December 23, 2009

Snowy day on January 20, 2009 @ Kure Beach Pier

December 15, 2009

Diving Carolina Wrecks...and spotting a few sharks along the way

Check out this excellent blog account of a west coast diver who came out east to check out North Carolina wrecks. Both his photos and narrative truly make you want to immediately head out and take in a dive.

This reduced quailty photo is from his post. To see this and other amazing photos in full quality and size, head over to:

December 8, 2009

Video: Visiting Zeke's Island on a SUP

Here's a cool video of a father SUP'ing to Zeke's Island with his sons. The island is on the Cape Fear River side of the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. He was nice enough to send it my way for posting. As an added bonus, he selected some great music to go with the video. Enjoy!

Information on Zeke's Island

December 6, 2009

A Black Bear Has Taken Up Residence in Landfall

The Security at Landfall sent out a taped telephonic message to all residents of Landfall (located across the bridge from Wrightsville Beach) approximately two days ago warning residents of a black bear that had been spotted roaming Landfall. They stated that the NC Wildlife Resource Commission has advised them that a relocation permit will not be issued and that Landfall is most likely a temporary resting place and that he/she will move on shortly

I've seen news stories about black bears on the mainland side of the Outer Banks but this is the first I've heard of a black bear this close to the coast in Wilmington.

You can hear the taped message from security here.
Stock photo credit

November 26, 2009

November 28, 2009 Turkey Troty to Benefit Carolina Beach State Park

The Wilmington Roadrunners Board has decided that this year’s Turkey Trot 4 mile Trail Run/Walk on November 28th, which along with the Seaside Shuffle, are the only 2 Club “owned” races, will be partnering with Carolina Beach State Park to establish a discretionary fund for the Park and administered by the WRRC, to help support Park projects such as trail maintenance and upgrades, nature programs, and any other uses to be determined by Park Staff for special purchases not met by its allocated budget.

This endeavor will be funded with proceeds from the race, half of the profits will be returned to the Club treasury for its needs, and the other half will be designated for Carolina Beach State Park. The Park staff has allowed the WRRC and other organizations to use its facilities for many running/walking events for more than 30 years. With the Turkey Trot we will be in a position to give back to “our” Park, which, at least can serve as an overdue thanks for allowing us to benefit from it so many times in the past. Last years Race Directors, Dan and Alice Salottolo report that the race profited over $3000 thanks to participation from our sponsors and the hearty souls who came out despite cold and rain.

This race is unique to this area, in that its course is challenging and different, in that it is run almost entirely in the woods. Additionally, runners will receive a short sleeve Tech T Shirt this year and, as usual, a full course catered breakfast! Walkers are also encouraged to participate and family members not running or walking can purchase breakfast tickets to enjoy with everyone else. This is a great family event, particularly, with good weather.

Entry forms will be available in most of the usual places around town, or for information you can call Race Director Nick Parker at Omega Sports, 762-7212 ( or Dan Salottolo at (

Early registration is encouraged and don’t forget to bring family members for breakfast in the Park. Join with the Wilmington Roadrunners Club and help us enhance and promote this valuable resource that is Carolina Beach State Park!!

The race will be held Saturday, November 28th, beginning at the Marina Parking lot at the Carolina Beach State Park in Carolina Beach. The entry fee is $35.00 and includes an all you can eat hot breakfast buffet--additional breakfast tickets are available for $9.00 a person. Race day registration and packet pick-up will be Saturday, November 28th from 7-8:30 a.m. at the Carolina Beach Recreation Center.

November 25, 2009

NJ Message in a Bottle Washes Up on Outer Banks 24 Years Later

AP: Last week's nor'easter helped deliver a message in a bottle that was tossed into the ocean 24 years ago from New Jersey to North Carolina.

Ocean City held a contest in 1985 to reward the vacationer whose bottle traveled the farthest. The message was written by Heidi Kay Werstler of Trembler's Trailer Park in Pennsylvania.

Workers at The Sanderling Resort & Spa in Duck, on the Outer Banks, found the bottle while cleaning up after last week's storm.

The contest has long since expired. But Ocean City wants to track down Werstler to award her a prize of saltwater taffy.

Source: WITN
Photo Credit

Edit 11/27: Heidi Kay Werstler comes forward

November 20, 2009

Wilmington Star: Fort Fisher Dig Uncovers Pre-Civil War Lighthouse

For the first time in probably 146 years, someone picked up a broom and swept the floor of the small lighthouse. But this time it wasn’t the lightkeeper. It was Julep Gillman-Bryan, a worker with the N.C. Underwater Archaeology Department.

She and a dozen or so others uncovered the foundation and a few artifacts left behind from what was once a 40-foot tall structure standing in what is now called Battle Acre at Fort Fisher State Historic Site...

From records, they already knew the lighthouse was built in 1816, long before the Civil War brought thousands of Confederate and Union soldiers to two bloody clashes here on the jut of land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River...

...they also knew that it was remodeled about 1836 after a fire burned the top 10 feet of the lighthouse. Because the intense heat of the fire made the brick and coquina dangerously brittle, it’s likely construction workers decided not to re-build it to the original height.

The structure aided navigation through the early years of the Civil War. But then, Steele said, the fort’s commander, Col. William Lamb, decided it was just to much of a target for Federal gunships and he had his soldiers dismantle it in 1863.

Read the complete Wilmington Star article (with photo)

November 13, 2009

I Suppose Friday the 13th IS an Unlucky Day

After tracking our beach water temp for nearly 45 days, I can now say I have an answer to my October 4th post titled, "How Long Does the Ocean Temp at Carolina Beach Stay Above 70 Degrees?" Today, November 13th, the water temp finally dipped below the 70 degree mark. So when people ask if they can still swim in October or even November, the answer is yes. Especially if they are from Northern areas and are used to cooler water. If the person asking is from Florida, just keep in mind they pull out their shorties when the water temps fall below 80.

To see the daily tracking numbers...or near daily tracking (it's been a busy time lately), check out this post:

November 11, 2009

16' Great White Spotted Off of Wrightsville Beach

The Wilmington Star reports that a local fisherman had a close encounter with a Great White Shark about a mile of the the Oceanic Pier. Per the Star News article:
Steve Boehling said he was in awe when he came across the largest ocean creature he had ever seen while fishing about a mile off the coast of Wrightsville Beach. Apparently that large creature lurking off the coast of New Hanover County was a great white shark.

“First I saw a fin, and the first thing I thought was it was another dolphin,” he said. But then he and his fishing partner Mike Ross pulled their boat alongside the object and noticed it was just a foot or two shorter than their 18-foot boat. He said the shark had no markings and had a white underbelly and very large teeth...

Mr. Boehling offered this additional report on
"Sunday afternoon I was trolling through a school of false albacore's around 1 mile off Crystal Pier in about 30' of water when my friend saw a fin and said to go and take a look. As we got closer the shark crossed my bow about 10 feet away. If anyone that was in the water on Sunday can testify, the water was crystal clear. As we passed the shark my friend and I started freaking about the size of this shark (16 to 18 feet). I turned the boat and pulled along side this monster and we both said at the same time that the shark was a Great White. This thing was HUGE! My CC is 18' and this shark was about the same size and had a width of around 6'.

This shark didn't move when we pulled alongside, he just kept going on his course behind the school of fish. We were no more then 4 feet away from this shark for about 100+ yards until he decided to slowly dive under the boat and just disappear. We got the most amazing view of this shark due to how clear the water was. I have 2 pics from my cell phone, 1 of his fin when we first saw him and the next when he started to go under.

here to read the complete Star News article and see a clearer, full size photo.
here to read Mr. Boehling's post on WB Live Surf.

As cool and interesting it is to hear about this encounter, one should know that Great Whites are found up and down the entire eastern seaboard. They favor water temps from the mid 50's to mid 70's so it is safe to assume that they are not nearly as prevalent during our summer (swimming months) as our water temps reach into the mid 80's. And one more tidbit, there does not appear to have ever been a Great White shark attack off the NC coast. So, take a deep breath, relax and appreciate these apex predators without worrying about being on their menu.

Here are two excellent videos of Great Whites from the Outer Banks.

And finally, I have to leave you with this. In Australia, swimmers and surfers have to deal with the fact that 10' Great Whites are often considered snacks for the "larger" Great Whites that favor those waters.

This stunning picture shows a 10ft Great White thrashing about with two massive chunks missing on either side of its body, off the Queensland coast. Experts said its rival may be 20ft (about six metres) long, judging by the size of the huge bites.

Sky News article about the Queensland shark

2009 Hot Wax Surf Challenge Photos

I'm told that the 2009 Hot Wax Surf Challenge, which was held this past weekend in Carolina Beach, was a big success. Check out these great event pictures from the Surf Carolina Magazine facebook page.

November 8, 2009

Photo Simulation Shows Wind Turbines Off the Carolina Coast

Large wind turbines would be clearly visible two miles off the Carolina coast but would all but disappear into the haze eight miles out to sea, a new photo simulation shows.

Clemson's South Carolina Institute for Energy Studies created the simulation as part of Santee Cooper's research into the viability of building a wind farm off the Grand Strand.

The visual impact of the wind turbines has been a major hurdle for some projects in the United States and Europe.

"We think it's important to give people an idea of what it looks like," said Marc Tye, Santee Cooper's vice president of conservation and renewable energy. "We want people to form opinions based on the facts."

Earlier this summer, Santee Cooper and Coastal Carolina University placed two strings of buoys off the Grand Strand to measure winds. One was at the north end near North Myrtle Beach; the other was at the south end, closer to Debordieu Beach.

Based on data captured by these buoys, Santee Cooper will build a tower to capture wind measurements at heights of more than 220 feet, slightly less than the height of a typical offshore wind turbine. Santee Cooper recently received proposals from five companies and is expected to award the design contract within a week. In all, the wind measurement tower will cost about $1 million. Tye said construction of the tower should start in early 2010.

Meanwhile, Clemson researchers used special software designed to show what large turbines would look like at various distances. One photo shows how a 12-turbine wind farm seven miles off the coast of Little River would appear under blue skies. In that photo, the turbines look like small white straws sticking up from the ocean.

A second photo shows what a wind farm would look like 8.7 miles off the coast of Debordieu on a cloudier day. In these conditions, the towers all but vanish into the haze. A third photo shows towers at distances ranging from two to eight miles.

The distance issue is important because it may be less expensive to build and maintain a wind farm closer to shore. At the same time, winds tend to be stronger farther offshore, which means they may generate more power, Tye said

"The problem is not whether (a wind farm) can be done," Tye said. "It's whether it can be done cost-effectively." He added that "so far we haven't seen anything yet that rules it out, and that in itself is progress."

Santee Cooper's project is part of a surge in interest in wind power in South Carolina. Another notable wind project involves a consortium led by Clemson's Restoration Institute. The group is vying with several states for a $45 million grant to build a national offshore turbine testing lab at the former Navy base. The grant is expected to be announced soon and could be a magnet for wind-manufacturing industries.

Post and Courier Article
Santee Cooper Press Release (article basis)
Wind Turbine Photo

Photos Downloaded from Santee Cooper with the accompanying descriptions (click to enlarge):

Figure 1 North
This photo illustration shows how a 12-turbine wind farm off the coast of Little River might appear from a public beach in northern Horry County. The distance from shore to turbines is about 7.3 miles. Different light, wind and haze conditions could make them more or less visible.

Figure 2 South
This photo simulation compares the visibility of wind turbines placed at varying distances from shore. Specifically, the turbines are depicted at distances, left to right, of 2 miles, 3 miles, 4 miles, 5 miles, 6 miles, 7 miles and 8 miles from the shore. Different light, wind and haze conditions could make them more or less visible.

Figure 3 Composite
This photo simulation shows how a 40-MW wind farm placed off the coast of Winyah Bay could appear from Debordieu, the closest populated area to the Winyah Bay and about 8.7 miles from the hypothetical wind farm. The turbines are placed to match light and wind conditions at the time of the photo, which in this case decreased visibility. Different light, wind and haze conditions could make them more or less visible

**First ocean wind turbine project in the United States to be conducted in the Outer Banks. Information on the project from Campus Technology & Reuters

November 7, 2009

Wilmington Star: Officer Who Stopped Fort Hood Rampage Is Carolina Beach Native

November 6, 2009
By Shannan Bowen

Those who know Kimberly Barbour Munley said they aren’t surprised the Carolina Beach native is the female civilian police officer credited for stopping the deadly shooting at Fort Hood, where 13 people were killed and several others injured.

Kimberly Barbour MunleyMunley herself was injured, but she managed to shoot the gunman four times within three minutes of reported gunfire Thursday afternoon, Lt. Gen. Bob Cone said Friday morning.

“She was not afraid of anything,” said Wrightsville Beach Police Chief John Carey, who knew Munley when she worked for the department from 2000 to 2002.

“She is very small, but she had no fear,” he said.

Cone lauded Munley for encountering suspected gunman Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is hospitalized on a ventilator. “In an exchange of gunfire, she was wounded but managed to wound him four times,” Cone said. “It was an amazing and aggressive performance by this police officer.”

Munley arrived at the scene of Thursday’s shooting about seven minutes after it began, the head of Fort Hood’s emergency service said Friday.

Munley was outside the Soldier Readiness Center building when the shooter, who officials say is Hasan, emerged from the building gun in hand, said Chuck Medley, the director of emergency services at Fort Hood.

Hasan ran toward Munley, firing at her, Medley said. Munley returned fire with her pistol, hitting him.

Munley was shot in both legs and one wrist but is expected to make a full recovery, Medley said. He did not know how many times she was shot.

Hasan is reportedly in stable condition at an undisclosed hospital.

Medley said he visited Munley in the hospital early Friday and she was in good spirits.

“She’s got some surgeries (ahead) but she’s stable,” he said. “She’s the most upbeat injured person I’ve met.”

He said the military is flying her husband, who is stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., to see her soon.

Munley is a civilian police officer with the Department of the Army and serves as a SWAT team member and firearms instructor for the department, Medley said. He said she joined the police force in January 2008 after serving in the Army.

Kimberly Barbour MunleyMunley, 34, is the daughter of former Carolina Beach mayor Dennis Barbour. She grew up in Carolina Beach and graduated in 1993 from Hoggard High School.

Her father and stepmother, Wanda Barbour, were busy Friday afternoon trying to get a flight to Fort Hood so they could visit Munley in the hospital, where she remained in stable condition. They were also fielding calls from local and national media, including CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Inside Edition, according to workers at Island Tackle and Hardware in Carolina Beach, which is owned by the Barbours.

We’re just so grateful and thankful to the Lord that she’s safe,” Wanda Barbour said. “Our hearts just ache for the loss of others, too, and hers, too. She’s still upset about that.”

Barbour said she and her husband found out Thursday afternoon Munley was involved in the attack, but they didn’t find out until later she was the one the top commander at Fort Hood credited with stopping the shooting.

Like others, Barbour wasn’t surprised it was Munley who helped stop the shooter. “When they said a female officer, a little part of me just knew,” she said.

“She is a very great person with a great spirit,” she said.

Ron Strickland, a retired teacher from Hoggard High School, coached Munley’s volleyball team and remembered her as a fearless athlete who was interested in law enforcement.

“This doesn’t surprise me at all,” Strickland said of Munley’s heroism. “She was always very matter of fact.”

Munley graduated in 1999 from Cape Fear Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement program, said David Hardin, public information officer for the college.

Carey said the Wrightsville Beach Police Department was Munley’s first law enforcement job. She was first employed March 1, 2000 as a reserve officer and later worked as a beach patrol officer and as an officer in the Uniform Patrol Division. She left the department in February 2002.

Munley received three letters of commendation and recognition for her performance as a Wrightsville Beach police officer.

Investigator Shaun Appler, Munley’s former partner at the Wrightsville Beach Police Department, described her as a “ball of fire” who always showed courage.

On one occasion, Appler got into a fight with a belligerent man he was attempting to arrest, and ended up rolling down a hill with the attacker. He said Munley came to his rescue, charging down the hill and jumping on the attacker’s back. The two officers then secured and arrested the man.

When the fight was over, Appler learned his gun had almost been pried off his belt by the suspect. He credits Munley with saving his life.

“From then on I called her Mighty Mouse,” said Appler. “She’s a little dynamo.”

When he heard the news Thursday night that a female police officer had taken down the Fort Hood shooter, he wondered if it had been Munley.

“I was shocked to learn it was Kim, but not surprised,” he said. “This sounds sappy and stupid, but she’s a fine example of law enforcement officers in America. She did an awesome job and we’re proud of her.”

A news release from the Wrightsville Beach Police Department offered condolences to the families of the soldiers killed and wounded in the shooting, and praised Munley.

On Friday afternoon, many people sent messages to Munley’s Twitter account, expressing gratitude and wishes for a speedy recovery.

Country singer Dierks Bentley, who appears with Munley in a photo on Munley’s Twitter page, posted the following message Friday on his own Twitter page: “was able to speak to sgt munley & pass along my prayers for a speedy recovering. she’s tough! and couldn’t be more nice or humble.real hero.” Bentley said he had performed July 4 at Fort Hood.

In the biography section of Munley’s Twitter account, she summed up her life with the following message: “I live a good life … a hard one, but I go to sleep peacefully @ night knowing that I may have made a difference in someone’s life.”

Staff writer Chris Mazzolini contributed to this story, which also contains material from the Associated Press and reporter Patrick George of the American-Statesman newspaper in Austin, Texas.

Wilmington Star Article
Other News Coverage

November 5, 2009

The Fifth Annual Flat Bottom Girls Flounder Tournament

November 4, 2009
(Although this is not a Pleasure Island event, we are posting it here because the tournament is for a wonderful cause that should be supported by everyone in the Wilmington area)

Wrightsville Beach, NC: Don’t forget Fish for Tomorrow’s 5th Annual Flat Bottom Girls Flounder Tournament on Saturday, November 6 & 7.

The tournament is an ingenious way of replenishing the Cape Fear Region’s depleted flounder stock. The “live weigh-in” format means that the fish are kept alive so that they can be donated to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and North Carolina State University. Eggs are taken from pregnant females and fertilized to grow a new generation of flounder.

Last year 15 boats participated in the event which is held at the Dockside Marina in Wrightsville Beach. The cost is $125 per boat and the first 15 largest flounder will bring guaranteed prizes of $100 to $1,000. The Captains meeting will be held at the Triangle Lounge on Friday, November 6 and the tournament will officially begin at daylight on Saturday, November 7.

Fish for Tomorrow was formed as a response to the dwindling numbers of flounder left in the wild in the Cape Fear Region. Their goal is to rebuild the flounder population levels and promote sustainable fishing practices. They hope to achieve these goals by:

· Restocking flounder in local waters. Their hatchery program at South Brunswick High School has resulted in the release of millions of flounder hatchlings in the last two years.
· Placing artificial reef material into near and inshore protected areas to provide a good habitat for flounder.
· Working closely with the existing Oyster Recycling program. This program creates new oyster reefs from recycled oyster shells which also provide a good habitat for flounder.

Call Tim Barefoot at (910) 264-9118 for more information.

October 22, 2009

Win $500 in the 2009 North Carolina Aquariums' Underwater Photo Contest

By Julie Powers

Atlantic Beach, NC - If you like to take photos, picture this -- your pastime could win you $500 in the 2009 North Carolina Aquariums’ Underwater Photo Contest. And you don’t even have to get wet.

The Aquatic Life at the North Carolina Aquariums category is reserved for photos of animals and exhibits at the three state Aquariums – at Fort Fisher, at Pine Knoll Shores and on Roanoke Island.

Divers can compete in two other categories, Underwater Animal Close-ups or Underwater Open, with photos taken in waters off the coast of North Carolina or within the state’s freshwater systems.

Amateur and non-professional photographers can enter up to three photographs in each category. Photos must be submitted online at by midnight, Dec. 31, 2009.

Cash prizes are awarded in each of the three categories – first place, $500; second place, $200; third place, $100; honorable mention $50.

The North Carolina Aquariums Division, under the N.C. Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, hosts the annual competition to highlight the state’s aquatic biodiversity. The Aquariums share the mission, “inspiring appreciation and conservation of North Carolina’s aquatic environments.”

See for complete contest rules and application details.

The three North Carolina Aquariums are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $8 for ages 18-61; $7 for ages 62 and up; $6 for ages 6-17; no charge for ages 5 and under and members of the North Carolina Aquariums.

October 15, 2009

1990 Parasailing Accident at Carolina Beach

Have you seen this video yet? Crazy stuff. It's was put out by the Wilmington Star and shows a parasailing accident that occurred on Carolina Beach in 1990.

These guys were attempting to parasail with the aid of a truck and it just didn't work out so well.... (at the :50 mark is when things turn bad)

October 10, 2009

Dow Road Widening Another Step Closer to Reality

Lumina News
by Brian Freskos
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

On Wednesday, Sept. 30, officials from different sectors of southeastern North Carolina met at City Hall to prioritize the region’s Top 25 transportation projects, including the construction of several new routes, interchanges and upgrades in New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties...

After more than a decade of planning, Carolina and Kure beaches earned a big win for the widening of Dow Road—a project that New Hanover County officials say will strengthen an important economic corridor. The project was moved up from No. 24 to No. 4.

The project calls for the construction of improved shoulders along Dow Road, installing three left hand turn lanes for vehicles heading south, and the creation of a multi-use path to run from Carolina Beach State Park to the municipal park in Kure Beach, said Kure Beach Mayor Mac Montgomery.

The mayor was hopeful that this project would relieve some of the traffic congestion caused by the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the Fort Fisher aquarium, recreation area and the historical site as well as the Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry every year.

The Wilmington MPO was required to submit a list of priority projects by Oct. 30 to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), Mike Kozlosky, the MPO executive director said, during an interview Friday. None of the listed projects have funding associated with them.

Since the Top 25 has been approved by the MPO, the local state division will create its own list, and both lists will be submitted to the NCDOT, that will then evaluate the projects based on certain criteria, namely mobility, safety and infrastructure health.

Other top projects include an extension of Independence Boulevard from Randall Parkway to Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway; a Military Cutoff Road Extension from Market Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway; and three median improvements on Market Street.

The complete list of projects:

1. Extend Independence Boulevard from Randall Parkway to the Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.
2. Extend Military Cutoff Road by constructing a new route from Market Street/US 17 to I-40/US-17 Bypass.
3. Widen Village Road from Navassa Road to Lanvale Road.
4. Widen and make improvements to Dow Road from Lake Park Boulevard/US-421 to K Avenue.
5. Construct a new route on the Hampstead Bypass from I-140/US 17 Bypass east to a point east of Hampstead—terminating at US Hwy 17 in Pender County.
6. Construct an interchange at Old Fayetteville Road and US 74/76.
7. Upgrade College Road between Murrayville/Gordon Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.
8. Construct a Kerr Avenue interchange at Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.
9. Make median improvements on Market Street from Eastwood Road to Military Cutoff Road.
10. Make median improvements on Market Street from Military Cutoff Road to Porters Neck Road.
11. Construct a northbound lane on College road from Shipyard Boulevard to Wilshire Boulevard.
12. Construct a roundabout at US 117 and NC 133 in Castle Hayne.
13. Widen Castle Hayne Road/NC 133 from Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway to I-140.
14. Widen Gordon Road from College Road/I-40 to Market Street.
15. Widen River Road from the Cape Fear Skyway to US 17/74/76.
16. Construct an extension of Scientific Park Drive into Creekwood and closure of Kornegay Drive.
17. Widen Carolina Beach road from Sanders Road to College Road/NC 132/ Piner Road.
18. Construct a Masonboro Loop Road connection by building a new route from Carolina Beach Road to Piner Road.
19. Construct an interchange at the intersection of Blue Clay Road and the Wilmington Bypass.
20. Relocate River Road south of Shipyard Boulevard.
21. Widen North 23rd Street from Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway to Castle Hayne Road/NC 133.
22. Make Plantation Road improvements by constructing a new route from Military Cutoff Road extension east to Market Street at Porters Neck Road.
23. Construct a new route between Mt. Misery Road and Cedar Hill Road.
24. A Magnolia Drive extension by improving the facility from Mt. Misery Road to Old Mill Road.
25. Construct median improvements on Market Street from Colonial Drive to Kerr Avenue.

Picture courtesy of Dow Road Corridor Study

October 6, 2009

Fort Fisher Ghost Hike

On October 9, 10, 23, 24 and 29, Fort Fisher will be turned over to ghosts. Well not really, but you will have the opportunity to accompany a Ranger down the trails of Fort Fisher State Recreation Area to explore the unexplained phenomenon that surrounds the Fort Fisher Area. These trails are normally closed during night hours but they will be open on these nights for those who join the Ranger on the ghost hike.

To read about the paranormal activity that surrounds Fort Fisher and to see a video of an actual Fort Fisher ghost hunt, check out this Halloween post from last October (The Ghosts of Fort Fisher).

You will need to call 910-458-5798 to reserve your spot because space is limited. Participants will meet at the visitor center at 8:00 pm. You may bring flashlights if you like.

October 4, 2009

How Long Does the Ocean Temp at Carolina Beach Stay Above 70 Degrees?

You know? I just don't have a clue. But I know it is a question on some visitors minds...until what month can they come to Carolina Beach and still enjoy a swim in the ocean?

Assuming that most people can somewhat comfortably tolerate 70 degree water, we'll keep track on a daily basis until we hit that mark.

Come next Spring, we'll start another post and track upwards as we approach the 70 degree water temperature mark.

October 4, 2009: 78.1
October 5, 2009: 78.0
October 6, 2009: 77.9
October 7, 2009: 77.9
October 8, 2009: 77.8
October 9, 2009: 77.6
October 10, 2009: 77.4
October 11, 2009: 77.5
October 12, 2009: 77.5
October 13, 2009: 77.4
October 14, 2009: 77.2
October 15, 2009: 77.0
October 17, 2009: 75.8
October 18, 2009: 75.3
October 20, 2009: 73.1
October 21, 2009: 71.7
October 22, 2009: 71.4
October 24, 2009: 72.2
October 27, 2009: 72.7
October 28, 2009: 71.9
October 31, 2009: 71.9
November 1, 2009: 72.3
November 2, 2009: 72.5
November 3, 2009: 72.5
November 6, 2009: 71.2
November 7, 2009: 70.8
November 9, 2009: 70.9
November 11, 2009: 70.7
November 12, 2009: 70.7
November 13, 2009: 69.8

Pleasure Island Lifeguards...Again, We Say Thank You!

Our sincere appreciation is extended to all the Pleasure Island lifeguards--Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue, Kure Beach Lifeguards and Fort Fisher Lifeguards. This year, more so than previous years, was an extremely busy year for all three services. Carolina Beach had around 200 rescues for the season with three fatalities (two when lifeguards were off duty). Kure Beach documented about 150 rescues and one fatality. And our neighbors to the north, Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue (who also do an exceptional job year in and year out), had 275 rescues with one fatality.

As noted in a
WWAY news story, rescue records from all three beaches were way up from last year. Ocean Rescue attributes it to exceptionally hazardous surf conditions. Dave Baker from Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue said, "The conditions were such that we had red flag days, where we had strong and numerous rip currents, one day we actually had 65 rescues, with one rip current pulling out 22 people."

Bottom-line, this season was plagued by rip currents which taxed all our area guards. They worked tirelessly keeping swimmers safe even though many inexperienced swimmers ventured too far out on red flag days. It is only because of the dedication and work ethic of our lifeguards that we didn't have more tragedies this summer.

So, we all say thank you. Thank you for keeping our residents and tourists safe during this trying season. So with that said, enjoy your winter off because come next summer, we'll need you back on your towers!!

Here are some youtube videos that show the difficulty and challenges faced by our area lifeguards this past summer season.

Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue effecting a rescue as Hurricane Bill churned off the coast (check out the conditions):

VisitNC video on the Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue:

October 2, 2009

Basking Shark Washed Ashore in Sanderling, NC

Here are a few photos of a basking shark that washed up on shore near Duck, NC about two weeks ago. The shark was over 20' in length.

It's always a sad day when something like this happens but it is also an opportunity for onlookers to get an up close look at an elusive giant of the sea. And ultimately, these encounters help people think a bit more about marine conservation (no matter the circumstances). I was unable to find any information on the cause of death.

Since I wasn't very familiar with this species of shark, I figured others like me might find this interesting.


Photobucket Photos Courtesy of Carolyn J. Drost

**NOTE 12/18/2010: Ms. Drost's top photo has been used in a newly created urban legend. Read more here

Here's some select info on the basking shark from wikipedia:

The basking shark, Cetorhinus maximus, is the second largest living shark, after the whale shark. It is a cosmopolitan species — it is found in all the world's temperate oceans. It is a slow moving and generally harmless filter feeder. This shark is called the basking shark because it is most often observed when feeding at the surface and appears to be basking.

The basking shark is a coastal-pelagic shark found worldwide in boreal to warm-temperate waters around the continental shelves. It has traditionally been observed in waters between (46 and 57° F) but recently they have been confirmed to cross the equator. It is often seen close to land and will enter enclosed bays. The shark will follow concentrations of plankton in the water column and is therefore often visible on the surface. They are a highly migratory species leading to seasonal appearances in certain areas of the range. The basking shark is found from the surface down to at least 3,000 ft.

The basking shark is one of the largest known sharks, second only to the whale shark. The largest specimen accurately measured was trapped in a herring net in the Bay of Fundy, Canada in 1851. Its total length was 40.3 ft, and it weighed an estimated 19 tons. Normally the basking shark reaches a length of between 20 ft and a little over 26 ft. Some specimens surpass even 33 ft, but after years of hard fishing, specimens of this size have become exceedingly rare.

Basking sharks possess the typical lamniform body plan (distinguished by possessing two dorsal fins, an anal fin, five gill slits, eyes without nictitating membranes, and a mouth extending behind the eyes) and have been mistaken for great white sharks. The two species can be easily distinguished, however, by the basking shark's cavernous jaw (up to 3ft in width, held wide open while feeding), longer and more obvious gill slits (which nearly encircle the head and are accompanied by well-developed gill rakers), smaller eyes, and smaller average girth.

The basking shark is a passive filter feeder, filtering zooplankton, small fish and invertebrates from up to 2,000 tons of water per hour. Unlike the megamouth shark and whale shark, the basking shark does not appear to actively seek its quarry, but it does possess large olfactory bulbs that may guide it in the right direction. Unlike the other large filter feeders, it relies only on the water that is pushed through the gills by swimming; the megamouth shark and whale shark can suck or pump water through their gills.

Basking sharks are not considered dangerous to humans but contact with their skin should be avoided because the large dermal denticles have been known to inflict serious damage to divers and scientists. The giant sharks are generally considered tolerant of humans but have been known to attack boats after being harpooned.

Historically, the basking shark has been a staple of fisheries because of its slow swimming speed, unaggressive nature and previously abundant numbers. Commercially it was put to many uses: the flesh for food and fishmeal, the hide for leather, and its large liver (which has a high squalene content) for oil. It is currently fished mainly for its fins (for shark fin soup). Parts (such as cartilage) are also used in traditional Chinese medicine and as an aphrodisiac in Japan, further adding to demand.

As a result of rapidly declining numbers, the basking shark has been protected and trade in its products restricted in many countries. It is fully protected in the UK, Malta, Florida and US Gulf and Atlantic waters.

October 1, 2009

Gloucester Whale Has Been Moved

For everyone following the earlier post regarding the humpback whale that washed ashore in Gloucester County, VA. Yesterday morning the whale was removed by SeaTow (who offered their services for free) and the carcass was anchored down at the bottom of the York river. Check the original story for the updated video.

Pleasure Island Elections Town Hall Debate October 8th

The 3rd Annual Snow’s Cut Town Hall Debate

On October 8, Snow’s Cut Monthly and 106.3 FM the Big Talker will present a town hall debate featuring all of the candidates for public office in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. The event will be broadcast live from 6-9pm.

The candidates for Kure Beach Mayor and Town Council, along with the candidates for Carolina Beach Town Council will meet at Shanty’s Beach and Blues Club in Carolina Beach. As always, we welcome questions from our readers and the audience. You can ask them yourself, or submit them to us anonymously. Curtis Wright, from 106.3 FM the Big Talker will be the host and Mike Hoffer from Snow’s Cut Monthly will be the moderator.

The schedule will proceed as follows:

5:00 – 6:00 Informal meet and greet
6:00 – 6:15 Introduction
6:15 – 6:50 Candidates for Kure Beach Town Council
7:00 – 7:45 Candidates for Kure Beach Mayor
7:50 – 8:45 Candidates for Carolina Beach Town Council
8:45 – 9:00 Wrap up

Bingo Bash Marathon Nov 21st at the K. B. Hines Senior Center

Saturday, November 21, 2009
308 Cape Fear Blvd.
Carolina Beach


All Cash Prizes $300-$400-$500 GAMES
Doors open at 9:00AM
Games start at 11:00 AM

Snack Bar Available FREE Coffee, Donuts & Popcorn

Limited seating so call early for reservations
Contact Dee @ 910-458-6609 OR 619-2100
Ladies & Gentleman, we have a winner!

September 30, 2009

Humpback Whale Washes Ashore in Gloucester County, VA

What do you do when a 30' humpback whale washes ashore on private party? Who is responsible for disposing of the whale? Unfortunately, for one Virginia family, they found themselves confronted with this exact problem.

But alas, their problem was short lived. Since the dead whale was of interest to Marine Biologists with the Virginia Aquarium's Stranding Team, the aquarium has taken over and will oversee the removal. As of now, a private towing company has been contracted to remove the 20 ton whale. The carcass will be towed to an uninhabited island and secured to keep it away from boat traffic. (If there is a video of the whale removal, which I assume there will be, I'll add it to this post later).

Here's the latest from WTKR:

Whale still photo credit

UPDATE 10/01/2009--WTKR exclusive coverage of the whale carcass being removed:

September 28, 2009

Fort Fisher Live Oaks & Waterfront Video

Here's a cool video of the Fort Fisher Live Oaks ('bendy trees' as the videographer explains) and the waterfront. In case you're short on time, start watching from the 2:10 mark (beautiful blue sky). The length of the video is 3:24.

Britt's Donuts Has Closed for the 2009 Season

I heard that yesterday was the final day to get a doughy piece of heaven from Britt's Donuts. They will be closed until the first week of April, 2010.

So for all you doughnut lovers...I guess you're stuck with carrot sticks til next spring.

3rd Annual Pleasure Island Surf Fishing Challenge to be Held October 16th thru 18th

16, 17, and 18 October 2009

It’s exciting to invite local and regional surf anglers to the 3rd annual Pleasure Island Surf Fishing Challenge. Pleasure Island-made up of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Fort Fisher-provides a great island for surf fishing and hosting this area’s premiere land-based fishing tournament. We welcome everyone to join us for this year’s “Challenge.”

The previous two years have seen some great fishing, even with tough weather conditions at times (great job anglers). Each year over 250 anglers have participated, and in the last two years they’ve taken home over $24,000 in cash and prizes.

We continue to focus our efforts on providing a beach friendly, family fun, well-organized fishing event that gives anglers a chance at winning great prizes.

Here are some of the continued highlights of our tournament:

1. Over 40 ways to win an estimated $12,000 in prize money
2. Every participant receives a free raffle ticket for a chance to win a variety of great prizes
3. Complimentary food and drinks at the Awards Ceremony, sponsored and catered by Golden Corral. Golden Corral is returning with a great lunch selection from 12:00-2:00 on Sunday
4. Junior Angler, Lady Angler, and Senior Angler prize categories
5. Complimentary access to the Freeman Park 4wd Access Area at the North End of Carolina Beach for tournament anglers showing their pass and armband
6. Three weigh stations open around the clock

We not only want to provide a tournament that has a great payout with many opportunities to win, but to have an event that gives back to the community. The tournament works toward promoting awareness of mentoring youth in our region, and the tournament serves as a fund raising event for the Big Buddy Program of the Cape Fear Volunteer Center.

We are proud that each year we have worked in partnership with the Cape Fear Volunteer Center to host a Big Buddy/Little Buddy Fishing Event at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area as part of National Make a Difference Day. In 2008, over 50 children were able to enjoy a day at the beach and some fishing. There is nothing quite like seeing an excited child’s smiling face after reeling in his/her first fish ever. This year’s Big Buddy/Little Buddy Event will be held Saturday, October 24.

Preparing for the 2009 has also shown the strong commitment and involvement of sponsors who make this event possible. We encourage everyone to recognize the sponsors listed throughout this tournament booklet and support their businesses. Please keep a copy of the tournament booklet and refer to it during the tournament and the year to come.

We’re asking you to join us for the fishing fun and a chance to win some great prizes. We hope you will make plans, get signed up, be ready to fish, see old friends, meet new ones, and be active in our community.

For complete information including rules, entry forms, times and contest prizes, check out the official Challenge website:

September 21, 2009

Another Video of the Leatherback Sea Turtle Hatching on Carolina Beach

Pleasure Island Featured in the Sept/Oct Edition of Carolina Currents-The Boating and Waterfront Magazine

Pleasure Island has a wonderful writeup in the Sept/Oct edition of Carolina Currents. The article primarily focuses on Carolina Beach but also gives good mention to Kure Beach and Fort Fisher.

The section on Carolina Beach opens with the following:
The main message for boaters looking for facilities in Carolina Beach is that a lot of new things are happening here. Efforts focused on making improvements for both local and transient boaters are numerous. From private marinas, to the State Park, to the Town Council, everyone seems to be intent on renovation and development.

The article concludes with:
For those who simply enjoy exploring the waterfront areas of the Carolina in your leisure time, this is a destination to put on your list. If you have visited before, the many ongoing renovation projects and constant improvements to the areas facilities make a good case for scheduling a return trip.

You can read the complete article (as well as the entire magazine) online. Click on the current magazine edition and the article begins on page 22.

You can also download the magazine as a PDF:

September 19, 2009

Fatal Shark Attack in Corolla, NC

Sep 18, 2009

A shark bite killed a Pittsburgh man who disappeared after going swimming on the Outer Banks this past weekend.

The body of Richard Snead was found Thursday when it washed up on the beach in Kill Devil Hills.

The State Medical Examiner's Office in Greenville says the 60-year-old man died from injuries from a shark bite.

Currituck County authorities say this is the first recorded case of a shark bite in their county since 2000.

Authorities say Snead was swimming near mile post 4.5 in Corolla sometime after 9:00 p.m. on September 12th and was reported missing right after midnight.

The last fatal confirmed fatal shark attack off the North Carolina coast was in September 2001.

It happened in Avon, near Cape Hatteras. A 27-year-old man was critically injured and died from blood loss. His girlfriend was also attacked. She lost her foot.

Both were Russian, living in Virginia, on vacation on the Outer Banks. The two were attacked while swimming near a sandbar around 6 p.m.

It was never confirmed what kind of shark attacked the two, but some reports suggested it was a bull shark.

Article Source:
Richard Snead

For additional shark related posts & photos, click

Leatherback Sea Turtles Hatched on September 14th

September 12, 2009

Upcoming 2009 Pleasure Island Surf Events: Hot Wax Challenge November 7 & 8 and the Carolina Surf Awards November 6 & 7

Carolina Beach will be a happening place for area surf enthusiasts this November 2009.

On November 6th and 7th, the Surf Carolina Magazine will be holding the Carolina Surf Awards at the Carolina Beach Courtyard Marriott.

As posted on their Facebook page: Selah Dubb rocks the coast on Friday night and Mojo Collins rips the guitar on Saturday night. We have 50 rooms blocked at $89.00 per night, or 50% off. This hotel... is VERY nice and well worth it. Also the HOT WAX Challenge is taking place right in front of the hotel. More info and a video will be coming next week!

On November 7th and 8th, the Hot Wax Surf Shop will be holding the Hot Wax Challenge at the Hamlet Ave beach access. They have been holding this event for 22 years at Wrightsville Beach and Fort Fisher but have selected Carolina Beach this year in order to take advantage of the renovated Boardwalk facilities and to tie into the Surf Award events at the Marriott. Michael Paul, Hot Wax founder, told the CB Town Council that they wanted to create an event that is different then anything the surfers have seen here before.

The 2 day event will take place from 8am to 6pm on Saturday & Sunday and they will have $50,000 in prizes and giveaways. Keep an eye on their website for additional information & entry forms.

NC Flatfish Championship September 18-19

Welcome back to the second year of the N.C. Flatfish Championship. We hope you decide to fish with us and be a part of the weekend festivities.

Joyner Marina will again serve as our tournament headquarters. Please come enjoy Joyner Marina’s view of Snow’s Cut and the ICW. Even if you don’t enter the tournament, we encourage you to come out Saturday afternoon from 1:00-4:00 to watch the weigh-in (and bring some money for t-shirts and raffle tickets).

As a reminder, this fall tournament is a true flounder tournament. First place goes to the boat with the heaviest two-flatfish aggregate. And, like last year, if you like a payout for the one biggest fish, then you’ll want to get in one or both of our TWT’s.

We saw some nice fish last year, but participants didn’t have to work too hard to get some prize money in their pocket. If you weighed in two fish that together totaled more than 3.21 lbs., then you would have at least won your entry fee back.

One new addition to this year’s N.C. Flatfish is our “Beat the Record” prize. If you set a new tournament record by beating last year’s two-flounder aggregate of 11.08 lbs., then you’ll win a hand-crafted copper art work compliments of Marine Copper Designs. You can check out this special award on page 15.

A popular returning feature is our live flounder bonus payouts. We’re paying out a $10 bonus (up to $20 per boat) for every flounder weighed in alive that makes the leader board. The live fish get released (or they are donated to UNCW’s flounder hatchery), and you get some extra cash. It’s a win/win.

Our beneficiary for the second year in a row is the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, a non-profit organization that works to protect pristine natural areas and waters on the coast of North Carolina. Since its inception, over 45,000 acres of barrier island beaches, marshes, and other special coastal areas have been protected, all recreational places in our community where both residents and visitors can boat, fish, kayak, or just enjoy the outdoors.

In addition to our participants, the success of the N.C. Flatfish Championship lies in the efforts of our sponsors, supporters, and volunteers. Please let them know that you appreciate their involvement and dedication to the flounder fishermen of North Carolina.

So here’s your shot at the title. Be the Champ!

For complete information and entry forms:

September 11, 2009


Bluegrass pics

For Immediate Release
September 11, 2009

Jerry Flake (910) 547-7969
Mike Hoffer (910) 612-1909
Thalian Association (910) 251-1788

Kure Beach, NC: The band line up continues to grow for the Southern Coastal Bluegrass Festival in Kure Beach, NC. Local acts Masonboro Sound and No Dollar Shoes will take the second stage Saturday, September 19 along with Asheville, NC favorites Johnson’s Crossroad. They’ll be competing for a paid spot on the main stage at next year’s festival and a gig at the popular Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar which is on the ocean in Carolina Beach.

“Our first goal was to bring in the most talented bluegrass bands in North Carolina. We’ve accomplished that,” said organizer Mike Hoffer. “Now we’re reaching out to the local bluegrass community as well. This event will truly be a showcase of the best bluegrass bands in the state and the Cape Fear Region.”

This is one of the most inexpensive, family friendly and relaxing events in North Carolina so mark your calendar for September 19 & 20. Spend the weekend along the Cape Fear River enjoying good music, dancing, arts and crafts, children’s entertainment, and great selection of food, beer and wines from Silver Coast Winery.

Advance tickets for the Southern Coastal Bluegrass Festival are just $10 per day and children under the age of 12 get in free. You can purchase tickets online at

The music plays on Saturday, September 19th, from 10:00am to 8:00pm and Sunday, September 20th, from 10:00am to 7pm at the Fort Fisher Military Recreation Center in Kure Beach, North Carolina.

This year’s festival features a wide variety of North Carolina bluegrass bands: The Hagar’s Mountain Boys, RC Harris and Blue Denim, The Wells Family, Ted Jones and the Tarheel Boys, Carolina Junction, Ken Scoggins & Miller’s Creek, A Deeper Shade of Blue, and L Shape Lot. The Out on the Ocean Contra Band will play on Saturday to lead a dancing and clogging exhibition.

In addition to the music, there will be a kid zone, clowns, string instrument lessons, silent auction and raffles.

The festival organizers are pleased to announce that local camping and RV hook ups are available. You can reserve a campsite at Carolina Beach State Park online at or by calling (877) 722-6762. Camping is also available on a limited basis at the festival grounds. Military personnel can make reservations by calling (910) 458-6549, non-military personnel will be accepted on a first-come basis.

The Seventh Annual Southern Coastal Bluegrass Festival is presented by The Thalian Association, the Official Community Theater of North Carolina. Major Sponsors of the event include Time Warner Cable, Budweiser, the Penguin 106.7 FM, Cape Fear Title Agency, Inc. and Snow’s Cut Monthly magazine.

Bring your chairs or blankets and enjoy the best of bluegrass by the Cape Fear River. Please NO COOLERS or PETS.

$25 – Two day passes
$15 – Daily tickets
$10 – Advanced tickets
$10 – Senior citizens, students and military personnel
Children 12 & under are FREE with an adult.

Find out more about the bands at these web sites:

The Hagar's Mountain Boys
The Wells Family
Ted Jones and the Tarheel Boys
L Shape Lot
Ken Scoggins & Miller’s Creek
A Deeper Shade of Blue
Carolina Junction

Has the Leatherback Sea Turtle Nest on Carolina Beach Hatched Yet?

Yesterday, the Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project sent out a quick note with an update. The answer is no, they are still in wait mode.

It is now day 66 and the dedicated PISTP volunteers continue their round the clock monitoring of the nest. But with each passing day, the anticipation grows. The recent Outer Banks Leatherback nest didn't hatch until day 70 so everything is still within the norms.

September 10, 2009

AP: Report- Loggerhead Turtles at Risk of Extinction

WASHINGTON — It's a scene that scientists say is all too common: A commercial fishing boat pulls in a net full of shrimp or tuna and finds a loggerhead sea turtle mixed in with the catch.

Biologists like Matthew Godfrey say one or two such takings can happen every day among fishing fleets off the Southeast coast. Those numbers can add up to thousands annually for a turtle species that has traveled the oceans for 200 million years but now faces a growing array of threats.

Godfrey is among the authors of the latest federal report on loggerheads that says most groups of the ancient reptile are at risk of extinction — in large part due to increased commercial fishing.

The study, released last month, predicted broad population declines across the globe in the coming years, including in a nesting area along the southeastern United States that is one of the world's largest.

"Unfortunately, a lot of times the target fish habitat and the turtle habitat overlap," said Godfrey, of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. "The turtles are air breathers, so they need to get to the surface, but if they're tangled up in the net, they can't get to the surface, and they essentially drown."

Loggerheads have been listed as a threatened species since 1978...

Read the complete article

NOAA Photo: Turtle escaping from net equipped with a TED (Turtle Excluder Device)
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