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Agri-tourism Growing in Pender page 4

Summer 2012 vol. xxvi #2


2012 立 summer 立 Sounds 1

Pender County Has a Bit of Everything By Jason Tyson Sounds Staff Writer The State of North Carolina is a vast and diverse place, consisting of beautiful beaches, rolling sandhills and wild forests. And all that’s before you even get to the mountains. Pender County, the state’s fifth largest in terms of land area, like a small eastern North Carolina wrapped into one, a diverse county that’s a like a pocket-sized state. There are beautiful beaches with great surfing, the intracoastal waterway for boating and fishing and beautiful forest gamelands for hunting and wildlife enthusiasts to count among its natural resources. Holly Shelter and Angola Bay combined make-up 87,000 acres of wild terrain, and yes, there’s some bears in there. Crocs too. While some will say the county’s crowning jewel is the 26 mile, three-town stretch of Topsail Island, others will contend its the down-home feeling when you drive west a little ways. Sounds is and has been both a guide and magazine for a long time, and the staff here is committed to the traditions of that, in addition to interjecting some new ideas for this publication.

Sounds About the Cover

While the sun sets on Surf City in the background, sisters Melanie (l) and Morgan Sanchez (r) show off their riding skills. Morgan is riding Skylar, a Palomino Appaloosa, while Melanie sits atop Alexis, an Appaloosa. The Sanchez sisters are riding students at Desperado Horse Farm in Rocky Point, Morgan for three years and Melanie for one. Horses courtesy of Desperado Horse Farm photos by Stephen Carpenter and Ann Vitous

Topsail has sandy beaches, Hampstead has fish and commerce and Burgaw has hometown appeal. What more could you ask for than what’s inside Pender County? Be sure you check out our fishing article by Captain David Baxley, who is a regular contributor to the Post & Voice newspaper. He’ll let you in on what kind of species you can expect to catch off of Topsail Island. Chris Rackley has his ear to the ground when it comes to real estate, and he’ll give you a state of that industry in this area, which is starting to bounce back this year. We also received a strange correspondence from one of this area’s oldest and most infamous residents, the pirates, who reportedly still troll these waters in search of a vessel to commandeer. Be on the lookout for them, and may you experience all the wonderful and various things Topsail Island and Pender County have to offer. And thank you for reading, and hopefully, enjoying Sounds Magazine.



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PUBLISHER Les High STAFF WRITER Jason Tyson DESIGN Abigail Spach ADVERTISING Brenda Curtin Stephen Carpenter CIRCULATION Michelle Charles PHOTOGRAPHY Jason Tyson Stephen Carpenter Ann Vitous

Sounds Magazine is published three times a year and designed to serve the greater Topsail area. Correspondence, including letter to the editor, may be sent to The Post and Voice, PO Box 880, US Hwy 17 N, Hampstead, NC 28443. Our telephone number is 910. 270.9315 or email us at Subscriptions are included with the Post & Voice newspaper. Magazine is property of The Post Publishers, Inc. All material within this publication may be reproduced only by special permission.



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Sanchez Sisters Live To Ride Horses Agri-tourism Growing in Pender

By Jason Tyson Sounds Staff Writer


There are a lot of different types of recreation Pender County has to offer to adventure seekers, but there may be no better way to see the natural beauty of this area than on the back of a horse. There are also hundreds of horses in Pender County, grazing on farms and roaming large tracts of land. You can even buy one of your own; there were two farms selling horses between Rocky Point and Burgaw just last week, for example. There are also two prominent farms in the area that offer lessons, trail rides and event services for people seeking a guide or teacher with equestrian experience. One of those farms even offers beach rides starting in the fall and winter, an experience some people who visit this area often dream of . For a county so rich with agriculture, Pender’s agri-tourism options are also plentiful. The coast has many types of fishing, and vast farmlands offer crops to be picked on the vine or purchased at the market. But experiences with a horse are special. No one knows that better than Chris Lutterloah, the owner and main driving force behind Desperado Horse Farms in Rocky Point. With a few part-timers that help out, Lutterloah operates the farm virtually alone some days, which consists of taking care of 13 of his own horses and two that board there, not an easy task. Two of the people that assist him are Morgan and Melanie Sanchez, sisters from Wilmington who enjoy riding. “I love it when I am riding and break into a canter,” Morgan Sanchez said. “It’s a thrill and I think one of the best type of hobbies to have.” Melanie Sanchez, 14, says riding a horse feels natural and gives her the sensation of freedom. “I enjoy coming out and riding because of the calming effect the animals have on you,” she said. Desperado is not your typical farm. The style of management there is a bit more rugged than you may find at farms with larger full-time staffs, but the horses are also more disciplined. They are allowed more freedom to roam around the fields, and they come into the barn on their own to feed several times a day. “I offer lessons and trail rides seven days a week,” Lutterloah said. “As well as parties and events. I’ll also do beach rides at Carolina Beach from October to March.” The town of Topsail Beach allows people to ride on the south end of the beach during those time, for a fee of $25 a horse each. You can also purchase an annual permit for $50 each year. North Topsail Beach and Surf City do not allow horses on their beaches at any point during the year. However, Lutterloah keeps things local during the summertime, having access to his 35 acres, plus several hundreds of acres that surround his Rocky Point farm. “In 1964 my father won a pony at a bluegrass festival in

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Wilmington and since that time I have come to love horses,” Lutterloah said. “I’ve had Desperado since 1990.” Shingleton Farms in Hampstead also offers lessons and trail rides, but they do not offer beach rides at this time. As for the Sanchez sisters, they both hope their bonds with horses continue throughout their formative years and into adulthood.

Topsail Island Real Estate Market

Heating Up For 2012 By Chris Rackley Special Contributor to Sounds

Although the national economy has shown only slight up ticks throughout the year, here in the Topsail real estate market, we seem to be doing much better than a few years ago. There are several indicators we can use to show the condition of our island real estate market although we will namely be looking at absorption rates. An absorption rate is a term used to evaluate real estate markets. The rate answers the question that if no new listings come on the market, how many months will it take to exhaust the current supply of listings? A balanced market’s rate should be typically between five to seven months. In the current economy although, its very hard to find a market with such a “quick” rate. Utilizing data from the Topsail Island MLS, we have found that the island real estate market comprised of Surf City, Topsail Beach and North Topsail Beach residential and multi-family units is approximately 14 months Again, this means if no new listings come on the market, it will take the market just over 14 months to exhaust our supply of sales listings. Yes, 14 months is a long time but we are EXCITED! Just a couple of years ago, the absorption rate was as much as two and half years. So it is very easy to see that our market activity has increased exponentially. Does this mean we are at the “bottom” of the market? Possibly. If this trend continues, the supply will decrease resulting in the demand increasing which of course, raises the price or value. So how do we know this for sure we are at or near the bottom? There is no 100% way to tell until the price actually starts increasing but then we have missed an opportunity for some great deals at a fraction of the property’s potential value. But the greatest indicator of when to buy is the popularity of the area itself. Coastal properties tend to remain popular even in downturns and typically bounce back before other areas. The 2012 vacation rental season at Topsail appears to be one of the best in many

years with families visiting from all over our country and even Canada & United Kingdom! With its increasing popularity, unbelievably low interest rates, less stringent financing, Topsail can prove to be nothing but a great investment right now and tomorrow! About the Author: Chris Rackley is the President/Owner of Lewis Realty Associates, Inc located in Surf City, NC. Lewis Realty Associates is one of the oldest firms on the island and also one of the fastest growing. The company handles real estate sales with a broker staff of 12 brokers and a property management division offering vacation and long term rentals. The company can be contacted at 800.233.5211 or on the web at where the only Topsail Island smart phone app, TIRealFind, is available to assist you in your real estate searches.

2012 Ω summer Ω Sounds 5

Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center Affectionately known as “the Turtle Hospital.” It is the passion and inspiration of one person, Jean Beasley who named the hospital in memory of her daughter’s efforts to save the sea turtles. Jean’s hasbrought international attention to the uncertain future of sea turtles; every day dedicated and tireless volunteers and interns care for dozens of injured and sick turtles. But the best part of these efforts is the turtle releases, which happens 2-3 times a year. Once the turtles are fit to return to the sea, they are weighed and tagged. Convoys of trucks, loaded with turtles of all different sizes, head to the beach as hundreds of people make way for the procession as turtle after turtle is hand carried to the water. If you don’t get to experience the emotional scene of the releases, you can visit the turtles, hear their stories and learn what you can do to help. Soon the turtles will be moving to a new facility on Community Center Drive in Surf City.

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822 Carolina Avenue PO Box 3012 Topsail Beach, NC 28445 Phone: 910.328.3377 1.800.626.2780

Surf City & Topsail Beach

Public Access Points Topsail Beach Between 403 & 405 N Anderson Between 509 & 511 N Anderson Between 799 & 801 N Anderson Between 915 N Anderson & bldg F Queens Grant Gaye Ave Barnett Ave Rocky Mount Empie Ave Haywood Ave Davis Ave Crews Ave Hines Ave (Handicap Accessible) Scott Ave Crocker Ave Darden Ave Smith Ave South side of Sea Vista Trout Ave Boryk Ave (Handicap accessible) McLeod Ave Godwin Ave

Stevens Street (520 North Shore Drive) 509 North Shore Drive Wilmington Ave (502 North Shore Drive ) New Bern Ave (402 North Shore Drive) Goldsboro Ave Access Greensboro Ave Access Roland Ave Access Kinston Ave Access (200 South Shore Drive) High Point Ave Access (300 South Shore Drive) Raleigh Ave Access (400 South Shore Drive) Durham Ave Access (500 South Shore Drive) Charlotte Ave Access (600 South Shore Drive)

Quarterhorse Ave Access (1100 South Shore Drive) 1140 South Shore Drive Windward Drive Access 1526 South Shore Drive 1600 South Shore Drive 1700 South Shore Drive 1800 South Shore Drive 1900 South Shore Drive 2404 South Shore Drive 2808 South Shore Drive 3016 South Shore Drive

Surf City 9th Street (2111 North Shore Drive) 9th Street 7th Street (2000 North Shore Drive) 5th Street (1900 North Shore Drive) 2nd Street (1800 North Shore Drive) Broadway Street (1603 N. Shore Drive) Pender Ave (1501 North Shore Drive) Lenior Ave (1407 North Shore Drive) Jones Ave (1226 North Shore Drive) Craven Ave (1120 North Shore Drive) Mecklenburg Ave (1104 North Shore Drive) Dolphin Street (620 North Shore Drive)

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Things to Do, Places to See in Pender Information is Courtesy of Pender County Tourism. For more information, see

Places: Historic Downtown Burgaw Tree lined streets of historic downtown Burgaw boast an eclectic variety of 18th & 19th century architecture that represent a vanishing example of a bygone era. In addition, the historic district is the home of the NC Blueberry Festival & the recently renovated oldest depot in the state, dating back prior to the Civil War. Though Burgaw has gone through many changes, one thing that hasn’t changed is the small town charm & rich historic character. Get your walking shoes ready & stroll through our shady streets. See for yourself what makes Burgaw “A Charming Town Year Round”. 109 N Walker Street Burgaw, NC 28425 Phone: 910-259-2151 Website: www.townofburgaw. com Ecological Marine Adventures

Ecological Marine Adventures provides kids with an exciting opportunity to explore the coast of Topsail Island; we are a Marine Education Center that specializes in the education of children. We offer a wide variety of activities with something for the whole family! Kids can participate in Ocean Adventure Day Camps, Beach Adventure Walks, Little Guppy’s Surf School and Family Night Time Ghost Crab Hunts! Children participating in EMA adventures will have fun, learn cool stuff and see the world in a new and exciting way! 912 S Anderson Blvd. 102 Bunker Ct. Hampstead, NC 28443 Phone: 704-578-3505 Email: Missiles and More Museum Artifact preservation and data museum for the Topsail area first opened in 1997. Today, exhibits include Operation Bumblebee, Camp Davis, pirate

and Native American exhibits, a natural history exhibit, an Osprey Aircraft exhibit. Learn more about the long history of the island (back to the days when Blackbeard the Pirate buried his yet-to-be-found treasure here) at the Missiles and More Museum. The Museum also has a Barrier Island exhibit. During World War II, a select group of young, daring, female pilots became not only pioneers but heroes. They were the WASP (Womens AirForce Service Pilots), the first women trained to fly American military aircraft. They served domestically, ferrying and testing, towing targets and training men to fly. There is a new exhibit which traces the history of this elite group of women and pays tribute to their service and valor. May 24 – Sept 4 Mon-Sat, 2-5 p.m. Sept 6 – Oct 17 Mon-Fri, 2-5 p.m.

720 Channel Boulevard Topsail Beach, NC 28445 Phone: 910-328-1950 Moores Creek National Battlefield Site of one of the first battles in the South of the Revolutionary War and the first patriot victory of the war. Throughout the park, remnants remain of the 1776 road traveled by patriot and loyalist forces. A .7-mile trail with wayside exhibits leads through the battlefield and across Moores Creek. The historic bridge site is located along the trail. The park offers a visitor center with exhibits, lighted troop movement maps and film; a .3 mile colonial forest trail, and a picnic area. 40 Patriots Hall Drive Currie, NC 28435 Phone: 910-283-5591 Website: index.htm Pender County Museum Preserving the history of Pender through documents, artifacts, photos, and genealogy collection of the museum. The house contains the Mattie Bloodworth Room, a collection of WWII Veterans remembrances, several family bibles, civil war information, clothes from the 19th century, old medical equipment and many other artifacts. The barn contains a collection of agriculture equipment and items relating to Pender’s past as a hub of the naval stores and timber industries. 200 W Bridgers Street Burgaw, NC 28425 Phone: 910-259-8543 Website:

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Poplar Grove Plantation (picture below left) Opened as a museum in 1980; today the mansion is on the National Register of Historic Homes. Poplar Grove Plantation preserves the homestead of a successful farming family, the outbuildings and crafts typical of an 1800s era working community. Poplar Grove is preserved through the efforts of the non-profit Poplar Grove Foundation. At Poplar Grove you will find nature trails, a blacksmith, basket makers, a weaver and beautiful grounds. Hours of Operation Thursday 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm, Friday 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am - 2:00 pm 10200 US Hwy 17 N Wilmington, NC 28411 Phone: (910) 686-9518 Penderlea Homestead Museum The Penderlea Homestead Museum is housed in one of the first homesteads built in 1936 by the Department of the Interior on Penderlea Homestead Farms, a resettlement community in Pender County developed under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Hours of Operation: Saturday 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm, or by appointment 284 Garden Road 9898 Penderlea Hwy Willard, NC 28478 Phone: (910) 285-3490 Burgaw Train Depot Come take a tour of the Burgaw Train Depot. It is believed to be the oldest train depot in the state of North Carolina,

dating back to 1850. Recently renovated, the depot contains many facilities under one roof, the Burgaw Area Chamber of Commerce, Railroad Museum, Transportation Museum, Pender County Arts Council, and the Visitor’s Center. So take a step back in time enjoy the museums and take a tour. The kids are sure to love the rail car and loading dock. The building is also on the National Register of Historic Places and the Civil War Trail. We have rental space that includes a 2,000 sq ft banquet room (seats 120 people, standing 250 people) and Conference Room (14 people). For reservations and tour information contact the Burgaw Chamber at (910) 259-9817. 115 S Dickerson Street

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Burgaw, NC 28425 Phone: 910-259-9817 Special Events and Festivals: 2012 Earth and Surf Fest The Earth & Surf Fest is an Environmental Awareness event that promotes Environmental Stewardship. There will be a paddleboard and kayak race, 5K run, beach yoga, music and booths, plus many other events.The festival will be held July 7 at Beach Access No. 2 in North Topsail Beach. For more information, call (910) 3303140 or visit Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival The Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival celebrates it’s 42nd year on August 11 and 12. A tradition that began as a way to

honor the local fishing community has grown over the years, drawing crowds of more than 10,000 people. There will be a parade, food vendors, art and crafts and a shrimp heading contest. A car show and shrimp ball will also be held For more information, visit Farmer’s Market at Poplar Grove Poplar Grove’s Farm Market offers absolutely fresh fruits, vegetables, plants, herbs, flowers, eggs, cheese, meats, seafood, honey and more. The market also features fresh baked goods, pickled okra, peanuts, handcrafted one-ofa-kind gifts such as jewelry, scented candles, scherrenschnidt, and pottery. Cooking classes with a four-star New

York chef. Wednesdays 8:00 am- 1:00 pm. Visit or call (910) 6869518 for more information. North Carolina Spot Festival The two-day Spot Festival celebrates the spot fish, a staple of Hampstead. The highlight is the Spot Dinners with all the fixings along with other regional food. Enjoy the firework celebration on Saturday night. For more information call (888) 699-9907 or visit Sept. 29 and 30, 2012 from 9:45 am - 10:30 pm Hwy 17 North across from Deerfield in Hampstead Autumn with Topsail The festival features a juried Artists’ Court with many regional artists displaying and

selling their work, live musical entertainment, a variety of food vendors, games and rides for children, & more. Held at the Missile Assembly Building in Topsail Beach. For more information call (800) 626-2780 or visit Saturday, October 20, 2012, 7:30 am - 8:00 pm Sunday, October 21, 2012, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm Fireworks on July 3rd The Town of Surf City will hold Independence Day celebrations starting at 6 p.m. on July 3rd, 2012 at Soundside Park. Mark Roberts & Breeze will play and Mayor Zander Guy will speak. Fireworks will go off at 9 p.m. No alcoholic beverages will be allowed. For more info, call (910) 328-4131.

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12 Sounds 立 summer 立 2012

Boat Ramp, New Store Open in Hampstead By Jason Tyson Sounds Staff Writer


After years of scouting, lobbying, negotiations, approvals, clearing and construction, Hampstead’s boat ramp was finally opened to the public in a ceremony May 18. Mark Hamlett of N.C. Fish and Wildlife emceed the event, which featured remarks from state and local officials, including Pender County Commissioners George Brown, David Williams and F.D. Rivenbark, Rep. Carolyn Justice and State Senator Bill Rabon. “There were so many people out there who made this possible,” Brown said. “We might not always agree as commissioners but this was one thing we could all agree on.” Brown also said that the great “motivator” for the project was Justice, and if it were up to him he would name the ramp after her. “This ramp will proudly serve the state’s anglers, hunters, boaters and trappers,” Justice said. “In the long effort to find money for this ramp we were able to assist Surf City with their ramp.” Following the cutting of the ribbon, the first official boat launched off of the ramp was a small green metal “john” boat owned by Mr. Walter Bell and his sons, who participated in the ceremony. “This is one of those feel good things that we worked really hard for,” Williams said. “I got a lot of phone calls supporting this and we hope that folks who use it will respect the neighbors of this area.” Rivenbark said the project was 16 years in the making and that he had been trying to work towards it for a long time. Officials used grant money to help purchase the six and a half acres for the $2.8 million purchase price, while construction took five months and cost $650,000. While officials and the public are excited about the new water access, Ron Baxley has more reason than most to be. He has been busy preparing a new store

nearby for the boaters and visitors who come down Lewis Road to use the ramp. Baxley’s Quartermaster Store @ Marker 90 will be a combination tackle shop and fish market, and will also serve as a hub for charter boats. “The boat ramp is probably one of the biggest thing to happen to Pender County in a long time,” Baxley said. “Not only will this save people both car and boat fuel, and we have needed something like this for a long time.” The ramp will provide the only public boat access be-

tween Surf City and Wrightsville Beach. The store will provide fishing equipment and fresh seafood, as well as cold drinks and sundries. “We’ll have four commercial boats, and i’ll sell mackerel, shrimp and even mud minnows to the public,” he said. Rabon championed the ramp as a “bi-partisan effort” and told the crowd that the ramp was the result of hard work. “Good things come to those who wait. This is for everybody and I hope everybody enjoys it,” he said.

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piratical PONDERINGS Editors Note: While working on Sounds Magazine the editors received this highly unusual piece of correspondence delivered to us in a rum bottle, which begins below: As many folks who know the history of Topsail Island often tell, the waters around Topsail have always been infested with pirates. Notable scallywags such as Blackbeard, Calico Jack Rackham, Stede Bonnet and Charles Vane sailed the inlets and waterways in pursuit of gold, tobacco, silks, rum and redheads. More recently, we, The Pirates of the Raven have decided to settle in. Life as a pirate has its ups and downs. Mostly ups, since we avoid four letter words like “work”. Lately though, we’ve been faced with enemies who can’t be cut down with a cutlass or blasted with canon fire. The world of banking, foreclosures and apathy is no place for sailing a pirate vessel. It’s a place where parrots don’t squawk and wenches don’t giggle. Thankfully, our home in Surf City has decided that rather than hang their pirates, they should embrace them. As anyone who has dealt with pirates before will

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By The Pirates of the Raven

tell you, gratitude isn’t the first word that comes to mind to describe their attitudes. We, though, will be the first ones to say that it’s how we feel about Surf City and the surrounding communities. As pirates we don’t drop names often and would rather keep our supporters quietly unidentified but many thanks are due to folks known as Zander, Hyrum, Scott and Sydney for helping to move mountains and for bending over backwards to show that if something bad has happened, the community will rally to help. The outpouring of concern and desire to help has been unbelievable and overwhelmingly encouraging. To just say “thank you” or talk about how grateful we are to have this much support wouldn’t do justice to the feelings we have as a pirate crew. Leaving this island would have been disappointing not only to the community but also to the entire family of folks on The Raven and The Belle of Topsail. Having said all of that we must warn you to hide your gold, rum and redheads or risk the full fury of Captain Pelican Joe, James Crow, Matt Heron, Lilly “Tickles” Finch, Scarlet Macaw, Sparky Peacock and Tom Turkey. We’ll be watching for you in the

352 Intracostal Waterway and will only give quarter to those who surrender immediately and completely. Otherwise, prepare to be boarded and pillaged!

Picture Perfect in Pender

2012 立 summer 立 Sounds 15

Surf City Offering Commemorative Brick Pavers By Allan W. Libby

Surf City is soon to be turning clay into memories, as the town introduces its first sale of commemorative bricks. Following the practice of a number of communities, colleges and universities and other businesses and organizations, the 4”x8” brick pavers provide an opportunity to publicly display one’s support, fondness and affection for the town that has been the heart of Topsail Island for over 60 years. The bricks are to be displayed at the town’s Welcome Center, located at 102 North Shore Dr., immediately north of the Roland Ave. beach access. The commemorative bricks are to be set out on a path leading from the sidewalk along North Shore Drive, east toward the front of the building. They present a distinctive opportunity for residents, businesses, non-profit organizations, clubs and visitors to demonstrate their emotional or sentimental attachment to the town. Town staff estimates that it will take only approxi-

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mately 1,800 bricks to fill in the designated area. Each 4”x8” brick can accommodate up to 20 laser engraved characters each, on up to three lines of text. The town is offering bricks at a price of $100 each. According to town staff, at the beginning of summer over 160 bricks had already been sold, and staff hopes the first round of bricks can be laid in by the first of August. A limited number of 8”x8” bricks are to be made available for $500. All commemorative bricks will be offered on a first-come, first-paid basis. Surf City mayor Zander Guy says, “We are pleased to introduce the town’s new ‘Walk of Fame,’ and anticipate a quick and encouraging response to this exciting initiative. Net proceeds from the project will be directed toward the initial landscaping, with the remainder allocated toward promotional activities for the town.” For further information or details on how to purchase a commemorative paver, call the Welcome

Center at 910-328-2716 or e-mail For further information on Surf City events and activities, visit, call (910)328-2716, follow us on Facebook and Twitter or email Allan Libby is the Director of Tourism Development for the Town of Surf City.

Many Species Caught On

Topsail Island By Capts. David and Tammy Baxley

Welcome to Topsail Island. The fishing tradition runs deep in this area dating back to the Native Americans. Fin-fish, shellfish and crustaceans of all types are harvested and shipped up and down the east coast here. The first settlers quickly discovered the bounty the local waters could provide and made good use of it. The local oysters are a delicacy. Stump sound oysters are known up and down the east coast as some of the finest anywhere. Blue crabs harvested here are shipped to markets as far north as New York. The local shrimp are sold and cooked at every restaurant in the area and are shipped far and wide. There are numerous fishing options around here. The easiest is surf or pier fishing. All you really need is a good rod and two-hook bottom rig along with some bait. Cut bait such as mullet, squid, or shrimp will work just dandy. You might be able to catch some sand fleas or mole crabs in the edge of the surf zone and use them. The catch might be anything from red or black drum, pompano, spots, bluefish, mullet, Spanish mackerel, blowfish; who knows what else might be biting. When you fish from the beach or the pier, cast into the surf zone where the waves are breaking and wait. In the summer the best time usually is after dark when everyone is out of the water. On the piers you might have a shot at king mackerel, cobia or tarpon, but you need a little more specialized equipment. The pier operators will help you with info on what is biting and on what bait. Offshore are another option and we are lucky to have some good fishing boat captains around here. The local tackle shops can help you get set up with a trip, which could be trolling or bottom fishing, according to what you want to do. King mackerel, sailfish, dolphin, cobia, grouper, black bass, snapper, tarpon, amberjack, sharks and tuna are all possible here. Tell the skipper what you want to catch and they will do their best to put you on the fish. If you want to go out on a head boat we have a couple of good boats in the area and its a cheaper alternative. It mostly bottom fishing for snapper, grouper, and black bass and can be a barrel of fun. The captain and mates will show you how to do it. Bait your hook and remove your fish for you and at the end of the day even clean your catch! If you get seasick this might not be a good option because when they go out they aren’t coming back till the end of the scheduled trip. Inshore guided charters are becoming increasingly popular around here. No seasickness and customized service catering to anyone. This is a good option for families with kids because of the scenery and wildlife you might encounter in addition to the excellent fishing in the backwaters of the Topsail Island area. Big flounder, red drum or redfish (as they are called in some areas of the south), black drum, sheepshead, speckled trout are just a few of the species available. Most guides provide everything you need including licenses. Fishing at Topsail Island can be anything you want it to be. Crabbing in the backwaters, fishing in the sound, offshore in a big boat or sitting on the beach or pier. It’s all up to you to figure out how you want to enjoy some of the best fishing the east coast has to offer and remember to take the kids fishing. Somebody took you when you were a kid, so pass it on to the next generation! Enjoy your time at Topsail and come back soon! 2012 Ω summer Ω Sounds 17

Sea-Level Rise Plan Draws a Crowd By Frank Tursi Courtesy of Coastal Review online

A state meeting on sea-level rise a month or so ago would have drawn a few planners and maybe a handful of scientists from the nearby marine labs. Yesterday, though, the room was packed to hear a committee of the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission discuss the state’s tortured, but now famous, draft policy on sealevel rise. “I don’t think I’ve seen this many people at a planning meeting,” Tancred Miller, a coastal policy analyst for the state Division of Coastal Management, noted before outlining the latest changes to the policy for the CRC’s Estuarine and Ocean Committee. That’s what worldwide media attention will do. The budding policy, which has quietly gone through several revisions over the past two years, fell into the glare of the media spotlight after the N.C. Senate began considering a bill a month ago that was widely interpreted as preventing the state from using modern scientific techniques to forecast how high the Atlantic Ocean might get this century because of global warming. The Senate was reacting to the CRC’s draft policy that was first presented by its scientific advisors in 2010. That version recommended that the state prepare for a sea-level rise of 39 inches by 2100, or more than triple the historic rate. The forecast was in line with the ones used by major scientific organizations around the world and by several countries and other states, but it immediately came under fire from development interests and some coastal counties. They feared that regulations to protect against such a drastic rise in sea level would stifle economic growth on the coast. They were much more comfortable with the Senate’s prescription, which would have forced the state to prepare for an 8-inch rise this century. Googling “sea-level rise and N.C.” will produce a list of hundreds of newspaper stories, TV reports, blog posts, editorials and columns from around the world. Most aren’t complimentary. In fact, they’re downright scornful, accusing the state of ignoring science

and trying to make global warming illegal. Stephen Colbert, the TV comedian, devoted five minutes of his popular “The Colbert Report” to thoroughly skewer the bill and its backers. “This is a brilliant solution,” Colbert said of the bill, his tongue firmly implanted in his cheek. “If your science gives you a result you don’t like, pass a law that makes the result illegal. Problem solved.” The current version of Senate bill died Tuesday after Republicans who control the N.C. House refused to take it up for a vote. It will now go to a committee of senators and representatives to work out an agreeable compromise. A plan is brewing that would prevent the CRC from using climate models that forecast accelerated rates of sea-level rise this century until the state completes a study of the science behind those forecasts. Legislative backers of such an approach think the study could take as long as five years to complete. Whether such a plan can avoid another round of scorn remains to be seen. Melvin Shepard Jr. hopes so. He’s a CRC member, the owner of a commercialfishing supply store in Sneads Ferry and the president of the N.C. Coastal Federation. “I don’t want to see us become the subject of ridicule,” he said before yesterday’s meeting. “Even the BBC took shots at us.” There’s not much left in the draft policy to poke fun at or raise eyebrows over. The various revisions have thoroughly diluted it. “Watered down,” is the way David Webster, a CRC member described it yesterday. Miller noted in his presentation to the committee that most of the controversial topics, such as forecasts for sea-level rise and recommendations for regulations, were removed from the policy last year. But Bob Emory, the CRC’s chairman, directed the committee at the last CRC meeting to take another look at the draft policy to eliminate anything that might be considered controversial and to ensure that the policy is simply aimed at fact gathering and education.

“It is my hope that this committee will develop sealevel rise policy that the CRC could adopt,” Emory said yesterday. Not much needed changing, Miller said when he presented his latest edits yesterday. A few words were changed here and there and a few sentences deleted or recast. A new revision allows the CRC to seek information about sea-level rise from people who don’t serve as science advisors. Maybe the most significant revision came from the audience after Miller’s presentation. The policy noted that it “shall” be revised every five years to reflect the latest scientific research. Charles Jones, a retired director of the division, suggested changing the verb to “should.” Miller made the change, thus removing any obligation that the policy would be updated, and the committee voted unanimously to accept it and the others. The CRC must now adopt the policy. The commission is scheduled to discuss it at its meeting today on Pivers Island, but Emory doesn’t expect that it will be voted on. David Weaver, a retired assistant manager for New Hanover County and a member of the CRC’s citizen advisory group, wonders how helpful the policy will be to county engineers wanting guidance from the division before designing a new sewer plant or roadway. “What kind of helpful information would the division be able to provide?” Weaver asked after the meeting. “There is no range of forecasts, no guidelines, no recommendations.” Just having a policy will help, noted Braxton Davis, the division’s director. It will allow the division to collaborate with other state or federal agencies, prepare educational materials and conduct research, he said. “Given the sensitivity of this issue, the policy is very important as to how we would move forward,” Davis said. “Without a policy, there would be some questions about the role of the division on this issue.”

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18 Sounds Ω summer Ω 2012

Shepard is just glad something was done. “At least we have something on the books that you can read,� he said. “You can build on that.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Frank Tursi The author of three books and a 30-year newspaper veteran, Frank Tursi is now an assistant director at the N.C. Coastal Federation and the editor of “Coastal Review Online.� Before joining the federation in 2002, Frank was the senior environmental reporter in North Carolina. His writing has won numerous state and national awards. An avid fisherman and model boat builder, he lives in Swansboro with his wife, Doris.



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20 Sounds Ω summer Ω 2012

Sounds Magazine  

Summer 2012

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