January 27, 2013

Three Weekends + Three Signature Events = One Enticing Month in Wilmington, N.C.’s Historic River District

Wilmington, North Carolina: This year there are three great reasons to visit Wilmington, North Carolina’s Historic River District and Island Beaches during February. Three signature events on back-to-back weekends create one enticing month: the Wilmington Wine & Chocolate Festival (Feb. 1-3), the 33rd annual North Carolina Jazz Festival (Feb. 7-9), and the Wilmington Garden Show (Feb. 16-17). Visitors will have the best of all worlds when they can savor fine wines and gourmet chocolate, then enjoy live jazz performances the following weekend, and satisfy their garden hobbies on the third weekend. Catch one, two or all three events that take place in Wilmington’s historic river district. The storied Cape Fear River provides a stunning backdrop with its mile-long Riverwalk and more than 200 shops, restaurants, attractions and tours. Perhaps best of all, it’s only a few minutes’ drive to the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach where visitors can rent a beach cottage by the week or month, or take advantage of off-season rates at hotels and B&Bs. 

February gets off to a decadent start with the Wilmington Wine and Chocolate Festival at the Coastline Event Center (503 Nutt Street, Wilmington). Connoisseurs can sip, nibble, sigh and buy as they sample delectable delights from superb regional wineries, chocolatiers and artisans. A Friday night Grand Tasting gala (7:00 p.m.—10:00 p.m.) kicks off the event with live music and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Wilmington’s own Sharp Nine Jazz Ensemble featuring Nina Repeta, Roger Davis and Madafo Lloyd Wilson, will entertain while wine and chocolate purveyors tantalize with tastings. On Saturday (11:00 a.m.--7:00 p.m.) and Sunday (12:00 p.m.—4:00 p.m.), the wine and chocolate marketplace features fine vintners, chocolatiers and artists in a casual atmosphere. Products will be available for sampling and for sale. Culinary demonstrations will take place in the adjacent Riverview Terrace. The Festival is produced by the Volunteer Older Citizens Action League and proceeds benefit the New Hanover County Senior Center’s programs to meet the needs of local senior citizens. Marketplace admission is $20 in advance/$25 at the door on Saturday and $15 in advance/$17 at the door on Sunday. Friday’s Grand Tasting tickets cost $50 in advance/$55 at the door, based on availability. Tickets are also available at Wilmington-area Harris Teeter stores. For festival details and ticket information: www.wilmingtonwineandchocolatefestival.com, email wineandchocfest@gmail.com, or call 910-742-0120.

Each February since 1980, the North Carolina Jazz Festival (a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event) has brought world-class jazz musicians to Wilmington, North Carolina. On February 7-9, 15 traditional jazz artists will arrive in Wilmington from such diverse places as Australia, Italy, British Columbia, New Orleans, New York City, Maryland and New Jersey to perform in an intimate cabaret-style setting at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside’s ballroom. Now in its 33rd year, the 2013 North Carolina Jazz Festival kicks off on Thursday night with a concert featuring “Jazz Strings” performances, including a duet with senior jazz anchor Bucky Pizzarelli and young jazz violinist Jonathan Russell. Frank Bongiorno With Strings (a ten-piece ensemble) will also pay tribute to “Charlie Parker with Strings.” Other renowned musicians at this year’s festival include Rossano Sportiello on piano, along with David Boeddinghaus. On horns are jazz anchors Ed Polcer, plus Randy Reinhart, David Sager, and Bria Skonberg. Australian jazzman Adrian Cunningham will be joined by Dan Levinson on woodwinds. Bassists Nicki Parrott and Kerry Lewis, along with Kevin Dorn and Chuck Redd will make up the rhythm section – Chuck will double on drums & vibes. NOLA lady Banu Gibson, with a worldwide reputation for her “Hot Jazz” is the featured vocalist. 

Cabaret-style seating and all-star musicians distinguish this traditional jazz festival. Other highlights include expanded workshops and master classes with Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar), Jonathan Russell (violin), Bria Skonberg (trumpet), and Adrian Cunningham (reeds & flute). A Patron’s Brunch on Saturday features the All-Star musicians and a jam session that affords patrons who are musicians to jam with the All-Stars. All events take place at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside. 

One of the oldest traditional jazz festivals in the country, the North Carolina Jazz Festival often sells out; advance reservations are recommended. For tickets and details about the N.C. Jazz Festival, call 910-793-1111 or visit www.ncjazzfestival.com. Tickets can also be purchased via mail: N.C. Jazz Festival, 233 Racine Dr. #95, Wilmington, NC 28403. Individual concert ticket prices vary: Thursday ($35 per person); Friday and Saturday ($50 general admission; $25 military rate, each night); student tickets ($15 each night). Patron tickets ($175-$200 each) include admission to Friday/Saturday concerts and the Patron’s Musical Brunch with all-star musicians. For tickets and details, call 910-793-1111 or visit www.ncjazzfestival.com. For hotel reservations and special rates, call the Wilmington Hilton Riverside at 910-763-5900 or visit www.wilmingtonhilton.com. 

The weekend of February 16-17, the 20th annual Wilmington Garden Show, the southeast Coast’s premier garden show, will feature dozens of vendors selling hundreds of plants, products, services and gift items for plant and flower enthusiasts at every level of expertise. It’s a one-stop shop for spring gardeners. There will also be special gardening activities for children. More than 40 new and returning vendors will offer gardening and landscaping displays, plants, decorative items, helpful tips and more. Both days feature a full schedule of guest speakers who will provide demonstrations and lectures on a variety of topics. There will also be a raffle for a stainless steel gas grill. All events take place at the Schwartz Center (601 N. Front Street, Wilmington) on Cape Fear Community College’s downtown campus. Garden Show hours are Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and Sunday, 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. General admission is $7; children under 12 are free. For more details, please call 910-798-7670. To print out a discount coupon and for more information, visit www.nhcgov.com/Arboretum/Pages/WilmingtonGardenShow.aspx. 

From the historic banks of the storied Cape Fear River to the luminous shores of beautiful island beaches, there’s always something fun to experience in Wilmington, NC’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach. For a free 2012 Official Visitors Guide, please call 866-266-9690, email visit@WilmingtonAndBeaches.com or visit us online at www.GoWilmingtonAndBeaches.com for visitor information and a complete event calendar.

Registration Now Open for Pleasure Island Youth Baseball

Pleasure Island Athletic Committee is bringing baseball back to the BEACH!!

The Pleasure Island Youth Baseball will offer leagues for players 4-12 years of age. The league is affiliated with Cal Ripken Baseball and will be three (3) types of leagues: teeball, machine pitch, and kid pitch.

Early Registration is being held from January 15- February 16 and the cost is $50 per player.  Registration from February 17- March 3 will be $60 per player.
Registration will end March 3.

Opening Day Kickoff Ceremony will be held on April 6.

Registration forms and fees can be dropped off at the Carolina Beach Recreation Center during normal business hours. Registration forms are also available at www.facebook.com/PIYouthBaseball. Signups will also be available at Mike Chappell Park on weekends during the  registration period from 10am-Noon (field corner of Dow/Sumter Ave).

This league is made possible through a partnership between Pleasure Island Athletic Committee, the Towns of Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, and our sponsors.

Get out the word and PLAY BALL!!

More information about registration and sponsorship is available at www.facebook.com/PIYouthBaseball.com

Video: Wild Horse Push Through a Snow Storm in Corrola, NC

What a fantastic video from Friday's snowstorm in the Outer Banks.  The video was uploaded to Youtube by 4x4realestate and shows wild horses walking on a snowy beach in Corolla.

Photo is a still shot from the video.  You can view another snow video here.

Port City Daily: Bill in Congress would aid Carolina Beach’s renourishment effort

January 26, 2013 
By Ben Brown 

An effort to keep federal support on the shore of Carolina Beach entered Congress this month.

The “Bringing Economic Advancement and Coastal Health Act”–or BEACH Act–filed by U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, is meant to establish a process to keep soon-to-expire federally sponsored beach nourishment programs alive.

It’s timely for Carolina Beach, whose federal beach support, activated 50 years ago, is scheduled to expire in 2014.

Read the full story here
Photo credit.

Star News: New Wave bus routes to go to Carolina Beach, Leland

By Adam Wagner 
January 23, 2013 

The bus is finally going to the beach. 

As part of its first major route overhaul since 2008, Wave will introduce bus service to Carolina Beach on Feb. 3, as well as extending its service in Leland. The modified routes will go into effect the same day as a fare hike that will bump the price of a normal ticket from $1.50 to $2...

Read the full story here.

Greater Wilmington Business Journal: Changes coming to Surf House Cafe

By Liz Biro 
January 23, 2013 

Surf House Café in Carolina Beach closed temporarily on Tuesday, Jan. 22, as owners restructure the business, which operates another location on Racine Drive in Wilmington... 

The Carolina Beach location locked up for kitchen expansion that Love said would allow him to broaden the menu. Expect fresh seafood, “more coastal, more Southern, full dinner, more desserts” when Surf House there reopens in about 30 days, Love said. 

The surf shop side of the business will remain, he said. “We’re effectively going to go from café/surf shop to something more of a fully realized restaurant and cafeteria experience,” Love said... 

Read the full article here.

Pic of the Day: Clouds Equal a Beautiful Sunrise at the Carolina Beach Pier

Good Morning Carolina Beach!! Peaceful shot by Michael Sing Photography.

Video: Loggerhead Turtle Takes on Shark

The best defense is often be a strong offense as proven by this bold loggerhead turtle who shows a shark who really is the boss. The video was posted on Youtube by Vox151.

Pic of th Day: The Sun Sets at Fort Fisher

Beautiful shot from Fort Fisher taken just before yesterday's sunset. Photo by Phil Mancuso.

January 20, 2013

Come Support the 9th Annual Polar Plunge at Carolina Beach February 9, 2012

Saturday, February 23, 2013
Carolina Beach Boardwalk
(adjacent to Courtyard by Marriott)

Annual Special Olympics - Polar PlungeCarolina Beach, NC – Join us as we take a chilly plunge in the Atlantic Ocean to benefit Special Olympics. It is an opportunity for the adventurous and the not so adventurous to have a great time and to support the New Hanover County Special Olympics program.

You can plunge as an individual, with a team or even plunge with your dog!  NO WETSUITS!

Proceeds go directly to benefit New Hanover County athletes, providing them with year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Polar Plunge Schedule of Events
    Special Olympics - New Hanover County
  • ·  9 a.m. 5K Registration/Packet Pickup
  • · 10 a.m. Run-N-Plunge 5K
  • · 11a.m.: Gates open Enjoy live music, a silent auction, costume contest, DJ, food, friends, art and more.
  • · 11:20 a.m. 5K Awards Under Main Tent
  • · 11a.m. – 2 p.m. Silent auction
  • · 1:30 p.m.: Costume contest
  • · 3:00 Line up for the PLUNGE
    • AREA 1 SPECIAL Olympian’s & Plungers Under 15
    • AREA 2 Plungers 15 and older
    • AREA 3 Plungers & Pooches
  • · 3:05 p.m.: All Plunge
For details on the Polar Plunge visit: www.plungenhc.com or call 341-7253.
Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/wilmingtonrecreation

Pic of the Day: Sunset on the Lower Cape Fear River

Serenity now...beautiful shot of the lower Cape Fear River at Fort fisher.  Photo by Lotus Lily Photography. View more of her work at http://www.lotuslilyphotography.com/

January 19, 2013

Mary Lee, the 16' Great White, Has Once Again Returned to Carolina Beach

Mary Lee's location as of 3:16pm EST on 01/18/2013
Our favorite great white shark, Mary Lee, has once again returned to Carolina Beach.  This marks her third visit to our area since she was tagged with a satellite tracker in September 2012 off Cape Cod.

Mary Lee is 16 feet in length and weighs approximately 3,500 pounds.  She has been roaming the east coast since September and has made three passes by our area.  Each time she reaches the southeast part of NC, she then u-turns and heads back towards Georgia/Florida.

Mary Lee pings off Surf City 12:03am ESt 01/19/2013
Since fitted with the satellite tag, she has travelled as far south as Jacksonville, FL and as far north as Surf City, NC.

Mary Lee pinged just off the North End of Carolina Beach yesterday afternoon as shown in the above photo.  But by 12:03am EST this morning, she had moved north and was just off Surf City, NC.

Current location (large dot) compared to location on 12/22/2012
What is really making this visit more exciting than others is that her last ping, 12:03am EST, had her almost at the exact same spot from her last visit on December 22, 2012 when she turned around and headed back south.  The question remains, will she follow the same path or continue north.  Stay tuned!!

PS.  You can track her here: http://sharks-ocearch.verite.com/

Star News:Beach nourishment projects to begin

Star News
By By Ashley Withers 
January 14, 2013 

Work is expected to begin this week on a $26.3 million contract for beach nourishment and inlet dredging projects in Southeastern North Carolina. 

The contract includes three separate projects – Bald Head Island, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach... 

Read the full article here
Photo from article

Pic of the Day: Trees of Fort Fisher

Beautiful shot of the Fort Fisher oak trees by Paul Boroznoff at Southern Digital Art.com. 

You can view more of Paul's photos on his website: http://www.southerndigitalart.com/

Star News: Feds say wind farms could work off Cape Fear coast

By Kate Elizabeth Queram 
January 9, 2013 

Parcels of water off the North Carolina coast could be leased for offshore wind farming as early as 2014, though construction may not begin for up to five years after that, officials said Wednesday. 

"I think there will be offshore wind in North Carolina," Maureen Bornholdt, renewable energy program manager for the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, told a packed conference room at the Courtyard Marriott. "It's a matter of, in what area? That will morph depending on the type of comments we get and the ongoing discussions." 

Representatives from BOEM held the informational meeting at the Wilmington hotel to give area residents a chance to learn and ask questions about offshore wind farms... 

Read the full Star News story here 
Photo credit

Pic of the Day: Horseback Riding at Carolina Beach

With temps nearing 70 last week, Scott Jecha showed us that there are many ways to enjoy the north end of Carolina Beach (Freeman Park). 

To learn about the rules for horseback riding at Carolina Beach, go here.

Pic of the Day: Carolina Beach Fog

Friday morning fog in Carolina Beach. Photo by Benson Stephen.

N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher Care for Injured Turtles from the Northeast

The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher opened its doors to eight loggerhead sea turtles on New Year’s Day. A traveling-turtle relay hop scotched the ailing group of sea turtles more than 800 miles to receive dedicated medical care.

The animals were injured in a mass cold-stunning event along the New England coast in early December. More than 150 endangered and threatened sea turtles were rescued and transported to the New England Aquarium after becoming ill from prolonged exposure to cold water temperatures. The extraordinary number of turtles rescued required collaboration with wildlife organizations and aquariums offering space and resources to care for the sick animals.

Initially, the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher staff expected the sea turtles before Christmas. Snow and hazardous conditions, however, delayed the turtles’ arrival from Boston by more than a week. On Tuesday evening, all preparations were in place and husbandry staff settled the loggerheads into their temporary homes. A specialized care and rehabilitation plan began immediately.

“Our goal is to care for these sea turtles, return them to good health and release them back to their natural habitat as soon as we can safely do so,” said Aquarium Curator Hap Fatzinger.
The eight sea turtles receive daily medical care, including antibiotics, special diets and close monitoring. Initial rehabilitation plans estimate recuperation times of one to two months. Once the animals are healthy, they will be released into the warm waters of the Gulfstream. 

Sea turtles are reptiles and cannot control their own body temperatures. Cold-stunned turtles become lethargic, experience decreased circulation and heart rates, and may die. They are susceptible to respiratory illness, animal attacks, bacterial and fungal infections. Serious cuts and abrasions may occur if the animal is washed ashore. Eye injuries and weight loss are also common.

The eight loggerheads range in weight from 12 to 32 kilograms (26.5 to 70.5 pounds), with shells ranging in curved length from 52 to 66 centimeters (20.5 to 26 inches). Visual determination of gender and exact age is not possible in loggerheads. The sizes of the animals indicate all are sub-adult and are not yet old enough to reproduce.

“The Aquarium does not normally care for injured sea turtles,” said Aquarium Director Peggy Sloan. “A wildlife rescue of this nature, however, requires a tremendous amount of team work. We gladly volunteered our expert staff and resources to do whatever is needed to save these animals.”

A number of aquariums, agencies and organizations worked together to transport and care for the sea turtles brought to the Aquarium, and to a sister facility, the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, including the New England Aquarium, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Sea Turtle Stranding Network and the N.C. State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

The Aquarium receives no additional funding or staff to assist in the turtle care. Anyone interested in making a donation to assist in the care and rehabilitation of the loggerheads may contact Robin Nalepa, (910) 458-8257, ext. 211 or Robin.Nalepa@ncaquariums.com.

Additionally, the Aquarium plans to offer in coming weeks special behind the scenes tours to view the sea turtles during their recovery. A portion of the tour fees will benefit Aquarium conservation efforts.

Cold-stunned sea turtles occur in the coastal waters of North Carolina, as well. Anyone who finds a sick, injured or dead sea turtle should contact the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Sea Turtle Stranding Network at (252) 241-7367.

Pic of the Day: Good Night Cape Fear

Here's a fantastic sunset shot taken at the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation area by Mike McGirt. 

You can view more of Mike's work at his website: http://mikemcgirtphotography.zenfolio.com/

A Good Year for Sea Turtles in North Carolina

BEAUFORT, N.C. (Jan. 7, 2013) — 2012 was a good year for sea turtle nesting on North Carolina’s coast.  From late April until mid-September,sea turtles laid 1,103 nests along North Carolina’s coast — up from 967 in the previous year and 883 in 2010. This nesting season’s numbers were the second highest since biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission began statewide tracking of nests in the mid-90s, according to Sea Turtle Biologist Matthew Godfrey.

While four species of the giant reptiles are known to nest on North Carolina’s beaches, loggerhead sea turtles’nests make up the vast majority of nests each year. Green sea turtles, leatherbacks and, on rare occasion, the Kemp’s ridley — the smallest of all sea turtles — also nest on North Carolina’s beaches, but in much smaller numbers. A fifth sea turtle species, the hawksbill, is known to visit North Carolina waters, but no nests have been documented on the state’s beaches. All are listed as either threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

The 2012 boost in numbers from the previous two years is encouraging, but may not mean much statistically because fluctuations in nests from year to year are common, Godfrey said.

“On average, around 750 loggerhead nests are laid every year in North Carolina, but there is great fluctuation across years,” Godfrey said. “For instance, 2012’s total was the second largest on record with 1,069 loggerhead nests, and 1999 was the best on record with 1,140 documented nests. However, 2004 was the lowest year on record with only 333 loggerhead nests counted.”

The wide variation in nest numbers from year to year is likely due to several factors. Most female sea turtles rarely nest in consecutive years. Rather, they return every second or third year to reproduce.
“The exact timing is likely related to the environment and habitat quality on their foraging grounds,” Godfrey said. “When their prey is abundant, they can more quickly build up the energy reserves needed for their reproductive migrations that may span hundreds or thousands of miles.”

Godfrey also said that higher than average numbers of nests in 2012 were observed in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Not only were nest numbers above average, but also hatching success of those eggs. Godfrey attributes a relatively mild tropical storm season in part for the production of more than 90,000 hatchlings on North Carolina’s beaches. In previous years, tropical storms and hurricanes have drowned or washed away developing sea turtle eggs along North Carolina’s coast.

An additional threat to incubating eggs on beaches is predation by foxes and raccoons, although most nests are protected with wire mesh that covers the eggs to deter these predators. 

North Carolina’s southern beaches had the most nests per mile while northern beaches had the lowest nesting densities. The highest nest density was on Oak Island and Bald Head Island on either side of the Cape Fear River inlet near Wilmington.

The reasons why female sea turtles prefer one beach for nesting more than another remain a mystery, says Godfrey.

“Regardless, all ocean-side sandy beaches in North Carolina are visited by nesting female sea turtles in the summer months, and all receive at least a few nests,” he said.

The N.C. Sea Turtle Protection Program
Monitoring sea turtle activity along the 330-plus miles that make up the Tar Heel State’s coast is a daunting task.So daunting, in fact, that it requires substantial help from more than 1,000 volunteers, cooperators from other state and federal natural resources agencies, and private organizations to patrol the beaches during the nesting season, which runs from mid-May to as late as mid-October in some years. 

This collaborative effort, known as the N.C. Sea Turtle Protection Program, began in 1983 as a way to lend a helping hand to sea turtles that nest on North Carolina beaches.

Each year, the Wildlife Resource Commission coordinates a network of volunteers to monitor sea turtle nesting activity, protect the nests during the 50- to 60-day incubation period,document reproductive success and mortality and protect habitat. Volunteers also comb the shores outside of the nesting season looking for any activity or signs of sea turtles and respond to calls of dead, injured or sick turtles that may have washed ashore.

These yearly monitoring efforts provide critical data that are needed to track sea turtle population trends — not just in North Carolina but around the world. Sea turtles are highly migratory, swimming hundreds, if not thousands of miles,each year moving between nesting and foraging grounds and, seasonally, to warmer waters. The total number of turtles, worldwide, is difficult to count so biologists count nests using the same monitoring methods every year.Biologists use the trend of these annual nest counts to determine the trend of turtle populations. 

Downloadthe Sea Turtles in North Carolina fact sheet for moreinformation, including 10 things the public can do to help sea turtles nestingon North Carolina’s beaches. 

Fundingfor the Wildlife Resource Commission’s work with sea turtles comes fromcooperative grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National MarineFisheries Service, and from the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund, whichsupports wildlife research, conservation and management for animals that arenot hunted and fished. Although tax check-off donations target projectsbenefiting nongame animals and their habitats, game species such as deer,turkey and bear also benefit because they share many of these same habitats. 

NorthCarolinians can support this effort, as well as other nongame species researchand management projects in North Carolina, by:
  • Donating through the Tax Check-off for Nongame and Endangered Wildlife on their N.C. State Income tax form;
  • Registering a vehicle or trailer with a N.C. Wildlife Conservation license plate.
  • Donating online at www.ncwildlife.org/give.

Photo: WWII Training Round Found at Fort Fisher

Patrick Conley found this 50 Cal round while walking at Fort Fisher and made a general inquiry as to where it may have originated. 

During WWII, Fort Fisher was used for 50-caliber machine gun training and as a firing range for anti-aircraft training. You can view photos and read more about the Fort Fisher WWII history at the NC Historical Site website:

Based on the numerous comments we received on our Facebook page, these spent rounds are a fairly common find in the Fort Fisher area.  One poster stated that he did some metal detecting at Kure Beach awhile ago and found approximately 10 to 15 rounds.

Linda Gail offered up an interesting tale as to why the rounds are covered with caked on sand, rock, etc.  Approximately eight years ago, her husband and son were staying at the Air Force Station [now the Air Force Recreation Area] and they crossed the road to visit the beach.  As they entered onto the beach, they came across two older women who were doing a little treasure hunting:
 "There they found two elderly ladies in full waders with large nets. They were going out about waist deep, netting exactly what is shown in the picture above, only not as cleaned up. They gave my son about half a dozen of the objects.

The ladies explained, to my family, what they are: 50 caliber, sometimes 30 MM, bullets shot from WWII planes during beach target practice. The hard casings around the bullets are molten sand. The bullets would be so hot entering the water, hitting the beach, the sand would melt and encase each bullet. Rolling in the surf, for years to come, encased them more and more. My family considers the gift, from the ladies, quite a treasure."

Quite a treasure indeed.  Thanks for sharing the story Linda.

Pic of the Day: Goodnight from the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area

Here's a fantastic sunset shot taken by Danny Rose at the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area. 

Fort Fisher Recreation Area by Danny Rose

Video: Carolina Beach State Park Equals Tranquility

Here's a very lovely video of the intracoastal waters lapping up on the shoreline at the Carolina Beach State Park.  The video was posted on Youtube by djbell1985.

Video: Early Morning Dolphin Show

Here's a very cool video of some dolphins off Carolina Beach. The video was posted on Youtube by Anne Herbelet

Photo: Coyote on Bald Head Island

Here's a very cool photo taken by Doug Eberle and shared with the Bald Head Island Conservancy.  The coyote was spotted in the marsh behind Lighthouse Landing.

Coyotes have been spotted on Pleasure Island on a fairly regular basis but they are not often seen on Bald Head Island.

From the NC Wildlife Resources Commission:

Coyotes in North Carolina look similar to red wolves, but coyotes are smaller, have pointed and erect ears, and long slender snouts. The tail is long, bushy and black-tipped and is usually carried pointing down. 

Color is typically dark gray but can range from blonde, red, and even black. Size is also variable, but averages about 2 feet tall at the shoulder and 4 feet in length. 

Adults are about the size of a medium-sized dog and weigh between 20 and 45 pounds.

Make sure to Like the BHI Conservancy on Facebook and check them out on their website: http://www.bhic.org/

Coyote on Bald Head Island. Photo by Doug Eberle and shared with the BHI Conservancy

Pic of the Day: Carolina Beach Wave

Here's a very cool shot of a wave crashing by the Carolina Beach Pier. The photo was taken by Lisa Michele Hagan and she titled it "Splash." 

You can view more of Lisa's photos here: http://lisahaganiphoneart.com/

Video: Megalodon Share Teeth Diving in North Carolina

Here's a cool video of divers in NC searching for megalodon shark's teeth. How about this guys find? Wow!! 

The video was posted on Vimeo by Ken Kollwitz

January 4, 2013

Are Great Whites Feeding on Right Whales Off the US East Coast?

For everyone who follows this blog either here or via Facebook, you already know that we are huge fans of the two great whites that were satellite tagged in Cape Cod last Fall by Ocearch and have since been making their presence known up and down the U.S. East Coast.

Of the two tagged sharks, the one named Mary Lee has received most of the limelight because unlike her shy friend Genie, Mary Lee has sent out at least one ping on a near daily basis..  In the last couple months or so, she has moved up and down the coast from northern Florida to southern North Carolina.  Her cohort Genie has been much more secretive and has oftentimes gone several weeks between pings.

Mary Lee is farther north & Genie farther east.
So as these two star sharks continue to delight the plethora of followers who check in daily for any updates, the researchers on the other hand, are scouring over the data as they try to understand the migration habits of these two great white sharks.  It is there hard work that will someday help guide policymakers when formulating great white protection measures.

So that takes us to today when both Mary Lee and Genie pinged earlier this afternoon near the Florida/Georgia border.  What made today's action more notable was that it has been nearly four weeks since Genie last pinged and here she was hanging out in the general vicinity of Mary Lee.

Needless to say, the Ocearch Facebook page was abuzz with comments and questions.  But it was the one question posed by Ocearch that peeked my curiosity.  They simply asked, "what are they doing out there?"  Of course there were quite a few humerus comments but there were also other comments where the poster was genuniely trying to understand the mystery. 

Black whale fin represents sighting report
It was one of those comments that caught my eye.  J.r. Waits had posted on the Ocearch wall that a right whale birth was just reported off South Carolina coast. Jo O'Keefe responed to J.r. that a cow and calf pair were recently reported offshore of Beaufort.  He also gave the link to the NOAA North Atlantic Right Whale Sighting database.

Both of the tagged sharks were currently much further south and were actually near the FL/GA border so I wondered if there were any recent sightings in that area.  I assumed there would be a few because pregnant right whales are known to migrate to an area off the Georgia and Florida coast to give birth between the months of December and March.  But when I checked the database, I was rather surprised when I pulled up the sighting report and it showed 22 right whale sightings in the past two weeks with the vast majority being a mother with her calf.

Although to the naked eye both the whale and shark locations chart appeared to be very similar, it wasn't until I married the two images that I saw just how close the groupings were located.  So are the sharks in that area because they are attempting to feed on the right whale calfs or are they there to give birth to their own calfs...maybe both or maybe neither?  As for the answer, I'll leave that to the real recearchers and step back from my arm-chair shark-enthusiast theories.

But no mater the answers, it has been absolutely fascinating to follow these two sharks and we owe our gratitude to the Ocearch crew who were able to safely tag these two sharks.

“Live Like a Local” at Carolina Beach

Experience island life firsthand this winter at North Carolina’s uniquely original beach

Jan. 3, 2013 - CAROLINA BEACH, NC – Ever wondered what it would be like to live on the coast all year long? Winter is the perfect time to experience first-hand why locals at Carolina Beach, North Carolina, love living in this coastal community year-round. To help you get started, check out our new Insider Tips videos for a behind-the-scenes look at both Carolina Beach and Kure Beach.

Families have been visiting Carolina Beach for decades to enjoy a destination that marches to the beat of its own drum and encourages residents and visitors to do the same. Mild temperatures, uncrowded beach and off-season rates make this winter the perfect time to enjoy a classic beach experience with the entire family, a romantic getaway for two, or a solo vacation with time to enjoy long walks along the beach. Carolina Beach also offers a variety of lodging options to suit every taste and budget – rates in January and February start as low as $39 per night.

The average daily high in January is 56, which makes the winter months an ideal time to explore some outdoor pursuits you might not in the heat of the summer. Try your hand at kayaking in the ocean, fishing in the surf, or catching some waves from atop a surfboard. See why Carolina Beach State Park is one of the most popular attractions on the North Carolina coast by exploring its camping area or hiking trails – the park is open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Outdoor enthusiasts will also want to make the short trip to nearby Kure Beach to check out the brand new Ocean Front Park. Located in the heart of Kure Beach’s quaint business district near the town’s iconic fishing pier, the park will feature a boardwalk, a playground for small children, benches, swings, rain gardens, ocean front benches and public restrooms. One of the biggest attractions will be an open-air pavilion with a stage area to be used for concerts, weddings and educational events. Ocean Front Park will be open to visitors starting in January of 2013 and will celebrate its official grand opening in April.

Leave time during your vacation to check out two of North Carolina’s landmark attractions at nearby Kure Beach. The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher was named as one of the best aquariums in the U.S. by the Travel Channel in 2012. Visitors in January can take part in several behind-the-scenes adventures to get an up close and personal look at the inner workings of the Aquarium and its residents. Or sign up for “Aquacamp” on January 21, a day camp about clams, snails, crabs, sea urchins, sea stars and some of the Aquarium’s other invertebrate species. Pre-registration is required for these special programs.

The Fort Fisher State Historic Site, located at the south end of Kure Beach and the location of the largest land-sea battle of the Civil War, was a Confederate fort during the Civil War. On January 19, a living history program will commemorate the 148th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Fisher, made more familiar to millions of moviegoers thanks to the recently released Steve Spielberg film, “Lincoln.” Re-enactors will set up displays of Civil War camp life and talk with visitors about the life of the Confederate infantry and artillery troops during the January 1865 campaign. Other events highlights will include Civil War authors, artillery and infantry demonstrations, and cannon and small arms firings.

Carolina Beach plays host to numerous special events throughout the year, from culinary cook-offs and movies by the lake, to music festivals and holiday extravaganzas. Plan ahead and make sure your 2013 getaways coincide with your favorite Carolina Beach events, including the Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-Off on April 13. A favorite event for 16 years, this year’s 17th annual event will once again feature an all-day lineup of area chefs and their award-winning chowder, live music and children’s activities.

It’s never too early to start vacation planning: sign up to receive our especials for special offers and travel packages, and check out Sunny Savers on our website for great last minute deals.

About Carolina Beach
Carolina Beach is North Carolina’s original beach. This recently renovated seaside town offers the best of a North Carolina beach experience from the past with a fun, family-friendly spin for today. Visitors can experience a scenic, nationally recognized boardwalk, the Carolina Beach State Park, one-of-a-kind festivals and events, miles of pristine beach and local character around every corner. For more information, go to www.VisitCarolinaBeach.com or call (800) 641-7082. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CarolinaBeachNC or Twitter @CarolinaBeachNC.

January 3, 2013

Humpback Whale Nearly Comes Ashore at Carolina Beach

On December 30, 2012 a humpback whale nearly swam ashore in Carolina Beach.  

We typically get several whale sightings every year during the winter months and most of them occur father out to sea.  But this whale sighting is quite surprising as the whale appears to be just a sand's throw from the shoreline.

The video was posted on Youtube New Year's Eve by Gregasaurus80.  It appears that it was shot with a camera phone as the quality is pretty rough.  The video is only 15 seconds and the whale appears at the 10 second mark. Enjoy!  (click here for previous whale sightings)

January 1, 2013

Pic of the Day: First Carolina Beach Sunrise of 2013

The first sunrise of 2013 was beautifully captured by Lotus Lily-Photography at the Carolina Beach Pier. 

A Cold January Atlantic Dip

How do you celebrate New Years?  Parties, fine dinners, visit with friends?  Sure, that's how most of us do it but Paul Como and his group like to do things a bit different.

Paul dropped me a note letting me know that his posse has once again braved the cold Atlantic water and gone for a plunge.  He noted that it has become an annual tradition for him and his nutty friends to jump into the surf at exactly 7:00am on January 1st.   Their spot of choice, the Carolina Beach Boardwalk.

Joining Paul in the craziness was (from left to right) Robert Morris, James Borden, Paul Como and Gene Forshery.

To the delight of the many spectators who were wondering if this foursome was a bit nuts, the Atlantic dippers got smacked from behind by this surprise wave.

So from Paul and his chilled friends, Happy New Years to all and may your year be filled with warmth, friendship and not so blue skin.

PS.  You can view pics from last years plunge here.

Pic of the Day: Final 2012 Sunrise Carolina Beach

The final sunrise of 2012 captured in its natural state by Benson Stephens. (Carolina Beach Pier)

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