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.
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