Peace in the Inlet

You don’t buy a house on the water or move to a home near the ocean looking for excitement, noise or a buzz that you can hear twenty-four hours a day.

For a couple of years in the late eighties we lived in Columbia, MD between US29, US1, and Interstate 95 with the flight paths for Baltimore-Washington International Airport above us. Columbia was a wonderful community but there was always a humming sound from the extraordinary amount of civilization near our home. At night the sky was an unusual color from all the artificial light in the area. Columbia is still considered an island of tranquility in a metropolitan sea of activity which continues to intensify and spread.

When we moved to the Crystal Coast, my number one goal was to be able to live on the water. We found a place in Carteret County which ended up meeting our needs in a number of ways. I believe the area is a great place for a home for anyone who loves the out of doors and especially the water. Living in a county that is over one-half water is much different than living where you feel like the whole world is either paved or about to be paved.

I enjoy some wonderful, peaceful times on the beach especially when I am hiking over at the Point on Emerald Isle. However, where I really find the world slows down the most is in Raymond’s Gut, the inlet near our home or the White Oak River. The best time of day to enjoy our quiet inlet or the much bigger White Oak River is either early morning or late evening.

I do enjoy taking our skiff out the inlet and down the White Oak to Swansboro and the marshes beyond the Intracoastal Waterway. However, riding in a skiff at over 30 MPH is not like being in kayak late in the evening when the only sounds you hear are your paddle dipping in the water, the wind, and the birds.

It is very hard to beat the view of the water from a kayak. Without a motor to worry about, you can just glide along and enjoy the view. With a skiff and outboard motor in our shallow waters, you have to pay serious attention to where you are going. It is pretty hard to get a kayak stuck even amongst our oyster rocks and shallow waters. Life is just much more relaxed in a kayak which is probably why one of the first things that we did when we moved to the area was to buy a kayak.

I have enjoyed some wonderful kayaking adventures like this recent one, but most of all I treasure just getting in my kayak and paddling out to the river to watch the sun sink beneath the waters. There are days when you can sit on the oyster rocks with your kayak in the middle of the river and just enjoy the peaceful setting and concentrate on appreciating the opportunity to be in such a beautiful place that has not been domesticated. Sometimes even out on river all the elements conspire to just let you float along with no cares.

If you do find more breeze than you want in the middle of our big coastal river, it is easy to take refuge in the little bay at Hancock Point or in our inlet. Once you get away from the center of the almost two-mile wide White Oak River, there is no fighting the current, winds or tides. Kayaking in those sheltered spots is about as relaxing as anything I have ever tried. When I get back to the dock and wait for my tow out of the water, my spirits are always better than when I left. As I sit there looking at the marsh grass and our bulkhead, figuring out my next trip is often on my mind. Our inlet or our river is where I have found peace and refuge from some of the challenges of the day. If you love kayaking, there is no shortage of great places here on the Crystal Coast where peace is easy to find if you just head for some secluded water.