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What ‘R’ You Eating? Pearls of Wisdom on When to Eat Your Clams & Oysters
Angels on the Water Bogue Banks Towns Honor Surfers for Saving Lives
Who You Gonna Call? Paranormal Experts Hunt for Ghosts Along the Coast 1 nccoast.com
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contents SURF’S UP _____________________________________ 8 Bogue Banks surfers honored for being ‘Angels on the Water.’
TIME TRAVELING ______________________________ 10 Fort Macon opens new education and ecology center.
EBB AND FLOW________________________________ 12 Working waterfronts find help from new tax break.
BENEATH THE SURFACE _________________________ 16 Gearing up for a wreck dive? Make sure you have what it takes.
LURE OF THE LORE
Paranormal investigators search for ghosts on the Crystal Coast.
What to know about wintery wetsuits.
ON THE HORIZON
Mardi Gras makes its way Down East for Gloucester’s annual parade of the peculiar.
KNOW THE ROPES
You may be warm inside this winter, but your boat could be freezing.
ON THE WATERFRONT
Public ramp accesses grow and multiply for recreational boaters.
DOWN THE HATCH
‘R’ some months better than others when it comes to clams and oysters?
EXTRAS__________________________ 34 What’s Up Dock? 37 Advertiser Index
ON THE COVER David Wheatley Jr. spreads a net of decoys while duck hunting near South River. (Photo by Tabbie Nance)
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Vol. 3, Issue #4 Winter 2009
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Published by: NCCOAST Communications Phone: 252.247.7442 • 800.525.1403 Mail: 201 N. 17th Street, Morehead City, NC 28557 nccoast.com email: email@example.com Advertising Jamie Bailey, 252.241.9485 Jay Barnes, 252.723.7905 David Pennington, 252.723.7801 Ashly Willis, 252.723.3350 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Graphics Kim Moore, Manager Amber Csizmadia, Mimi Davis, Amy Gray, Roze Taitingfong NCCOAST Waterfront Magazine is distributed in four issues a year to select marinas, marine-related shops, visitor centers, advertiser locations and other high-traffic sites throughout North Carolina, and is also available by request at nccoast.com. See below for subscription information. Entire contents, ad and graphic design and nccoast.com copyright 2009 by NCCOAST Communications. Reproduction of any portion of this publication or its Web site without the publisher’s written consent is strictly prohibited. Information is as accurate as possible at presstime.
Please mail your completed subscription form, along with payment by check, to: NCCOAST Waterfront Magazine Attn: Cathy Banks, Subscriptions 201 N. 17th St., Morehead City, NC 28557 Name: Mailing Address: State: Zip Code: Email address (optional): One Year Subscription: Four individual issues of Waterfront Magazine - $10.
The First Line of Defense By Ben Hogwood David Taylor was just 16 the first time he tried to pull someone who was drowning out of the ocean. It was six years ago, when Taylor, who is an avid surfer, was working at the Oceanana Family Resort. He heard an Austrian woman screaming for help for her husband, who had disappeared under the water after walking on a sandbar. Taylor and a friend rushed out and managed to pull the man in, but he had suffered a heart attack and been under water for too long. “It was brutal,” Taylor said, “but it was definitely an eye opener.” The experience motivated Taylor to become CPR-certified the following year. On Oct. 27, he was one of six surfers acknowledged by the Pine Knoll Shores Board of Commissioners for saving the lives of swimmers in the waters off Bogue Banks. Mayor Joan Lamson read a proclamation during the town’s board meeting recognizing the surfers – Taylor, Eli Blake, Kit Cannon, Dave Revell, Bill Roach and Mark Smith – for saving “innumerable lives” over many years by keeping a watchful eye on swimmers. The town acknowledged the surfers after becoming aware of two events in particular that occurred this summer, both involving rip currents. Roach, the senior member of the group at 58, described one of those occasions, when he, along with Taylor, Blake and Revell were surfing near the Iron Steamer beach access.The wind was blowing from the southwest and the surf was good. “Choppy day,” Roach said. Surfers often look for rip currents, strong channels of water running away from the shore, as they provide an easy and quick way to get past the breakers and into deeper water. Roach said they had been out there for a while when they heard someone calling for help. They saw Matthew McGuthry, 14, struggling to stay afloat along with the father of McGuthry’s friend. McGuthry had got caught in the rip tide and the friend’s father had tried to help him. They were both in trouble. The surfers went out to them, managed to get them on the boards and brought them back in. After waiting for EMS to arrive and exchanging a “Not many summers few words with the family, they went back into the water. go by where I haven’t On another occasion, two EMS workers from pulled out one or two Greenville found themselves caught in a rip and going down. One of them, exhausted, had already people,” Bill Roach, gone under the water. Again, they were saved by surfers and hauled back to shore. surfer. Rescues such as these aren’t uncommon along 8
Photos by Lisa Taylor-Galizia
the beach in the summertime. “Not many summers go by where I haven’t pulled out one or two people,” said Roach, who has been surfing since 1963. “If I haven’t, one of my buddies has.” And that’s not taking into account the people the surfers help out before the situation gets dangerous. On the same day as the Iron Steamer rescue, a boy on a floatation device twice bobbed past the lineup – the calm, deep area beyond the breaking waves where surfers wait for the next wave. Both times they towed him back in. “It usually isn’t a life or death situation,” Roach said. “You often move into position as it looks like they are getting into trouble.” The surfers, standing before the mayor, commissioners and flashing cameras, wore the situation like a scratchy shirt. Accepting credit for their actions was not something they were particularly comfortable with. “I get nervous,” Taylor said. However, Lisa Pelletier Harman, who organized the recognition, said it is important to break down the stereotypes that have plagued surfers for years. Harman is with the Buddy Pelletier Surfing Foundation, which lends scholastic assistance (continued on page 10)
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Fast Fort Facts:
Turning Other State Parks ‘Green’ With Envy Since people first began living along the coast, they’ve been protecting the coast. Early on that protection came in the form of forts and weapons, while today we see the coastline’s defense most commonly arrive in the form of environmental awareness and laws working to preserve and protect. It’s rare to find a mix of preservation, military hardware and environmental protection all in one, but the new Coastal Education and Visitor Center at Fort Macon State Park has managed to do just that. The $8.2 million, 22,547square-foot facility opened on Oct. 31 to reveal modern amenities inside a brick architecture that’s fitting to its neighboring 183-year-old fort, all while boasting the added charm of being certified in the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. “Fort Macon has a unique place in North Carolina and in the state parks system, and this facility will nicely complement the fort itself in presenting both the natural resource and cultural history of our prized coastal environment,” said Lewis Ledford, director of the division. “It will also be a tremendous asset in managing more than a million visitors who enjoy the state park each year.”
SURFS UP (continued from page 8)
to members of the East Coast surfing community and also renders humanitarian aid to those surfers in times of catastrophic
need. Another of the group’s missions is to break the stereotypes long associated with surfers. “Kids are growing up realizing they can’t do drugs if they want to be a good surfer,” Harman said. Likewise, they need to get good jobs so they can afford to enjoy the sport. “Slowly, we’ve been brainwashing them,” she said. Taylor is a perfect example of that. He doesn’t do drugs, just received a bachelor of arts and is now trying to get into medical school. “We’re still dealing with stereotypes from the ‘60s,” Harman said. “Sure, we have what we call the five percenters, but it’s a multi-generational, multi-family sport now.” Perceptions are apparently changing. In fact, Pine Knoll Shores was the second town on the island this month to honor surfers. Atlantic Beach adopted a “proclamation of appreciation of heroic effort during
• Second-oldest state park in North Carolina • 183 years old • Overtaken by Union soldiers in 1862 • Fully restored from 1999-2003 • 1.1 million visitors a year
The new education center met its LEED requirements, in part, by offering features such as rainwater collection, low-flow water systems, recycled construction materials and preferred parking for alternative fuel vehicles. On the educational end of the spectrum, visitors will find a movie theater showing films about Fort Macon, a teaching auditorium, conference room and of course, a gift shop with books, Civil War replicas, maps and much more. While all of the education center’s displays are not fully completed, Fort Macon Park Superintendent Randy Newman expects visitors to have a chance to see the completed version by May 2010. Among the displays will be concentrations on rock jetties that were started by Robert E. Lee, the marine environment and birding, which was made popular by Elliot Coues, a physician that was stationed at the fort and author of Key to North American Birds.
the town’s regular meeting on Oct. 26, recognizing surfers Chris Ganzon, Ricky Currie and Steve Seder. According to Police Chief Allen Smith, the three town residents on Oct. 3 came to the rescue of several swimmers who were struggling in the ocean. Bill Matthias, the chief of Pine Knoll Shores fire and EMS Department, pointed out just how important the surfers’ actions are in the community, calling them the “first line of defense” when it comes to water safety. “Seconds count when someone is in trouble in the water,” Matthias said. “Seconds turn into minutes, and then it’s a lost cause.” Fortunately, the surfers are often right there to respond. “We very, very deeply appreciate what you do,” Mayor Lamson said.
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Catching a Break
State Helps Fish Houses Stay Afloat
By Ben Hogwood If commercial fishing is the lifeblood of coastal North Carolina, fish houses collectively make up the heart. This is where the fish are dropped off by the boats, cleaned, prepared and put on ice, ready to pass on to the general public. Without them, there would be no local seafood in this state. And while the biggest threat to these businesses was once a hurricane, a very different kind of storm has forced dozens in the state to shut down: coastal redevelopment. Fish houses have been struggling, but a new tax break that just went into effect throws them a lifeline, and may be just enough to help them stay afloat. “It will help a great deal,” said Gerry Smith, owner of T.B. Smith Seafood on the BeaufortMorehead City Causeway. “This is one of the best things the Legislature has ever done for us.” In the last decade, the value of property along the coast has skyrocketed as waterfront living has become more desirable. As a result, fishing piers and fish houses have been torn down and replaced with condominiums, single-family residences and private marinas. Smith’s land is now worth almost $900,000. When it was evaluated 10 years ago, it was $248,762, according to county tax cards. While property value has gone up, income related to fishing has largely gone down since the business’s boom years. In conjunction with increased taxes, the industry is facing competition from cheap imports and tighter regulations on what they can catch and how much. “Things are terrible,” Smith said. The downturn came in the mid-1990s, after almost three decades riding high. The tax break, which became effective for taxes imposed beginning on July 1 of this year, isn’t a panacea for all the fishing industry’s problems, but may
be enough to keep some fish houses in business. Instead of those properties being taxed on their real estate value, they are taxed on their present use as businesses. In Carteret, those savings could add up to several hundred dollars a year. So far, four businesses in the county have applied and qualified for the tax alternative. Quality Seafood, owned by Bradley Styron and located in Cedar Island, is one of those approved. The land Styron owns has been in his family for years and in that time the value increase has been staggering. “The thing about it is, I don’t mind paying taxes on my property, but it’s worth a lot more for real estate than it is for a fish house,” he said. The state began to address the rapid loss of working waterfronts in 2007, following a study by NC Sea Grant, a research and educational program, which found that 33 percent of the state’s fish houses closed or went up for sale between 2000 and 2006 – from 136 to just 95. The state realized that if it didn’t intervene, the waterfront may well become a luxury enjoyed just by the wealthy. The state formed a committee to examine the problem and come up
with solutions, one of those being the present use tax. The tax was previously applied to farmland and forests – other businesses crucial to the state where the use value is far below the real estate value. The Legislature also created the Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund, which set aside $20 million to acquire waterfront properties and develop facilities to provide and improve public and commercial waterfront access. “I’ve got a realistic value on my property now,” said Smith. “Before, they were pricing us like we were building condos here.” The problem has forced some communities to become creative. On Ocracoke, an island only accessible by ferry, development threatened to doom the last remaining fish house. Once there were three. Instead, a group of fulland part-time fishermen banded together to form the Ocracoke Working Waterman’s Association. They managed to score a North Carolina Rural Development grant for $325,000, enough to buy the business and pay the lease for 70 years. Without the association, and without the grant, the commercial fishing history on Ocracoke would have likely come to an end. It has yet to be determined whether the tax break will work. Tony Frost, owner of Homer Smith Seafood in Beaufort, is another of the four fish house owners who have been approved for the tax break, yet currently has a sign on his property advertising the space for a marina and yacht club. If Frost does eventually change the use of his business from a fish house to a marina, he will no longer receive the tax break and will also have to pay back any previous savings he received in the three prior years. Frost could not be reached for comment prior to publication. Styron didn’t know if some day he might be in a similar situation, having to decide between the business he grew up in and one where he can make a good profit. “I’m not going to say what will or won’t happen,” he said. “I hope it doesn’t come to that.”
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BENEATH THE SURFACE
Make Sure You Have the Right Gear for a Wreck Dive Along the Crystal Coast
By Lee Moore
When someone learns to scuba dive, they get their personal gear for the Open Water – the beginner’s class. This is usually their mask, fins, snorkel, and booties, the basic snorkeling gear. Since the wrecks of the Crystal Coast are close to the Gulf Stream, the water in the spring and fall is in the 70s and is around 80 degrees in the summer, so a 3mm wetsuit is thick enough to keep a diver comfortable. Some beginning divers choose to get their own wetsuit. One of the first pieces of equipment that new divers get is a knife. Knives aren’t used as weapons, but are used primarily to cut fishing line that causes entanglement on the wrecks and rocks. Most knives have a point on them, but some have a blunt tip. You don’t want the point to be too narrow so it will break off. It needs to be sturdy so it can be used for prying objects. The knife needs to have a straight edge and a serrated edge, which can be used for sawing. Some knives have a fishing line cutter built into the blade. The blade doesn’t have to be real long because a short knife can usually do as much as a bigger knife. When a diver explores a wreck off of the Crystal Coast, the layout of the wreck can make navigation difficult. If the wreck is spread out, a diver can get lost and might not be able to find their way back to the anchor and the boat. If the visibility is low, this could limit the diver’s ability to navigate a wreck. To alleviate this difficulty and assist in navigation, a diver can use a wreck reel. A wreck reel has polypropylene line on it that ranges in length from 150 feet to 600 feet. For ease of use, a wreck reel has a handle, a locking mechanism and 16
a tension control. The locking mechanism keeps the reel from turning and releasing line, while the tension control limits the rate at which the line can be played out. The reels need to have knobs that can be easily used while wearing gloves. If a diver is unable to locate the anchor, the diver will have to surface by doing a free ascent, without a reference line. As the diver is rising, any current can cause the diver to drift away from the boat. Once the diver surfaces, they can be yards or hundreds of yards away from the boat. The further the diver is away from the boat, the harder it is for the crew to see the diver. A diver can use a Surface Marker Buoy, a tubular device that is inflated so that it extends out of the water. Surface Marker Buoys range in size from 3 feet to 6 feet and come in yellow, orange, and yellow and orange. Being seen is one way to get the crew’s attention, but an audible signal is another way. A diver can easily carry a whistle and its sound carries well over the water. Another sound generating device is an audible alarm that uses air from the diver’s tank to create a signal. The diver pushes a button and a piercingly loud signal that can be heard a mile away is produced. The device is designed so it can be integrated into a diver’s existing gear. These tools can help divers have a more enjoyable experience on the wrecks off of the Crystal Coast. All of these are easily carried by divers and are easily used if they are needed. And since they are compact, they make good stocking stuffers. If you need more information about any of these or other tools for diving on the Crystal Coast, contact Discovery Diving at 252-728-2265.
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LURE OF THE LORE
Life (And Death) Along the By Ben Hogwood
In early November, the Webb Library and Civic Center in downtown Morehead City sponsored a paranormal research symposium, which included teams of paranormal researchers visiting several allegedly haunted sites in Beaufort and Morehead City. Those sites included the Webb Library, the Old Burying Grounds in Beaufort, Floyd’s 1921 Restaurant and the offices of NCCOAST Communications, which publishes this magazine. The library fundraiser was a success on two fronts: not only did the researcher identify “energies” at each of the sites, but the event attracted enough people that the Webb would like to do it again next year. The symposium added to the growing focus of ghosts and specters in Eastern North Carolina. First there was the Beaufort Ghost Walk, which takes visitors on a tour of downtown Beaufort pointing out some of the haunted sites. More recently, the Carteret County Tourism Development Authority created the website Ghostsofthecoast.com, which recounts some of the atrocities that took place in the area by such legends as the pirate Blackbeard. The library event took things one step further, bringing trained scientific investigators to determine if “they” are really “here.” If you ask staff at the Webb, there’s little doubt. Sandy Bell is the library’s director, and she first noticed something odd a few years ago when she decided to move some books around. At the time, the children’s section was on the second floor and the circulation desk was tucked away in a corner on the first floor. Bell considered this a security problem, because staff at the desk could not see the entrance to the stairwell, nor could they see the library exit, generating an unsafe environment for the kids. She decided to move some books from the first floor upstairs and create a new children’s section downstairs. Apparently, she should have made her intentions a little more public, because someone in the library didn’t like it. Bell would come in to find expensive art books thrown on the floor, the pages crumpled up. One day, when she was putting those books away again, a patron noticed and told her she probably had a haunting and the movement was upsetting them. If she explained the situation, the patron continued, they would probably feel better. So, Bell went back to her office and, speaking to no one in particular, explained why she was moving the books. From then on, when the books were moved from their shelf, they were
placed neatly on chairs or tables, the pages closed. Any activity in the library seems to disrupt the spirits staying there. On another occasion, when an item in the library was broken, Bell came in the next day to find a light bulb balancing on the ground, glass-side down, in perfect condition. It had “fallen” 13 feet from the fixture above. Staff at NCCOAST have also had some unusual run-ins late at night. Rudy Taitague is the production manager here and used to work the night shift, spending many an hour in the press room alone. He would often hear boxes sliding across the floor without reason, or the sounds of footsteps. On one occasion, he heard a girl crying coming through one of the speakers. At first, he thought it was the Musak playing, but when he checked, it was off. He also checked the speakers and found the sound only coming out of one of them. Another time, he heard the same girl giggling. The giggle didn’t sound friendly, Taitague said. “I left.” According to the results from the paranormal investigators, those witnesses aren’t going crazy. Roma Wade is with the group Paranormal Study and Investigation, and was part of one of the teams that investigated the Webb. That team used some high-tech instruments, including a thermal imager and an electronic field meter, and the crew includes a police officer and a member of the US Coast Guard, both trained in investigations. The entrance to the library was one of the locations where the field meter sprang to life. The reading was moving, Wade said, so it obviously wasn’t related to an electrical outlet or wire. “The readings were so high it was sounding the alarm off,” he said. He also noticed on the thermal imager some cold spots and took a photo of what looks like a face. “It was a very good investigation,” he said. Tom Kies, publisher of NCCOAST, attended when a paranormal team did a walk-through of the offices and press room on 17th Street in Morehead City. The team consisted of four investigators and a medium, who stayed in an office while the other members spoke with some of the staff and pointed out some paranormal hotspots. When they returned to the office, the medium said she had been touched by a boy of indeterminate age. Later, she walked to the front parking lot and touched a large oak tree where, she believed, the boy had been hanged. He was allegedly buried nearby. The team also blocked out the windows of the building and turned off the lights, placing it in pitch black. Motion detectors kept going off and team members could see shadows moving that weren’t connected to bodies. “They are convinced this place is lousy with ghosts,” Kies said. The weekend, said Bell, was a great success for the library, which in addition to the ghost researching included a symposium on a number of activities at Carteret Community College, such as a discussion of ethics in paranormal investigation, scientific study of parapsychology phenomena and a presentation of the investigations. In fact, Bell said she hoped the event, which was a fundraiser for the library, could be put on again in future years. But what about those people who have to work alongside the spirits? Many of them seem to have grown accustomed to it. “After a while, you knew it wasn’t going to harm you,” Taitague said. Alice Chedister, a library assistant at the Webb, has come to much the same conclusion. “Like attracts like,” she said. “If you have meanness in you, it attracts meanness. I don’t think anyone’s here to scare me.” NCCOAST COMMUNICATIONS
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A Suit for the Season Uncovering the Best Way to Dress for Wintery Waters With winter’s chill closing in and the water temperatures dropping, it can be torture to put away the watersports equipment and sit through another four months of unattainable perfect wind and waves. Thankfully, modern technology has wet suits that keep surfers, kiters, paddlers and boaters out on the Crystal Coast waters year round. With so many choices, it can be daunting to find one that is right for a particular person and their sport. Waterfront Magazine asked Chris Keiser of Windtoys Kiteboarding shop in Morehead City and Rudi Rudolph of Emerald Isle Surf Shop in Emerald Isle for a few basic pointers on what to look for.
What sort of wet suit should people be thinking about getting for cold weather watersports. CK: That depends on a few factors including the person’s weight and size and what activities they will be participating in. If they wanted to try and just have one suit for the entire season then the most common and favored would be about a 4 millimeter (in thickness). Is there a single wet suit that will suffice for an entire season, or should enthusiasts get more than one type? CK: The 4 mm range is very good for the weather here but it helps to have a couple different sizes. A lot of people like to have a shorty (short suit, leaving the arms and legs bare) for when it’s just starting to cool off and around the beginning of summer and a 3mm suit is very nice for when the water is cooling off, but not into the colder months. RR: A 4/3 mm thick wet suit along with 5 mm booties, gloves, and a hood are about as thick of material as you’ll need in the iciest of waters along and near Bogue Banks in January and February. If you’re in the market for a wet suit this year, then expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $400 for the suit and another $150 on booties, gloves, and a hood.
Is there a specific type of neoprene material/stitch that people should be looking for—does this matter depending on the sport? CK: No question you get what you pay for. If you plan on being in the water a lot and you want your suit to last for more than one season buy a reputable brand and make sure to try it on and get the best fit. Good suits are very comfortable and will last for years. I still wear one that I have had for five years.
What is absolutely necessary when buying a wet suit? RR: Fitting is really important – if the wet suit is too tight, then it will be uncomfortable and claustrophobic. Conversely, if the suit is too loose, then separation between the skin and water becomes too great and the wet suit will constantly be flushing itself and you with cold water. Also, improperly fitted suits can cause unpleasant/unnecessary rashes and chaffing.
Are there special designs to look for that allow for more movement than others? CK: The surfing-specific brands are obviously going to be flexible in areas of movement that suit surfing and the same for kiteboarding. Regardless, the new materials and technology are so much better that as long as you get a reputable brand and make sure it fits right you won’t go wrong.
CK: I can’t emphasize enough to buy through a local shop and not online. Sizes are different from brand to brand and unless you know exactly what size you are with a specific brand the chances of your suit not fitting properly are very high.
How important are booties/gloves/hoods? CK: These items are extremely important and can make or break your time in the water. You tend to lose the most heat out of your extremities and once your hands or feet are uncomfortable then your mobility is being sacrificed.
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From the Delta to Down East Mardi Gras Returns to Gloucester in February By Ben Hogwood February can be a tough month to get through on the coast in North Carolina. The best holidays – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day – are long behind you. It’s one of the coldest times of the year, the entire landscape is washed in a drab gray and summer is still months away. This is why Barbara and Brian Blake created the Gloucester Mardi Gras. “Really it’s just a bleak time of the year,” said Barbara. “We wanted to do something that involved good food with the community coming together, a fun time with costumes and feathers and beads and all that.” The event for 2010 will be held on Feb. 13 at the Gloucester Community Center at the corner of Pigott and Ferry Dock roads, and is the 17th in its history. Rather than the hedonistic indulgence of the famous New Orleans Mardi Gras, this event is based on the more community-minded Mardi Gras of Southwest Louisiana and is for the whole family. Mardi Gras – or Fat Tuesday in English – is technically the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent in the Christian religion. The day has been celebrated in Europe since medieval times and made its way to America in the late 17th century when King Louis XIV of France sent an expedition to the New World to defend the country’s claim on Louisane, which included what are now the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. After finally entering the mouth of the Mississippi River, the team set up camp on March 3, 1699 – Mardi Gras. The celebrations that still continue in rural Louisiana stick much closer to tradition than the famous New Orleans event. There, the members of the procession dress up in gaudy costumes, often ridiculing the outfits of the wealthy and those in power, then go to farms
and houses to scrounge up food. The goods are then collected and made into a gumbo shared by the town. In Gloucester things are done a little differently: instead of a procession going door to door, food donations are requested. Preparations begin the night before with vegetable chopping and a music jam, with the main event getting underway the next morning at 11am. In addition to a gumbo, deep fried turkey, crawfish and plenty of side dishes are also served and the feast is announced with a Fools Procession. The Zydeco band Unknown Tongues, featuring Brian and Barbara, takes the stage around 3pm. Dizy Brown of Beaufort has attended almost all of the Gloucester events in its history. “It’s just a great community event,” she said of why she keeps returning. “Great music, great food, great community and great dancing. It’s a high energy experience.” Brown said the music in particular keeps growing, with musicians coming from all over to join in jam sessions. “There are little pockets of music going on all day,” she said. “It’s quite a culture experience.” Adding a spin on a Louisiana tradition, the Gloucester Mardi Gras includes a king and queen cake for the kids. A small baby doll is baked into each of the two cakes, and when the cake is cut and served, the boy who finds the doll in his piece is deemed the king and the girl the queen. The two receive a coronation and the parents have to bake the king and queen cakes the following year. Of course, the event also includes plenty of beads. Like always, the Mardi Gras is free, though donations of both food and money are accepted. All are welcome. “We have a procession and there’s music all day long,” Barbara said. “It’s designed for families, it’s during the day and it’s done by 6pm. It’s just a good community gathering.”
KNOW THE ROPES The Cold Truth How to Prepare Your Boat for Winter’s Arrival It only takes a couple of trips through blasts of chilly air and water before the reality sets in that boating in the winter just isn’t as fun as day trips in spring, summer and fall. So do you park the boat and forget about it? Well, not unless you want to risk giving up your first boat ride of the year because of cracks in the hull, clogged heads or worst of all, a cracked engine block. Problems that can occur by not winterizing your boat vary with boat size. Not surprisingly, smaller boats have fewer concerns than yachts or sailboats. Whether or not you leave your boat in the water or on the hard is also a factor to take into consideration, with the risk of freezing being lower for boats that remain in the water. But no matter the size or location of your boat, as winter looms closer there should be one item at the top of every boat owner’s checklist: winterizing the engine. “Engines need to be flushed and given some kind of antifreeze to protect corrosion and freezing in the engine and exhaust system,” said Jim Flynt, owner of Core Creek Marine in Beaufort. “It is fairly inexpensive, certainly in comparison to if you don’t do it. You could freeze an engine block or exhaust manifold and cause water intrusion into the engine, which could be catastrophic.” Freezing can also occur in boats with a freshwater system. If all hoses are not completely flushed, whether it’s for the heads, sink or shower, the first freeze of winter could cause the water left behind to expand and crack the system. “Typically, the ones on the hard, we recommend to get winterized,” said Eric Pittman, mechanics foreman at Deaton Yacht Service in Oriental. “We run a safe product through the raw water side of the system. Freshwater is usually drained and the head system has the same product pumped in as the engine to keep it from freezing. Pumps are either run dry or drained. Depending on the system this can be quite a process. If you have a low spot in the hose and it expands it will pop. The hard plastic water lines, those tend to crack. The older it gets the more brittle it is and the more susceptible it is. Preventative maintenance is better than having the issue when you come back in the spring to use your boat.” Smaller boats, particularly those left in the water, can sink if not checked over regularly. If a boat has leaks during heavy rains, that rain ends up in the bilge and that can create problems, particularly if the boat loses power and the bilge stops working. To be safe, it’s recommended that boat owners regularly check their drains for leaves, trash and other debris. Sailboat owners have an added concern when it comes to their sails and rigging. To preserve the sails, it’s recommended to give them a good cleaning each year to knock off any dirt that may have accumulated over the summer. The same goes for turnbuckles and canvas sail covers as well. “Clean the sails, lay them out on the grass, get a sail cleaning soap, hose them down and let them dry,” said Buddy Floyd, service manager for Deaton. “Hang them up to dry, then fold them according to the way sails should be folded and bag them. Sailcovers, I would do the same, as well as the canvas.” 26
Most canvas should be cleaned with detergent instead of soap, and then coated with a 3M product called 303. “That re-waterproofs it and preserves the color,” added Floyd. “It has a UV protectant in it and it will shed water the way it’s supposed to. You can do it in your spare time. You can do it yourself … do a small piece so you know how much you’ll need.” While the sails are off, go ahead and pull off the vinyl covers on turnbuckles and wire so they can be cleaned as well. Dirt left behind on the rigging draws water to it, which can then freeze and create cracks on the rig. Also, if you have loose stitching on the sacrificial cover, those deteriorate over the year and they might need to be restitched. No matter what kind of boat you have, whether it’s a super yacht, sailboat or skiff, the main thing to remember is that both you and your boat are ready to hit the water this spring, by preparing for winter now.
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ON THE WATERFRONT
All Access Pass
Crystal Coast Opens Door to Boaters with New Facilities
While there may be few pastimes as pleasant as sitting in a vessel on the tranquil waters surrounding Carteret County’s Crystal Coast, the act of getting the boat into the water can at times be maddening. On a nice day, boaters have to form long lines at access sites. Once they put their boat in, the search is on for a precious parking space that can accommodate both their vehicle and trailer. Sometimes, walking a half mile from the car to the boat is the only option, other than giving up. Thankfully, the county and its municipalities have been hard at work to ensure water access for boaters keeps getting better, and with a massive water access project underway in Emerald Isle, Carteret may soon be one of the best places to go boating in the state. The town wants to build a facility with four boat ramps and parking for as many as 120 vehicles with trailers, creating a total of 23 acres of soundfront recreation property for public use. If all goes according to plan, the facility, which will be located directly adjacent to Chapel by the Sea near mile marker 18 on Hwy 58, should open toward the end of 2010. The town will add
This aerial shot of Emerald Isle shows where the town’s new public boat access will be located. Plans are to have four ramps and 23 acres set aside for parking and recreation. (Photo provided by Town of Emerald Isle).
amenities over time, including a picnic shelter, a pier and a walking trail and possibly even a ball field. “Our plan is to make it a comprehensive soundfront park,” said Frank Rush, town manager of Emerald Isle. The town so far has raised $3.2 million of the necessary $4.25 million to complete the project and has already purchased the majority of land. Rush said he is hoping to receive more grants from the state in the next year. Once the town acquires the land, it will hand it over to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission to construct and maintain the facility. While this project is still some months off, boaters don’t have to wait to take advantage of the Western Beaufort Water Access site. The county, with the help of the state, funded a complete renovation of the facility, reopening it to the public in April 2009. Previously 28
Southbound Boating The NC Division of Marine Fisheries recently committed another $4.8 million toward two waterfront projects in the state. A grant of $2.8 million is earmarked to purchase 6.98 acres at the end of Lewis Road in Hampstead for a public boat ramp and parking facility, and another $2 million is set aside to buy any combination of four parcels on Fulcher’s Landing Loop Road in Sneads Ferry for commercial and recreational docks, a public boat ramp and parking. The funding is pending state appraisals, successful price negotiations for property acquisition and possible supplementary finances through other sources. Should the state be unable to close on either of the properties, $1 million of the allocation will go to an alternative project for a waterfront park at Seabreeze in New Hanover.
it had just one boat ramp and too few parking spaces. David Bullard, a boater from Beaufort, said the location was also difficult to get in and out of and could at times be dangerous. “It was dilapidated,” Bullard said. The renovated location, constructed by the NC Wildlife
Resources Commission, now has two double ramps, quadrupling the number of vessels that can get in or out of the water at the same time, as well as a canoe and kayak launch. It also has a renovated pier, a floating dock, renovated bathrooms, a picnic shelter with grills and parking for 32 vehicles with boat trailers and 12 single car spaces. In addition, the site is one of the most handicapaccessible you will find, with handicap parking, restrooms compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and a canoe launch that can be accessed via wheelchair. Those improvements have been embraced by the boating community. “You’re not waiting on people anymore,” said Bullard, as he lowered his vessel, the Sea Boss, into the water, hoping to catch some spot or puppy drum. “I haven’t heard one piece of negative feedback since we opened,” added Jack Veit, Carteret’s assistant county manager. These are just two of several projects in Carteret aimed at improving access along the county’s coast. The county also recently purchased property in Cedar Point to add another 45 spaces for vehicles and trailers near an existing ramp and Morehead City is adding parking to its access site on Radio Island. With the creation of projects such as these, boaters can now spend less time getting to the water and more time being on it. sfbli.com • ncfbins.com
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DOWN THE HATCH
Oyster Season Never Goes on ‘R&R’ By Ben Hogwood It’s a lovely Friday evening in the middle of July and you’ve just been invited to your friend’s house for a delicious seafood stew, sure to feature all your favorite mollusks – clams, mussels, oysters and maybe even a few scallops. When you arrive, your friend serves you a nice big bowl, but when you scoop that first oyster off the shell you come to a sudden, horrific realization: There is no ‘R’ in the month of July. For years, people have been told they shouldn’t eat seafood during the four hottest months of the year: May, June July and August. In fact, in North Carolina, the state closes its oyster beds from March 31 to Oct. 1. Is it because eating them may cause dementia, paralysis and death – all possible aftereffects of shellfish poisonings? The answer, at least in North Carolina, is no – not that there aren’t a whole slew of bad things that can happen to you if you eat a bad oyster, but the chances of you eating one from this state are quite unlikely. Dr. Pat Tester, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the old adage about the non-‘R’ months is just that: old. The saying was created before the invention of refrigeration, and shellfish aren’t known for standing up too well to 90 degree weather, especially when eaten raw.
Another reason the legend lives on, according to Skip Kemp, the instructor of Carteret Community College’s aquaculture program, is that shellfish don’t taste very good in the summer.
Want to learn more about oysters? Then head to the NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort on Wednesday, Feb. 24, from 2-4pm for the seafood workshop, “All About the Oyster.” Educators will discuss the ecology and local cultural history of this important mollusk, and offer oysters to taste. Museum located at 315 Front St. and reservations are $10. For more information call 252-728-7317 or go to ncmaritimemuseum.org.
Oysters, clams, mussels and scallops are bivalves, having two shells hinged together, and they expend much of their energy during the summer months spawning. As a result, they are scrawny and sometimes have a metallic or chalky taste. “They are not as appetizing, as sweet or as pleasant as they are during the colder months, when they have been building up their fat storage reserves,” Kemp said. Still, it’s not always a great idea to go wading into the water to get the shellfish you want for your fritters, especially in certain parts of the country such as California and Florida during certain times of the year. When the government posts signs telling you not to harvest shellfish, it’s a good idea to follow those instructions, because bivalves have the ability, under the right conditions, to become incredibly poisonous. Bivalves eat by filtering the water and feasting on the plankton and detritus contained within. The good news is that they clean the water, the bad news is that they chow down material that can be poisonous to humans. Shellfish love to eat phytoplankton, an amazing group of microscopic plants that float in surface waters and are the foundation of the marine food chain. Phytoplankton turn the energy from the sun, combined with nutrients in the water, into carbohydrates. Through photosynthesis, phytoplankton produces from 50 to 90 percent of the oxygen present in the Earth’s atmosphere. There’s a downside. Sometimes the phytoplankton go rogue. Some phytoplankton species are potentially toxic, and when shellfish eat them in large enough amounts, that can be a problem for humans who like to eat shellfish. The only time this happens is when the light, temperature, currents and tides all align just right, creating blooms of these microorganisms. Some of the blooms are called red tides, as they give the water a reddish tinge, but that’s not necessarily the case. California quarantines its mussels from May 1 to Oct. 31, when most outbreaks of one of these potentially dangerous blooms occur. Shellfish that have been feasting on these micro-organisms can be poisonous to humans, ranging in symptoms that are mildly annoying to fantastically awful. The following are the four types of sickness related to shellfish: 1) Diarrheic Shellfish Poisoning – This is your standard poisoning, when you wonder how such a tiny creature can wreak so much havoc on your system. Symptoms typically set in within a half hour of ingesting and last about a day. Though you may wish for death to take you, you will get better. 2) Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning – This is where your wishes come true. Sure, this comes with all the gut-busting fun of the previous poisoning, but adds symptoms such as burning lips, tingling gums, slurred speech and lack of coordination. Symptoms can start within 10 minutes and, if that “tingling” – paralysis – spreads into your lungs, you could be dead in a few hours. The mortality rate is around 12 percent. 3) Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning – Think all this stuff sounds crazy? Then maybe you’ve come down with neurotoxic shellfish poisoning, which makes your brain go haywire. Hot feels cold, cold feels hot and coordination is thrown out the window. And you probably have diarrhea. 4) Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning – This one can cause cognitive damage, affect short-term memory and leave you with dementia. On the bright side, there’s a possibility you won’t remember the experience. While these conditions are quite frightening, shellfish lovers in the state can take comfort that such blooms in this area are extremely rare. Kemp said there has been just one red tide, in 1997, and the state promptly closed the shellfish beds. NOAA has established a network of people who monitor the waters for these dangerous blooms. “They know when it’s a danger and when it’s just pretty to look at,” he said. Still, thanks to an increase in commercial shellfish operations in North Carolina, local oysters can be eaten year round. In addition, oysters, like grapes, can be tricked into becoming “seedless,” so they don’t try to spawn in the summer, making them more edible and fatter. More commercial oyster growers are now looking to grow them because they are more marketable in the summer months. In addition, shellfish that come from an aquaculture operation must meet rigorous standards and are free of the poisonous toxins. State and federal agencies regulate all commercially harvested shellfish, making sure only safe shellfish are available to the consumer. Now that the world can be your oyster all year long, what ‘R’ you waiting for? Start shuckin’ today.
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calendar of waterfront events
The following is just a sampling of major events in waterfront locales that might entice you to come off the water (at least for an hour or two). E-mail your waterfront event announcements for early 2010 to waterfront@nccoast. com. For more regional event listings, visit nccoast.com. Chocolate Fest Delivers Soundfront Sweets Prepare to pamper yourself in decadence at the 8th annual Carolina Chocolate Festival being held at the Crystal Coast Civic Center Feb. 6-7, 2010. Organizers are putting the finishing touches on activities that will please everyone this year from cooking demonstrations, to dinners and spa treatments. “The whole family can participate in one or more of the activities we have to offer,” says Porter Wilson, President of the Carolina Chocolate Festival. “Last year, we served over 9,000 chocolate lovers, and in addition to increasing tourism for the weekend, the Carolina Chocolate Festival raised over $200,000 for 30 local charities in the first seven years.” Proceeds from the 2010 Festival will support Carteret County Domestic Violence, Ginger’s House, 4H, White
Oak Church, the Beaufort Woman’s Club, Beaufort Sister Cities, Broad St. Clinic, Carteret General Hospital Volunteers, Potters for Parkinsons and the Girl Scouts. The festival is scheduled from 9am6pm on Saturday, Feb. 6 and from 10am-3pm on Sunday, Feb. 7. Tickets are $8 for adults, $2 for kids 5-12; children under 5 are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased online at carolinachocolatefestival.com or by calling 1-877-848-4976. In addition to the two day affair at the Civic Center, a collection of special ticketed events are planned. Returning again this year will be “Tee off for Charity and Chocolate” at Brandywine Bay Golf Club on Friday, Feb. 5. Golfers can enjoy a round of golf and lunch which will include chocolate desserts. Tickets are $40. Friday evening offers “An Evening Wrapped In Chocolate” at Shepard’s Point to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Coastal Carolina. Tickets are $160 per couple and the dinner begins at 6:30pm. The cost of the dinner ticket includes two free tickets to the Chocolate Festival. On Saturday, Feb 6 the “Chocolate Spa” will run from noon until 8pm at the Sheraton Atlantic Beach, offering facials, mini-massages, manicures and more all served with champagne and gourmet chocolates. Tickets are $60 and reservations are required. Visit carolinachocolatefestival.com to reserve your appointment. The “Champagne & Truffles VIP Party” will be held on the Civic Center Balcony from 1-4pm and will feature work from local artists, cooking demonstrations, chocolates and champagne. Tickets are $25 per person. The 4-H Club will present
the ever popular “Pudding Eating Contest” again this year. Children visiting the festival can participate free of charge. “Chocolate around the World” will be held on Saturday evening, Feb. 6 at the Sheraton
Atlantic Beach and will feature chocolate entrees and jazz music for dancing. Presented by the Morehead City Civitan Club, tickets are $100 per couple. Finally, on Sunday, PAWS, the Pet Adoption and Welfare Society hosts and benefits from a Sunday morning brunch. The event runs from 11am-3pm and tickets are available. Potters for Parkinsons will host a Bingo Party from noon-3pm on the Civic Center Balcony with prizes and surprises for all. For more information on any of the events, or to purchase tickets visit carolinachocolatefestival.com or call 1-877-848-4976. Paddy’s Party Go from “living in the green” to the “wearing of the green” this March 13 with the Emerald Isle St. Patty’s Day Celebration. Each year, Emerald Isle does its namesake proud with a festival bursting with music, dancing, green (continued on page 36)
Topsail Area W
hen surrounded by water, whether it’s Topsail Island or nearby Sneads Ferry, it only makes sense that most people would learn to make a living off the water. But that doesn’t always mean fishermen bringing a catch in to the market. It also means family businesses supporting locals as well as tourists with services like dredging, boat sales, dining and gear for recreational fishing. So the next time you need something done around Topsail Island or just want to grab a bite to eat, remember to keep the businesses you see on this page in mind.
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WHAT’S UP DOCK (continued from page 34)
beverages and of course, corned beef and cabbage. The festival runs from 9am to 5pm at the Emerald Plantation shopping center, where admission and parking will be free. This year’s festival will feature over 75 arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, clowns and static displays along with amusement rides, a climbing wall, face painters, and many other fun, family-oriented activities. As always, the festival will feature delicious foods such as corned beef and cabbage, shrimp burgers, hamburgers and hot dogs, Mediterranean cuisine, barbecue, funnel cakes, fried peanuts, cotton candy and much, much more. Festival goers can also enjoy a beer garden. The Little Ms. & Mr. Leprechaun Contest will take place on the main stage at 11am. The contest is for boys and girls ages 2-3 and 4-5 with each participant being judged on the originality and creativity of their costume and overall stage presentation. Contest organizers require preregistration by noon on Friday, March 12 and ask that participants be under the main stage’s tent by 10:30am on the day of the event. Please contact Laura Lee Davis at 252-354-6350 or ldavis@ emeraldisle-nc.org to register.
January 1: Penguin Plunge. Registration begins at 11:45am. Bring your friends and family to the seventh annual Penguin Plunge at the Atlantic Beach Circle. Dive in and get a chilly awakening to the New Year. The first 100 registered participants to donate a minimum of
$20 will receive a Penguin Plunge T - shirt. Donations are given to a local charity. Details: penguin-plunge.org. 16: Crystal Coast Bridal Fair. Brides and grooms to be, along with family and friends are invited to the largest bridal event on the North Carolina coast. Meet more than 50 of the area’s top wedding professionals, speak with vendors intimately about services and products offered without the pressure of purchasing, sample caterer’s fare, see fashion shows featuring the latest in styles and trends, see the work of top wedding photographers and florists and enjoy live music, prizes, samples and discounts. The bridal fair is held annually at the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City. Details: Pam Kaiser, 252-240-3256 or email email@example.com.
February 15-16: Gathering Time. 8pm. Instead of Peter, Paul & Mary or Crosby, Stills and Nash, think Glen, Stuart and Hillary. This acoustic vocal trio from New York offers smooth guitar mastery and a blending of voices that is perfection. Gathering Time has been winning fans and capturing attention with their spirited blend of folk and acoustic originals, as well as unique interpretations of select covers. Gathering Time plays the Trent River Coffee Co. in New Bern on Jan. 15 and Clawson’s restaurant in Beaufort on Jan. 16. Details: downeastfolkarts. org or firstname.lastname@example.org. 27: Fisherman’s Post Fishing School. 7:30am-5pm. Fisherman’s Post Newspaper, the free publication that covers all the saltwater fishing action along the Carolina coast, will be putting on its fifth annual full-day
Saltwater Fishing School. The school will take place at the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City. Tickets and details: 252-247-3883. 27: American Music Festival Concert Series—Fry Street Quartet. 8pm. The Fry Street Quartet has perfected a “blend of technical precision and scorching spontaneity” and will bring it to the History Place, 1008 Arendell St., Morehead City. FSQ will feature a concert entitled Celebrating 1910: Birth of Samuel Barber, playing selections from Dover Beach; Quartet, Op.11. Details: 252728-6152 or americanmusicfestival. org.
March Mar. 5-7: Coastal Home & Garden Show. In its 22nd year, the Coastal Home & Garden Show has been an avenue for new homeowners, established homeowners and those who want to remodel or do-it-yourselfers. Over 65 exhibitors marketing their business and services all under one roof. Great opportunity for a business and a great opportunity for the community to see all services available. Crystal Coast Civic Center, 3505 Arendell St., Morehead City. Details: 252-247-3883. Mar. 20: American Music Festival Concert Series—Barbara McKenzie, Piano and Friends. 8pm. Barbara McKenzie, piano, and friends from the NC School of the Arts and NC Symphony will be Celebrating 1810 and the birth of Frédéric Chopin at the History Place, 1008 Arendell St., Morehead City. This first part of the two-part series features Concerto in E Minor, Trio and Grand Polonaise. Details: 252-728-6152 or visit americanmusicfestival.org.
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201 N. 17th Street, Morehead City, NC 252.247.7442 • 252.726.3534
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Located along the ICW @ St. Mile 204. Transient yachts are welcome. Competitive dockage and fuel prices. ValvTect Marine Fuel / No Ethanol. Depth at MLW : 10-13 ft. 10-15 Restaurants within walking distance. Protected harbor for vessels 20-200 ft. Daily / Weekly / Monthly and Annual rates. Only 30 miles from the Gulf Stream.
• • • • • • • •
Adjacent to Beaufort Inlet. Electricity: 30/50/100/200 amp. Clean Restrooms/Laundry/Clubhouse. Marina services available. Over 1200 ft. of side-tie floating docks. Yacht Brokerage on site. Professional and courteous staff. Only a 3 hour drive from Raleigh.
Morehead City Yacht Basin Serving Boaters and Sportsmen since 1947 208 Arendell St. Morehead City, NC 28557 For reservations call 252-726-6862 Fax 252-726-1939 or e-mail Dockmaster@moreheadcityyachtbasin.com www.moreheadcityyachtbasin.com
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