August 31, 2009

Leatherback Sea Turtle Nest Now Under Round the Clock Surveillance

They may not pack heat like the Secret Service but volunteers with the Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project are on the job and their number one priority is ensuring the health and welfare of their this case, a large patch of sand. But there is 'gold' in that sand. Approximately three feet below is a leatherback sea turtle nest and it is nearing its hatching point. In other words, that special spot of sand is about to come to life.

With the pending hatching nearing, many are beginning to take interest in the nest and we happen to be part of that group. It's pretty cool when you think that this massive mama turtle found its way to our beach and now the fruits of her labor are about to arrive. And in case you haven't heard, this is a historic first as there has never been a leatherback sea turtle nest on Carolina Beach.

Here's an interesting news piece by News 14 about the nest:

August 29, 2009

The Notebook Musical Comes to Carolina Beach

notebook musical
Last Sunday, Joy Galeotti, the writer/producer for The Notebook Musical, brought the cast (and some production personnel) down to the Tuscan Grill for a social/work get together. The group took over the outdoor patio area and spent several hours talking, sipping wine and dining on various appetizers. I'm told that the food was "excellent" and that Nancy and her staff did a fantastic job of keeping up with this sizable musical company.

All in all, the group had a very productive first meeting and they extend many thanks to the Tuscan Grill!!
Joy Galeotti

August 27, 2009

Outer Banks Leatherback Turtles Have Hatched

leatherback sea turtle
Congratulations to NEST (Network for Endangered Sea Turtles) for a successful Leatherback sea turtle hatching on the Outer Banks!

I know many people are very excited about the Leatherback turtle that laid her eggs here in Carolina Beach on July 8th. Well it turns out that a second Leatherback nest was laid on June 18th in the Outer Banks and those little ones have just hatched.

Many thanks to Susan with the Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project who sent me these photos of these Outer Banks baby Leatherbacks making their way to the dark Atlantic Ocean. What an exciting event and it just creates that much more anticipation for the upcoming Carolina Beach hatching.

And in case I haven't said it enough, many thanks to the tireless PI Sea Turtle volunteers who put in countless hours protecting these island treasures that visit us each year. These volunteers sure have a lot to be proud of!

leatherback sea turtle
leatherback sea turtle tracks
leatherback sea turtle tracks

August 23, 2009

Hurricane Bill Stirs Up the Waves at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area.

Yesterday's passing of Hurricane Bill several hundred miles East of Pleasure Island led to some increased wave activity (6-8'). Unfortunately, both the North End (Freeman Park) and the South End (Fort Fisher) were closed to 4x4 traffic due to the potential for overwash conditions. All area beaches were closed to swimmers; however, surfers were allowed to enter the water.

Here are a few pictures from the swimming area at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Visitor Center. As you can see, Park Rangers and lifeguards did allow people to wade into the water up to their knees. But anyone who attempted to go in deeper were met with the sounds of alarming whistles by watchful authorities. (FYI, the water was quite muddy due to the increased swells).

(Click pics for full size)

test to check

August 20, 2009

WITN-TV7: 100's of Sharks Invade the Crystal Coast

Ft. Macon, NC: A local photographer captured hundreds of sharks swimming off our coast Wednesday morning off Carteret County.

Scott Taylor of Beaufort was on a shoot when the helicopter he was riding in passed between Shackleford Banks and Fort Macon off the Crystal Coast in NC.

sharksThe photos show hundreds of sharks swimming in the group. Taylor said the helicopter pilot remarked he sees them all the time.

Taylor said when the helicopter dipped down for a closer look, the sharks seemed to be about four to six feet long...

Complete WITN story with numerous pics here.

In case anyone wants to know why we posted the story on this site, well it's simple...we love shark tales!

August 18, 2009

Reduce the Speed Limit on River Road to 45mph?

WILMINGTON, NC (whqr) - Many Wilmington drivers know River Road as the fastest way to Carolina Beach with the speed limit reaching fifty-five miles per hour.

As new developments sprout-up, the North Carolina Department of Transportation recommends that the speed limit be lowered from fifty-five to forty-five on some sections of the road.

Councilman Ronnie Sparks says he knows that stretch of road sees its share of accidents, so he's looking into the possibility.

Also on the agenda, the City Council will vote to award a two-million dollar renovation contract for Thalian Hall and a million dollar contract for new tennis and basketball courts at Empie Park.
Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

Personally, I'd prefer the speed limit to stay at the current 55mph because many people don't even travel at that speed. If they drop it 45mph, some folks will most likely putt along in the 30's. And that sure would make for a long drive on River Road.

August 17, 2009

Group Help While Bogged Down at Fort Fisher

One of the great things about living on Pleasure Island is that the people here look out for one another. An example of this occurs everyday at Freeman Park and Fort Fisher when someone gets bogged down in the sand while traversing the 4x4 area.

In this 3 part video, check out how many people stop to aid this surfer who is bogged down in his 4x4 near a rising shoreline. Even with an electric winch being used, it took two vehicles and some old fashioned push power to free this guy's truck.

Kudos to all who stopped to help! Especially the guy with the winch who clearly knew what he was doing.

August 16, 2009

Wilmington Star: Eye on the Fort Fisher Hermit

By Ben Steelman
August 15, 2009
For a while in the 1960s, he claimed to draw more tourists than any other attraction in Southeastern North Carolina, other than the Battleship North Carolina – and he just might have been right.

Thousands of locals and visitors made their way through the marshes at Fort Fisher, to a trash-laden yard next to a World War II-vintage concrete bunker, to sit in on a session of his “School of Common Sense.” His epitaph reads, “He made people think.”

Robert E. Harrill (1893-1972), better known as “The Fort Fisher Hermit,” has been gone for 36 years, but a touch of his spirit still hovers over the Cape Fear coast, and his admirers remain numerous.
Now an old friend, Fred Pickler, has published a memoir in photos: “Life and Times of the Fort Fisher Hermit.”

A native of the North Carolina Sandhills, Pickler first encountered the Hermit as a Boy Scout, when his troop traveled down to Fort Fisher for a camping trip around 1956...

Photo from the article.

August 14, 2009

LA Man Arrested After Riding Through Town with Live Alligator Draped Over Shoulders

Weird but true...

Gator Draped Over Man's Shoulders Attracts Cops' Attention
by Matt Scallan,

The Times-Picayune
August 13, 2009, 10:50 AM

(Boutte, Louisiana)
Alligators are a common sight in St. Charles Parish waterways, but they rarely travel by bicycle.

So when sheriff's deputies saw Terron D. Ingram riding his bike down Goodchildren Street in Boutte with a 3-foot-long gator draped over his neck late Friday, they had a few questions.

Ingram dropped the reptile and his bike and ran off, but was apprehended a few blocks away.

"We don't know what his intentions were," said Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. Pat Yoes. He said it wasn't clear where Ingram had captured the gator..

Ingram, 38, of 158 Boutte Estates Drive, was booked with a variety of charges, including cruelty to animals by abandonment, resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia (imagine that?).

He was being held on $15,000 bond.

All ended well for the gator, however. Alligator Control Officer Kenny Schmill said he released it into the marsh near Bayou Gauche.

Story Credit: NOLA
Picture Credit

August 13, 2009

Wilmington Star: When it comes to Italian ice, just say 'che gusto divino'

Island Ice Factory
One of Carolina Beach's newest shops on the CB Boardwalk was featured in today's Wilmington Star. The Island Ice Factory, which is located on the north end of the boardwalk, received some very favorable press. Click on the link below to read the complete story

Photo is from the story.

August 10, 2009

Island Greenway Update

Island Greenway
Here is an email from Mike Kirkbride who is spearheading the Island Greenway effort:

Just to update everyone of the process we are in:

Due to the number of members/supporters of the Island Greenway, it has become rather unwieldy for me. Going forward, the Island Greenway will be using as a communication tool. ReachPeople will allow efficient communications among its members. Accordingly, any member who has not already signed up with, please click on the link below to sign up and connect with the Island Greenway. Once you create your contact card, the platform will prompt you to share it with the Island Greenway.

We have worked out a solution for Snow’s Cut bridge to provide 5 foot Bike pedestrian path on the inbound and outbound lanes. It was not a unanimous decision from NCDOT, but it passed and that is the important thing. To implement those modifications to the Snow’s Cut Bridge we still need to fund the project which NCDOT estimates at $800,000.

We are still working on securing easement language at a meeting in the next week or two for the Carolina beach portion of the Island greenway, that is agreeable to the Army, Carolina Beach and New Hanover county. Once that hurdle is overcome, New Hanover county will submit that easement request to the Army Real-estate headquarters in Savannah Georgia.

In the mean time we have been working on securing grant/stimulus money for the Carolina Beach portion of our Island Greenway along with New Hanover County’s North-South regional pathways through our State representatives.

Enclosed are details of a tour From Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. that Bethel Paris is inviting us to join. . It’s a great opportunity to learn first hand the variety of conditions, how the trails have affected the communities touched by them, & ways that “Friends of the Trails” help with maintenance.

As to my contribution to this summer of fun I will be bringing back a report on Breckenridge Colorado and my experience of how their community has adapted to a bike pedestrian community model based on my 2 month vacation here. I can already say that to move to this model for our island would provide quiet enjoyment, health and fitness to residents and visitors that our island has not experienced in 30-40 years.

Michael L. Kirkbride
Web site:

View the Fort Fisher Hermit Film at the Fort Fisher State Park on August 15th

On Saturday, August 15, 2009 @ 3:00PM, the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area will be showing for free the UNC-TV documentary film of Robert E. Harrill (the Fort Fisher Hermit). This is a very interesting film of a true Pleasure Island legend.

Fort Fisher State Recreation Area
1000 Loggerhead Road
Kure Beach, NC 28449
Phone: (910) 458-5798

About the film:
Fort Fisher Hermit For more than 17 years, Robert E. Harrill, better known as “The Fort Fisher Hermit,” lived under the stars, off the land and with contributions from his many coastal North Carolina visitors. During the late 1960s, Harrill became the state’s second largest tourist attraction as thousands of tourists and townies lined up to hear his philosophies at "The School of Common Sense"—all from the abandoned bunker he called “home.”

Experience this unique individual through one-of-a-kind interviews, rare photographs and vintage footage in The Fort Fisher Hermit: The Life & Death of Robert E. Harrill, premiering on UNC-TV, Thursday, May 10, at 10 PM. This enthralling documentary, from Wilmington filmmaker Rob Hill and narrated by Barry Corbin, explores the human behind “The Hermit”—from his tumultuous origins to his mysterious death. The hour-long documentary provides an unprecedented look at the first 64 years of Robert Harrill’s life—an existence that would eventually lead him to his final days at Ft. Fisher.

The Fort Fisher Hermit: The Life & Death of Robert E. Harrill is a production of Common Sense Films. The Wilmington, NC, film company spent 3 years producing and developing a documentary that captures the true spirit of this unique local figure. Common Sense Films came together in January 2002 when they rediscovered this local legend and, after much research and meeting with local historians, they began collecting interviews over a 10-month period that took them throughout North and South Carolina. By December 2002, the Common Sense team had collected almost 25 hours of interviews of those who knew Robert Harrill, over 200 photographs, an audio interview recorded in 1967, as well as a collection of 8mm home movies of this fascinating figure.

August 6, 2009

Carolina Beach 2009 Family Slide show

Here is one of the best video slide shows that I've seen in quite some time. It sure appears that these families enjoyed their time in Pleasure Island, NC. Make sure you turn up the volume...the background music rocks (These Are the Days by Van Morrison). Enjoy!

3 Public Boat Launches on Pleasure Island Undergoing Major Renovations

The three public boat ramps on Pleasure Island will be (or are) undergoing major renovations and all three are expected to be open by Spring 2010. One is located at Carolina Beach State Park, one is near the Snow's Cut Bridge and the last one is located at the end of US 421 at Fort Fisher.

Here's the latest info on the three projects:
Carolina Beach State Park
Carolina Beach at Snow's Cut Bridge
Fort Fisher @ US 421

Pleasure Island, NC Boat Ramps

August 4, 2009

Washington Post: Shark Week Q & A

On Monday, Marine biologist Andy Dehart hosted an online discussion about sharks as he helped kick off this year's Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. This year's Shark Week will feature six documentaries covering sharks at night, high fatality hot spots around the world, the story that inspired "Jaws," a Navy SEAL's account of being an attack victim, the summer of 50 shark attacks (2001) and the great white.

Click here to read this informative Q&A session:

Also, make sure to tune in to Discovery this Thursday at 9:00pm for “Shark after Dark" as the NC Aquarium at Pine Knolls helped with this episode. Read more in their
news release.

7th Annual Southern Coastal Bluegrass Festival September 19 & 20

Southern Coastal Bluegrass FestivalKure Beach, NC: Bluegrass by the beach returns again this fall to Kure Beach. 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 banks of the beautiful 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

Southern Coastal Bluegrass FestivalThe music plays on Saturday, September 19th, from 11am to 8pm and Sunday, September 20th, from 11am to 7pm at the Fort Fisher Military Recreation Center in Kure Beach, North Carolina. The gates open at 10am.

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.

Southern Coastal Bluegrass FestivalBring your instruments, because jamming is encouraged. This year’s festival will include a jamming contest with the winning musicians earning a spot on the main stage on Sunday and a gig at the popular Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar which is on the ocean in Carolina Beach.

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

Southern Coastal Bluegrass FestivalThe 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, 106.7 FM the Penguin, 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.

$10 – Advanced tickets
$10 – Senior citizens, students and military personnel
$15 – Daily tickets (purchased at the gate)
$25 – Two day passes (purchased at the gate)
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
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