Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March Winds on the Coast

Spring has arrived on the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina.  While we might be surprised with the early dose of warmth that 2012 has delivered to us, no one who lives here on the coast is surprised by the wind which is nearly a constant companion this time of year.

It does not matter whether you are on the river in a skiff as in the picture at the top of the post or walking along the beach.  Things are usually all stirred up by the winds through much of March and April.

We live on a very sheltered cove just off the White Oak River.  It is not unusual for spring winds to blow directly into our cove and create waves on our normally very quiet little inlet.

Waves on our inlet are not much cause for worry, but waves out on the river and sounds are a different story.  When you are trying use a skiff to get from one point to another and there are white caps on the river, you have to get your boat up on top of the waves and hold it there even as the winds and waves change.

If you don't, it can be a bumpy ride it. Handling a boat on top of the waves takes some practice, and even then sometimes things get rough.  A ride down the river with choppy water is nothing like a ride down the river on a quiet summer morning when the river is glassy smooth.  Still riding on some rough water is part of spring.

While we have great days in spring, there is no shortage of wind in the spring.  While the winds make the water rough for a time, they don't keep us at the dock all of the time.

As one of my fishing buddies is fond of saying, "All you have to do is find the right spot, and you will be out of the wind."  Sometimes in the spring and even in the fall, we will use Bear Island (Hammocks Beach State) as a windbreak.  There is a great channel behind the island.  It is often sheltered from some of our more persistent winds. Where there is will, there usually is a way to get on the water.

No one questions that our world of dazzling water exposes us to lots of wind and weather.  However, we are fortunate that we can count on our weather to nice more often that not here along North Carolina's Crystal Coast.

How many ofter places can you plant your tomato plants and go wading in ocean water in March and the next day cool off in the neighborhood swimming pool after mowing your yard for the first time in 2012?  I wonder how April 2012 could possibly top March? Then again, April 2011, was certainly a month to remember.

Maybe the winds will stop in early April this year.  It is the coast, and since we usually don't know the weather until we wake up in the morning, I wouldn't be surprised. Whatever happens, you will find me on or near the water most days because living here is all about the water.