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I've never been a beach person - nor much of a water person for that matter - there are only lakes and rivers in the land-locked Prairies scoured out of the ground by the glacial action of the last ice age and the meltwaters of the Rocky Mountains .

But, I think I could be...

Place name links like Carolina Beach, NC go to Wikipedia. Place name links like Carolina Beach use the local tourism or government website.
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Island of Lights

2012.11.22 Thanksgiving Day



       Today is American Thanksgiving Day, when people gather together, eat turkey (and a lot more), and plan how they're going to shop for deals tomorrow, on Black Friday . Today's local newspaper cost $1.50 (it's usually 50 cents) and contained a solid 4-inch-thick wad of flyers.

The weather last week was pretty dismal: windy and rainy. The surf was up too, and we could see it breaking late and splashing above the line of the dunes. Last Sunday morning the lifeguard shack just to the south wasn't there anymore. So, something was up down there. This morning after saving a TON of money by not buying anything in the flyers, I took a look at the beach. Things had changed. At the end of the walkway, rather than a sandy gap in the dune leading down to the beach, there was instead a four-foot drop. I used the next walkway to the south to get down there, and here's what last week's weather did to the beach and the dunes.

South of the walkway

Our walkway is up there.

North of the walkway

For a half-mile north, the beach and dunes were very scoured.

While to the south (beyond the group of people), the beach
was as before.

This has happened before.
There is a beach nourishment project slated for the winter, so by next year this area will look like it did when I got here. For now I have to use a different walkway, and the soft, fine white sand that used to be there is now grainy and beige.

My route is counter-
clockwise through
the island.
       Today is not a beach day though. The sun is out, it's not really warm, but not really cold, and I don't feel like sitting around. It's a good top-down driving day though, and the Fort Fisher to Southport ferry is running. So off I go to see Oak Island, NC , one of three south-facing islands west of Southport.

Today the ferry is pretty quiet, only 12 vehicles, and at 5 bucks each probably not enough to pay for the diesel to run it. But I have enough room to move around a lot, and take a lot of photos, so here's a montage of the trip.

It is possible to drive to Southport from Carolina Beach, but it takes well over an hour to drive north through Wilmington traffic, cross the Cape Fear River , and then back south through Brunswick County on a 2-lane road, whereas it's 15 minutes to the ferry, and then a half-hour to cross Cape Fear .

Leaving Fort Fisher

The cape-side remnants of the Fort are the hilly area on the right.

Imagine commuting to work this way each day, versus fighting traffic.











Arriving at Southport   






I drove to the western-most end of the island and stopped to take pictures of the beach there. A whole family was lined up in their beach chairs enjoying the warm holiday sun.   


   Then I hopped back in the car and headed east to the other end of the island, taking pictures as I drove.   

Only try this on a
holiday when there
is no traffic!

The eastern end of the island is some sort of Baptist Church compound with a gate-house, so I turned back and headed west, stopping at the (unmanned) Oak Island Lighthouse , once the brightest in the world.   





By then I was starving, and with most restaurants closed for the holiday there weren't many places to choose from but Nay-Nay's Diner was open and served me a tasty home-made cheeseburger, though I was there a half-hour too early for their turkey dinner. I had my turkey dinner back in October before I left, so I didn't feel too bad. The next ferry back to Fort Fisher was set to leave soon, so I didn't have time to linger.


<-- This lady was
the first person
I met who knew
where Canada was


Loading pier for
Midland factory
making sugar from
sugar beets


Notice the bicycle
handles: 2 people
rode their bikes on

The other ferry


Fort Fisher rampart










That was it for Southport and Oak Island for the day. All that remained was to capture the sunset, which happens pretty quickly.   











And finally, for the day, some pictures after sunset.   

Birds over the water

Four people and a baby


The Oak Island Lighthouse

flashes on the left.
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Document EKA/LQRF/0.1:2012.12.04    A branch of The BRIDGE Tree