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 www.ncaquariums.com 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 www.ncaquariums.com 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!
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