A fun Outer Banks retreat.
The owner shares some beach experiences.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

The family is wrapping up the 2010 beach season with a stay at Relaxation Station.

On Sunday, after a great breakfast at Diamond Shoals restaurant in Buxton, a couple hours were spent regaining the old sea legs Stand Up Paddling (SUP) at Avon pier. There was no wind, small surf and tons of dolphins on the outside. After sunset a beautiful orange full moon came up over the ocean. Just chilly enough tonight for the hot tub to feel really good. Spring and fall are definitely the best time to enjoy a hot tub.

I grabbed a coffee and caught a small wave SUP morning session in front of the Avon cottages via ramp 38. It was fun driving on a new part of the beach but it is narrow and steep there so definitely not for the inexperienced or less capable 4WDs. In the afternoon I surfed near the old lighthouse. It had clouded up making the sky and glassy smooth ocean merge. I was distracted once buy the perfect reflection of a pelican flying overhead. As a tight formation of dolphins passed close buy, I found myself eye-to-eye with one as it swam on its side beneath the nose of my board. Awesome!

A warm and sunny day. I sailed my SUP in a light side-onshore breeze with just enough surf to keep it interesting. Stopped by Indian Town gallery and chatted with Ann the owner about the latest on beach access. This fall, with the beautiful beaches and lack of crowds it's easy to forget that spring and summer are now very different with miles of beach closures, not only to driving but to pedestrians too. Beach house rentals are way off in the spring with local businesses feeling the crunch too. Fishermen can no longer get to the places they and their fathers fished from so many of them no longer come. The relentless expansion and reach of big brother has to be stopped. Please do what you can, vote, write letters, donate to organizations representing beach goer interests. So spring isn't looking good but it's supposed to be windy tomorrow! I'm looking forward to some high wind ocean action!

A strong north wind filled in this morning. I took a few quick runs at lifeguard beach with huge shore break and no surf. A few hours later I sailed at the old lighthouse beach with a fellow named Sasha. Fully powered 5.8 on my 93 liter board with some friendly waves. I got my first true cutbacks today, clew first heading back up the wave and having the white water kick the board back to the beach. Wow! They felt good!

The family is converging tonight. Three form the north and two via the ferries to and from Ocracoke. We have an obscenely big turkey in the fridge. We wonder if we have big enough pans to handle it. Worst case, we have a meat cleaver!

Thursday (Thanksgiving)
Thankful to have a nice beach house and time to spend Thanksgiving with the family. A few of us went to the south side near Frisco to do some paddling (SUP) and catch some rays on a beautifully warm day. Also kind of thankful that the surf and wind are both low today so it is easier to stay at the house and help with the cooking and cleaning.

Friday (Black)
Hooked up with Bill Bell at Ramp 23 and did some light wind surf sailing until the cold front blew in, straight off shore. A little scary getting back to shore which was straight up wind.

Ken caught a 4.6 session at the hole early morning and Dan did a SUP down-winder from the creek in our backyard out to the sound and all the way to Canadian Hole using a strong NW breeze to help his paddling.
Another great week on the Outer Banks is ending. It's time to take down the house sign, winterize the house and hit the busy holiday highway. I'm already looking forward to our next visit.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Back at Hatteras

The little guy that inspired our house sign takes refuge behind the sign!

I picked up a new sail and SUP today. I had a nice light wind wave session at Ramp 30 with Keith M. Waist high waves were just the right size for my reentry into wave sailing after a summer with no sailing since June. After the sailing session I headed to the south side to get side off winds and got my new SUP wet. I saw a few dolphins and had a blast surfing the small waves in the warm clear water. A great first day back at Hatteras!
I had a short morning SUP session at ramp 38. High tide with no breaking surf and a light N breeze. I paddled into the wind for a quarter mile or so and then "downwinded" back to my launch.
In the afternoon, I headed south to the airport ramp. I launched amid a fishing tournament spread out along the entire beach and was quickly greeted by a dolphin. After a few failed ride attempts, I finally saw a good break back east where it was a bit too crowded to park because of so many fishermen. Once I got up there I immediately started catching some fun waves. I was joined by James on his 9 foot SUP. James and his wife Teresa were staying at their beach house in Salvo down from their home in Portsmouth, VA. I admitted to James that I wasn't thrilled to see another SUPer because I didn't feel ready to ride in the vicinity of others. But James laughed at my concerns and gave me great encouragement and tips. We even had a couple party waves. My only regret was when out on the water he loaned me his Werner Nitro carbon paddle with a narrow 7 inchish wide blade. I loved it. When he handed back my fiberglass paddle it felt like a rock! Maybe I'll get lucky and break my paddle.
Very rainy. Hello mosquitos! Had a great sunset session at the Hole with Andy, Frisco George and another fellow. Tried fwds about five times. Good progress.
Morning wave session at Avon pier in a north wind with my SUP and a five eight sail. Pretty fun but I cut the session short as I was a bit intimidated by some of the big shore break should I go down inside.
Mid-day and the north wind has filled in! Spent a couple hours at the Hole. Tried about three forwards on my first few runs out (5.8, 93 liter). They are starting to come around!

Looks like Igor's swell will be hitting Hatteras around contest time. Just before sunset I took the SUP to the hole. No one on the water as the wind was a light 6 or 8 knots. I sailed the SUP and tried different mast track positions. The board is awesome on flat water in light winds. So stable yet very turnable. This session brought back memories of my first year sailing in Florida. The magic of being propelled quietly through the water with no roaring motor or exhaust smell is still there!
West breeze SUP session at Avon pier in the morning. Caught a couple and a couple caught me.
Mid day Dave C visited and later Bob Ramsey and Andy from Delaware. They are in the competition.
Around 5:30 headed for Ramp 30 on Andy's advice. Ken and Stuart were there and just launching with a couple other surfers. George M caught up with us. Pretty hard to catch waves at first but it got better. First nose ride, awesome. Saw a shark in close or a reasonable facsimile.


Wave Jam started today. I had a nice SUP session at ramp 30 before the 10 am skippers' meeting. We sailed the ocean near the Hatteras ferry docks. For me all SUP, first with a sail and then paddling the rest of the day.


They held the amateur contest today due to rising surf from Igor and a questionable wind forecast. I was eliminated in the first heat but my heat winners took 1st, 2nd and 3rd so I can blame my early elimination on bad luck on the heat draw.


Very light wind and huge surf. Only one sailor made it out to catch one wave while a few bold SUPers made it out for some exciting 12 foot wave action.


Crazy huge surf. Pro Graham Ezzy even looked pensive as he prepared. Graham and a few more made it out to sail some mast high waves. I caught a light wind sound session and headed home.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Great Week at Hatteras

June 26th to July 3rd
Ken got his fill of strong warm SW winds the first three days. We brought a trailer (5X8) which works great for Ken's windsurfing. We can drop Ken off at a sailing site, unhitch the trailer and leave him with all his gear and a loaded ice chest. The rest of the family then has the car for other fun stuff.
The trailer is also great to pack a ton of food including prearranged frozen meals (Dream Dinners) so we don't have to go to the grocery store the first thing at Hatteras when it is usually really crowded.

Some of our activites:
The boys and Ken and Sharon kayaked out of the back yard.
Of course Ken sailed on the sound in high winds.
We all had great fish dinners at the Diamond Shoals Restaurant in Buxton.
We went to the Indian Town Gallery art fair in Frisco and picked a few nice things. It's great to meet some of the artists that made the art in our house.
We had a bon fire off of ramp 38 and cooked smores.
Finding the ocean along Avon a little chilly, we drove down to the south side near the airfield and drove on the beach there. The water was warmer and very clear and the waves were much more boogie boardable due to the more gentle beach slope.
Ken rented a stand up paddle board at Wind -NC near Village Video. The two older kids took it out for a few tentative forays in the ocean. On Ken's second day of SUP he got his sea legs and started catching and riding waves. The day after that he sailed the SUP with a windsurfer sail. I think he's hooked.
Lindsey took a surfing lesson, she could get going and could just start to stand before getting dunked. She made great progress for her first time and is looking forward to more water time.
The weather was pretty cool. Hot southerly winds the first half. Then some heavy rain and a tornado in the middle! Then more comfortable northly breezes the rest of the week

Well that should give the general gist of how our week went. Can't wait until next time!