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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ft Fisher - Windy Windy Windy

Ft Fisher.                                                            3 miles                  892.6 total
1:42 total paddling time, 1.8 avg speed, 3.8 max speed, 90 degrees

We left out of Fort Fisher and returned here.  The boating ramp/area is very nice and obviously well used.  We saw several other kayakers, fishermen and an educational class filled with lots of kids.  They were learning to paddle SUPs and how to fish with a net.  As I walked our boats out into the water, I was quite surprised to find that my one foot quickly, and I mean quickly sank down into the sand or muck!  I was afraid that I was going to lose my shoe - it was that hard to pull it out.  Another boater nearby top u to walk out a little more to the right. Apparently he had just done the same thing and was I merged up to his thigh.  The black muck on the bottom was relentless.  If we put our paddle down into it, they came up coated with the stuff.  It wasn't asphalt splashed off, rather we had to wipe I off with our hands.

We battled the wind and paddled out to the island directly in front of the ramp, staying parallel to the wall separating the estuary from the river.  The water got shallow in many places which didn't make the paddling any easier.  As we neared the island, the water got even more shallow so we paddled close to the wall. Here was a windbreak and it was.calmer paddling.  Along the way, we passed Pelicans standing on the surrounding sandbars.  The island is an area with dense mars grass providing  many hidden nests for the shore birds.  We paddled in front of the island and could see some lighthouse out further.  We turned back passing even more sandbars and had to get out and walk our boats.  Scotty went betwee two grassy islands.  I headed towards ft fisher, feeling frustrated with th slow going.  As we headed back in, it looked as if it may be low field.  We could see an expanse of sand between us and the dock. We maneuvered our boats to paddle through some of the deeper water- maybe 1 foot.  We arrived back at the ramp after a good arm workout from battling the wind.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Black River

Black River.                                                        8 miles                     889.6 total
9:15 until 2:30, 3 hours total paddling time, 2.6 avg speed, 90 degrees

Put in at Ivanhoe boat ramp. Took out at Beattys Bridge

Entering the river, we knew this would be a different paddle.  The water was a tea color.  Rivers turn this color from the tannins in the tree roots.  As you looked across the river, it truly did look black, and the cypress knobs popped up from the water.  A description of the river said some of the cypress trees were up to 1000 years old.  The description also said we'd pass many birds and this proved false.    We saw hardly any birds.  The description all said we'd see endangered 'pants'.  Look in the photos below- see for yourself if the pants we encountered look endangered!

At one point, I heard a noise ivenever heard on the river. I asked Scotty, 'what was that noise?'  His reply 'you mean that growling?'  Yikes!  And we heard this growling again on the river, but never did figure out what it was.

A lot of the river was shaded and we passed lots of cypress trees with their knobs everywhere.  There were several 'mazes' off to th sides of the river but we didn't paddle back into them as there weren't good paths between the trees and knobs.  We passed several white sandy banks and stopped at one for lunch.

We mad good time along this river and stopped at one landing that had a nice dock, small white rocks brought in and a nice wooden wall/dock.

We got to Beattys landing.  I stayed with the boats and Scotty made the 4 mile bike ride to get the truck. When he arrived, he was met with 2 60 year old men driving around in a pick up drinking beer.  They thought he was going to jump off the bridge which they eventually did.  They persisted in asking me to jump until I finally said I had a bad knee.  They talked and talked, and as we packed up we saw them jump back in their truck with 2 more beers for the road.

I think I enjoyed our day more.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

River Road

river Road                                    4.8 miles                              881.6 total
2.1 average speed
2:16 total paddling time
Put in 9:15, take out 11:30, River RunPark

This area in the middle of the Cape Fear River is known as The Thousand Islands.  We paddled around 3 islands so we have 997 more to go! The temperature was 89degrees when we put in and 90 degrees when we got out.  We went to the right which was with the current stopping at two islands.  But, we didn't see any sharks teeth which we had read about.  As we turned around the last island to go left, we had to paddle a little harder as we were now going against the current.  It's a busy section of the river and we passed several kayaks and canoes.  When we rounded the third and largest island, we were going again with the current and headed back to the dock.   All along this paddle, fish were jumping around us, and we saw osprey in a nest and a few tall, gray birds along the shore.  The skies were blue, filled with beautiful, fluffy clouds!