if the town does expand the marina as outlined in the master plan, the waters would be nearly lapping at the Grill's back door. Something tells me, the owners of the Grill wouldn't mind one bit.

As we have said many times on this website, these are exciting times for Pleasure Island.

We have not yet heard an official opening date for the Grill but it should be soon as construction appears to be nearing an end. We'll let you know when more information becomes available.

Tangerine Caribbean Grill
300 North Lake Park Blvd
Carolina Beach, NC

REMINDER: Tomorrow, August 20th, the Hilton Garden Inn Ground Breaking Ceremony will begin at 4:00pm.

Kite Surfing in a Tropical Storm Has Risk...Big Risk

(From CBS4 in Miami FL covering Tropical Storm Fay)

August 18, 2008

From Atlanta to...Wilmington, N.C.

Wilmington, N.C., is a busy coastal town
Ali Mangkang
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wilmington, N.C. — Don’t worry if it has been some time since you’ve laced up your walking shoes. Outdoor options along North Carolina’s southern coast are suited for visitors of all abilities and inclinations...

On Pleasure Island, 10 miles south of Wilmington, this 761-acre park is home to several coastal ecosystems. Walkers can choose from six nature trails ranging from 0.5 to 3 miles.

Before you set out, stop by the visitors center and check out the interpretive gallery, which provides an overview of the biodiversity within the park’s boundaries.

Of particular interest are several varieties of carnivorous plants, including Venus’ flytraps, pitcher plants and bladderworts, identifiable on the appropriately named “Flytrap Trail.”

Park rangers offer free guided hikes and programs throughout the year. Nature lovers can enjoy an extended stay at one of the 83 shaded campsites, which can be reserved for $15 a night.

Visitor information: Carolina Beach State Park is accessible off U.S. 421 on Dow Road. The visitors center is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. 910-458-8206, Free parking and day use.

• Carolina Coastal Adventures. Guided kayak tours with an emphasis on ecological education. 103 Winner Ave., Carolina Beach. 910-458-9111,

• Carolina Beach Lake Park. This park has a .67-mile paved trail, great for a family bike ride or walk, that circles a 9-acre lake. Boat rentals available and facilities include restrooms, picnic shelters and a children’s playground. 400 S. Lake Park Blvd., Carolina Beach,, 910-458-7416.

Drive a few miles past the Kure Beach pier on the southern end of Pleasure Island and you’ll notice grassy mounds that protrude well above the low-lying area.

The mounds are part of the original structure of Fort Fisher, the last major stronghold of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Under the command of Col. William Lamb, who oversaw the improvement of fortifications that stretched 1.5 miles from the Cape Fear River to the Atlantic Ocean, Fort Fisher became a formidable obstacle to enemies and an asset to Confederate forces who relied on the port for supplies and munitions.

On Jan. 15, 1865, however, a well-planned second attempt by Union forces (also the largest land/sea battle in U.S. history until World War II) resulted in the fort’s ultimate seizure.
In 1958, North Carolina leased 187 acres of the original fort from the federal government to develop the area as a historic site.

The area now includes a museum, a recreation area and one of three coastal aquariums in the state.

The museum houses artifacts recovered from the site and surrounding areas (Fort Fisher also is home to the state’s Underwater Archaeology Unit) and offers guided tours of the historic grounds.

Visitor information: Fort Fisher Historic Site Museum is off U.S. 421 just south of Kure Beach. 1610 Fort Fisher Blvd. South. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays. Guided tours at 9:30 and 11 a.m., 1:30 and 3 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 1:30 and 3 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. Admission is free. 910-458-5538,

• Fort Fisher Recreation Area. Free public beach access, picnic facilities, wildlife exhibitions, special programs and off-road vehicle beach access ($10 fee required for vehicle access). 1000 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach, 910-458-5798,

• North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. In addition to permanent exhibitions, the aquarium offers low-cost field trips including canoe tours, salt marsh hikes and surf-fishing workshops. 2201 S. Fort Fisher Blvd. 1-866-301-3476,

Erin's Restaurant Review: The Dive

4 out of 5 stars..

What an accommodating, fun place. We walked in with 6 people, which grew to 8, then 10, then 11. Each time, they moved more tables and chairs with a smile. We were also a little late for the main event of the evening, so we needed our food quick. Everything worked out perfectly. We asked them to bring the checks with the meals and they did. Very quick and pleasant service.

The food wasn't half bad either. Pretty normal bar stuff...wings, loaded fries, chicken tenders, various fried seafood items. All very reasonably priced and tasty. We will definitely be back when we know we can spend a little more time.

It looked like they have music on the weekend, they were just setting up as we were leaving at 8:30 on a Saturday night.

6C North Lake Park Blvd.
Carolina Beach, NC 28428
(910) 458-8282

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August 17, 2008

When Courage Takes Charge

On August 10th, the Wilmington Star did a feature story on local surfer and Carolina Beach resident, Zac Adair. What made the surfing story stand out is that Mr. Adair is blind. He was injured in an auto accident four years ago while in Nags Head, NC.

Today, with the help of his girlfriend, he has overcome obvious obstacles and is back riding the waves he loves so much.

His story inspires us all and makes us truly appreciate the human spirit.

The accompanying 5 minute video (larger screen) is beautifully composed and features background music by Mr. Adair.

August 16, 2008

Hilton Garden Inn Update: Time for a Helmet Party!

The Hilton Garden Inn will have a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, August 20, 2008. This has been a long time coming and CBTlooks forward to seeing a crane in our vista. For a few, they will call it an eyesore. For many others, they will see it as long term progress for our town.

The big question remains. As with so many groundbreaking ceremonies, will the dignitaries on hand be wearing the obligatory hardhats? (The picture to the right is of a random groundbreaking ceremony...but they sure do look like a happy bunch.)

On a serious note, congratulations to all involved who had the vision to make this project a reality for Carolina Beach!

Fort Fisher Shark Fishing

This one was caught by Pleasure Island resident Julie down at Fort Fisher. After a few pictures, the shark was released unharmed. And for the record, this Black Tip is longer than Julie is tall. Not a bad catch!

For the full story/pictures, check out her blog:

August 14, 2008

My 2 Cents: Titan Cement and Pleasure Island...Are the Carrots Worth the Price?

As you have no doubt seen in the local news, Titan Cement is looking at Castle Hayne to build one of the largest cement plants in the United States. Even though the proposed plant is over 22 miles from Pleasure Island as the crow flies, we share a commonality with our friends to the north. We too obtain our drinking water from the Castle Hayne aquifer which could be at risk for possible contamination due to the company's proposed limestone mining. What, you may ask, are the exact risks? Well, I'd like to hear those answers too.

Both State and County leaders are courting Titan American, the parent company to Titan Cement, by offering incentives for them to come to Castle Hayne. New Hanover County Commissioners are trying to lure them with a $4.2 million dollar incentive grant and the State is offering $300,000.

On the positive side, Titan Cement expects to create 161 new jobs and invest over $450 million in New Hanover County.

Per a
May 16th news release from the Governor's office, the expected jobs would pay an average annual salary of $72,068, more than double the county average of $33,228.

On the negative side, there has been growing community concern that the plant will be a major environmental hazard. Residents opposing the plant have banded together and have hosted several community meetings as they attempt to learn what impacts the plant may have on air quality, water supply and overall quality of life. As their efforts have grown, they’ve created a website,, to keep residents informed.

Although the Wilmington area community has heard about the Titan proposal , the ones generally spearheading action to slow or stop the plant's construction are the ones who would most likely be affected by potential environmental impacts. As outlined on the Stop Titan website, "three elementary schools lie in the initial danger zone (5 mile radius) where the most (airborne) pollutants will fall, as is the site of the new elementary school on Sidbury Road. The growing communities of Castle Hayne, Hampstead, Topsail, Porter’s Neck, Ogden, and Leland all lie within ten miles of the proposed plant. The area of greatest contamination is within a 30 mile radius, which covers much of New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick Counties." In addition, there is growing concerns about the impact of proposed limestone mining on the Castle Hayne aquifer.

So as we may have been sympathizing with our neighbors to the north, it is now clear that we too have a vested interest in this proposed plant.

Residents of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Fort Fisher obtain their drinking water from wells that draw from the
Castle Hayne aquifier. The concern is that the aquifer may be in danger of contamination if the company proceeds with their proposed mining plans. In addition to their primary 1,868-acre Castle Hayne site, "the company also owns more than 700 acres of wilderness and wetlands east of the quarry, which it plans to use for mining operations, according to a Carolinas Cement Company plan of study document dated April 15. That mining activity would affect nearly 500 acres of wetlands, according to the plan." (05/20 Wilm. Star).

The possible effects of mining limestone, which is the primary input in making cement, near the Castle Hayne aquifer has yet to be adequately addressed by Titan officials. When one looks at what has happened to other communities in similar circumstances, there is valid reason for concern. In March 2008, the
Miami New Times was able to make a possible connection between limestone mining for a nearby concrete plant and increased benzene in Miami-Dade County's drinking water.

So for now, there are many questions awaiting answers. And although the company's promise of a financial carrot may be initially attractive, one has to wonder if we will end up growing those carrots with tainted drinking water.

It's a Shark, It's a Dolphin...It's a Sandbar?

Battered, man blames a shark

(Fayetteville Observer, July 17, 2008)
Donald Griffin isn’t buying the official explanation for the brace on his neck and the bruises on his face.

Rescue workers who carried him off Carolina Beach on Sunday told Griffin that he had been struck by a dolphin.

“I told them don’t insult my intelligence,” Griffin said. “That was a shark.”

Recovering at his River Road home on Wednesday, Griffin winced as he recalled his harrowing tale.

Griffin, 52, said he was swimming with his 7-year-old granddaughters, who had headed up onto the sand. He was about to join them when he spotted a wave too tempting to pass up.

Griffin swam out — maybe 50 or 60 feet from shore — and was ready to ride.

Then, he said, came the dark shadow shooting up through the water.

Then came the impact and the sharp pain.

Then the water closing in over his head.

“I couldn’t move anything. So I said what I thought would be my last prayer right there on the ocean floor ... ,” Griffin said. “I told the good Lord, ‘If this is it, fine. Let it be it. If not? Get me out of here.’”

Griffin believes his prayer was answered. He washed toward the beach, where one of his granddaughters was screaming because she couldn’t see Griffin where she knew he should be. He said others on the beach rushed to his aid.

The occasional shark has been spotted off Carolina Beach this summer, said Cpl. Simon Sanders, director of Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue.

“But we don’t have any reason to believe that that’s what this was,” Sanders said.

It has been three years since the last shark attack at Carolina Beach, Sanders said, adding that incident involved a swimmer who recovered after being bitten on the arm.
Sanders said dolphins were seen in the area where Griffin was swimming shortly before and after his rescue. Dolphins aren’t usually a threat, he said.

“But we have noticed this season of couple of dolphins with calves,” Sanders said. “When they have young ones they can be more aggressive. But have we had a dolphin attack? No.”

Sanders said the ocean floor was not ruled out as a contributor to Griffin’s injuries, which Griffin said include spinal and nerve damage.

“We’ve got lifeguards down here who get cut on their faces from hitting the sandbar. I’m looking at one right now,” Sanders said, yelling “Nice forehead” toward one of the participants in a national lifeguard competition being held at Carolina Beach this week.

Griffin, thankful to be home, said he is reluctant to be in the spotlight but feels an obligation to let beachgoers know they are swimming at their own risk.

Griffin, who has been going to Carolina Beach for about 30 years, said he may not have had more than a split-second look at what came up through the water — but he felt it.

“I’ve taken some hits in my life, but nothing ever like this,” Griffin said. “I know what hit me, and it was a shark. A big shark.”

Staff writer Rebecca Logan can be reached at or 486-3582. Article
Picture Credit

August 13, 2008

Tropical Weather Updates in a Hurry

(For a current update, click on the permanet link in the right column)
For a quick tropical weather update and a snapshot of the current areas of interest in the Atlantic, check out this new NOAA page/graphic. It sure beats waiting until :50 after the hour on the Weather Channel ;-)

PS. The also have a link for the Eastern Pacific

August 12, 2008

What Is the Difference Between Skates and Rays?

If you are like me, you haven't a clue. But fortunately for us, the NC Aquarium has answered this and other similar questions on their Ask the Aquarium web page. So when you have some time and feel like learning something new, pay them a visit

(But first, click here for the answer on Skates vs Rays)

Here is just a small sampling of the questions they answer:

--What is a shark's sixth sense?

--What kinds of sharks are found off the North Carolina coast?

--What is the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?

--Which sea turtle is most commonly found in North Carolina?

--What kind of whales visit North Carolina?

--What fish are native only to North Carolina?

--How do fish defend themselves?

--What should I do about all those little green frogs that get on my outdoor houseplants each summer?

--How many venomous snakes are found in North Carolina?

--We like to catch blue crabs off the dock when we visit the beach, but when the weather cools we can’t find any. Where do they go?

--What sea shells can be found in North Carolina and when is the best time to look for them?

August 10, 2008

Erin's Restaurant Review: Zorba's Steak and Seafood Restaurant

3 out of 5 stars...

As we have now lived at the beach for awhile, we thought we would venture to Zorbas.

It was ok. Very odd assortment of places to sit. There seemed to be a small room in the back with a couple of tables and a small, winding room in the front with a couple of tables. Then an 'outdoor' room, where we ended up sitting. We were the only people in there. Very odd. The food was solid I suppose. Nothing great, but nothing horrible. The service was great, however, warranting them 3 stars. The main waitress was super nice and she had 2 trainees with her following her wherever she went. Very nice.

We probably won't be back however, since there are many better options on the beach.

August 6, 2008

Tis the Season for Hurricanes...Unfortunately

But hurricanes are a fact of life in Coastal Carolina. As long as one has made preparations and have an evacuation plan(if necessary) in place, the disruption of such storms can be reduced. And fortunately, from looking at today's Atlantic satellite picture, the Atlantic is looking fairly calm for this time of year.

But as SE Carolina's water temps inch towards the mid 80's (today @ 82), we need to be mindful that the peak of our hurricane season is right around the corner. With that in mind, here are some youtube videos of past storms that have impacted our area.

Hurricane Ophelia--September 14, 2005
Landfall Location
: Outer Banks (skirted SE NC coast)
Category: 1 (at landfall in Outer Banks.), (Wilmington
Wind Speed: 59 miles per hour (North Carolina), 78 miles per hour @ Kure Beach(Highest)
Total Dollar Damage: $70 million (North Carolina)
Deaths: 0 (North Carolina)
Special Details: Flash floods. Ophelia moved extremely slowly in and around North Carolina, causing the storm to drop more than 10 inches of rain on many coastal areas.

Hurricane Irene--Mid October 1999

Hurricane Floyd -- September 16, 1999
(NOTE: At 1:40 you'll see a perfect example of why you should never attempt to drive across a flooded roadway)
Landfall Location: Near Cape Fear, NC
Category: 2 (at landfall in N.C.), 4 (Highest)
Wind Speed: 62 miles per hour (North Carolina), 112 miles per hour @ Kure Beach(Highest)
Major Areas Affected: Nearly all of eastern NC experienced extreme flooding
Major Damage Types: Structural, agricultural, and environmental
Total Dollar Damage: $4 billion (North Carolina)
Deaths: 35 (North Carolina)
Injuries: Not available
Special Details: Flash floods and severe rainfall. In Wilmington, the storm total of 19.06 inches included a 24-hour record of 15.06 inches. Extensive flooding led to overflowing rivers; nearly every river basin in eastern North Carolina reached 500 year or greater flood levels.


Hurricane Fran--September 5, 1996
Landfall Location: Near Cape Fear, North Carolina
Category: 3 (at landfall in N.C.), 3 (Highest)
Wind Speed: 115 miles per hour (North Carolina), 120 miles per hour (Highest)
Major Areas Affected: New Hanover, Brunswick, Onslow, Carteret, Pender Counties, and some eastern parts of North Carolina. Topsail Island received the worst damage.
Major Damage Types: Structural, agricultural, and environmental
Total Dollar Damage: $4 billion (North Carolina)
Deaths: 21 (North Carolina)
Injuries: Not available
Structural Damage: Many beach front homes completely destroyed
Special Details: Flash floods, severe storm surge, and severe rainfall. Many effects were felt as far inland as Raleigh, North Carolina. Oceanfront homes were destroyed by beach erosion and waves.


Hurricane Bonnie--August 26, 1998
Landfall Location
: Cape Fear, North Carolina
Category: 2 (at landfall in N.C.), 3 (Highest)
Wind Speed: 110 miles per hour (North Carolina), 115 miles per hour (Highest)
Major Areas Affected: New Hanover County, Pender, and Onslow. Also other Coastal and eastern parts of North Carolina
Major Damage Types: Agricultural (tobacco crop was worst hit), and some structural
Total Dollar Damage: Between $1 and $2 billion (North Carolina)
Deaths: 1 (North Carolina)
Injuries: Not available
Structural Damage: Comparable to Hurricane Bertha
Special Details: Hurricane Bonnie pounded the coast of North Carolina for two days. The hurricane was the size of Texas. Hurricane force winds detected up to 115 miles outward and tropical storm force winds detected 230 miles from storm center. Torrential rains occurred. Flooding in New Hanover County was about 2 feet higher than Bertha and 2 feet lower than Fran.

[Information gathered from NOAA Coastal Services Center, Wikipedia, National Weather Forecast Service.]

August 4, 2008

Check Out Cinema Jane's New Blog...What to Buy Your Girlfriend

Some interesting ideas for the lost males of the world...I count myself in that category. And I must say if it wasn't for her website, I would have never known that one can actually purchase a rhinestone toolkit.

(click on picture to open website)

September 13th Texas Hold'em Tournament to Benefit the Ongoing Boardwalk Makeover

When: Saturday, Sept. 13th 2008
Where: Courtyard Marriott @ Carolina Beach
Amount to Enter: Buy In is $150 Contribution
Early Registration Special: Players that pre-register prior to 9/12/08 receive 1000 extra chips.
Sign In: From 11:00AM - 12Noon
Starts: 1:00PM
Note: Lunch provided at Noon.
Prizes Include: Sony 40’ flat screen TV, Weekend Golf Packages, Vacation Getaway, and many other great prizes
**On-line registration is coming soon! Until then, you may pre-register in person at Michael's Seafood and Blackhorn Bar and Kitchen.

This event is brought to you by the hardworking volunteers of the Boardwalk Makeover Project/ Pleasure Island Foundation. With your support, we will continue to make forward strides in the revitalization of our town’s seaside boardwalk.

More Details Click Here

Erin's Restaurant Review: Trolly Stop Hot Dogs

4 our of 5 stars...

Love, love, love Trolly Stop. I can't say enough about them. The hot dogs are the best and super cheap. They have that great crushed ice that makes a restaurant for me.

The best part is that no matter what part of the area you're in, you can go to a Trolly Stop.

Feeling hoity-toity? Go to the TS at Wrightsville Beach. Personally, I can't stand in line in the hot beach sun for 30 minutes just to get a hot dog.

Feeling more laid-back? Go to the TS at Carolina Beach. My personal favorite, since I happen to live 1/2 mile down the road.

Work downtown and have a short lunch break? Go to the TS downtown. I love this one because the dinning room is so spacious. Feels like an actual restaurant.

In between classes? Go to the TS across from the College next to PT's. I haven't been to this one since I'm rarely on that side of town, but I could imagine that it gets pretty darned busy.

In Southport for a leisurly Saturday? Hit up the TS there too.

SO many choices!!

I'm going to dock them a star because most of the locations are only open for the summer. That means when it's 75 degrees in January (which it tends to be here) and you're at the beach you can't get a hot dog. :(

Trolly Stop Hot Dogs
103 Cape Fear Blvd
Carolina Beach, NC 28428

Click Here For Additional Pleasure Island Restaurant Reviews

Click Here to View Available Online Menus of Pleasure Island Restaurants

August 1, 2008

A Shark and a Kayak Equal an Interesting "Shark Week" Tale

Kaleb5000, who posts on, recently shared his experience of catching a 3 to 3 1/2 foot hammerhead shark while kayak fishing at Fort Fisher. For any readers who are not familiar with kayaks, they are small plastic boats that one does not normally associate with hammerhead shark fishing.

Kaleb has been a lifelong freshwater fisherman and over the years has typically fished from canoes. It was only recently that he took up saltwater fishing and this was only his second time fishing at Fort Fisher. So on July 26th, he headed out to bay 2 at Fort Fisher with two of his friends. The action started off good as they caught a speckled trout and flounder. After awhile, they decided to net some live bait and start working some of the deeper holes.

Then he struck. At first it was just a slight tap tap of the rod but seconds later the line started screaming off the reel. Within no time, the shark began pulling Kaleb and his Kayak towards the rock jetty. Fearing that he might damage the boat if it struck the rocks, he put his rod in the holder and began paddling further out to open water. Once clear of the rocks, he was able to focus on landing the shark. It took about five minutes to wrestle him up towards the boat. As the shark finally broke the surface and began playing the bongos off the hollowed kayak, a moment of slight intimidation descended on Kaleb as he realized that he had never actually handled a shark. Fortunately one of his friends, who was an experienced saltwater fisherman, wrangled the shark and handed it over to Kaleb so pictures could be taken.

Following a few Kodak moments, the shark was released unharmed. But in his waning seconds of captivity, he was able to steal one final glimpse of the kayak.

CBT has since learned that the shark was last seen eyeballing some birdwatching tourist enjoying one of the many guided kayak nature tours. The plastic boats forever marked...

(PS. For the the actual fisherman readers...he was using a browning bait-caster and a 30 lb test power pro. He was bottom fishing using a cork rigged between the weight and hook in order to help float the bait off the bottom. The time of day was nearing noon and the depth was approximately 14 feet.)

Kaleb5000 with his prize (click any picture to enlarge)

Don't forget this is Shark Week at the Fort Fisher Aquarium! ___________________________________________________________

Chowhound: Carolina Beach Dine & Drink Report by Cajun Willie

I came across this interesting post by Cajun Willie on a site called Cajun W. offers his take on various restaurants and bars located on Pleasure Island and in nearby Monkey Junction.

Here is a list of the establishments that he discusses:

(Carolina &Kure Beach)
-Jack Mackerels
-Blackhorn Bar and Kitchen
-Shuckin’ Shack
-Tuscan Grill
-The Gulf Stream Restaurant
-Kate’s Pancake House
-Sandpiper Subs
-Michelangelo’s Pizza
-The Trolley Stop
-Cook’s Doghouse
-The Last Resort
-The Fat Pelican

(Monkey Junction/Myrtle Grove)
-Dan’s Mason Bistro

Link to the article at Chowhound:
Carolina Beach Dine and Drink Report

Click Here For Carolina Beach Today Restaurant Reviews

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