Friday, October 24, 2008

Home waters

Our word is strange place these days. Technology encourages us to experience as much as possible as quickly as possible.

Exploring areas close to your home might not seem as rewarding as flying half way around the world to climb a famous mountain, but first impressions can be deceiving.

The picture above and to the left is what I consider my home waters. It happens to be about a five minute paddle from my dock. The water is part of the White Oak River, and I spend a fair amount of my time there either in an outboard powered skiff or my kayak.

While the surface looks smooth, what's below that surface is anything but smooth. Large oyster rocks (piles of oyster shells) can be just beneath the surface. The depth of the river can be anything from a few inches to over twenty feet. In the area where I paddle the most, the river is about a mile and one half wide. Ten minutes by power boat from there, the river is less than fifty feet wide. Then minutes in the other direction and the river joins Bogue Sound and not far from there the Atlantic Ocean. Of course there are also tides and winds to confound a boater.

In fact just to safely navigate the White Oak River, it is recommended that you stay in a marked channel. Sometimes the wind can blow much of the water out of the river. Even in the channel there will be places with only three or four feet of water.

Still Exploring the river is a lot of fun. Maybe in a few years, I will grow bored with the White Oak, but right now I am enjoying learning the river in detail.

The river can be a source of great peace. It can also bring storm surges and heavy waves. It can be a quiet as a pond as in my slide show, Mackerel Morning.

There are days that I push the throttle all the way forward and zoom down the White Oak to Bogue Inlet, but there are also times like today when we throw out the anchor less than five minutes from home.

Learning the river and catching its fishes have become dual passions of mine. It is fun exploring, and since there is no guide book, you have to figure it out on your own.

There is a certain amount of satisfaction in doing that. I might just be the person to write up the history of the White Oak.

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