October 24, 2010

We just got back home from an amazing weekend away at Cape Lookout National Seashore at the coast of NC.  I bought a sea kayak a few years back, and it is one of our favorite things to do.  However, with the arrival of the boys and bike racing taking a dominant role, we just haven't gotten out to use them to their full capalilties.

10 of us, including the two guides Will and John, headed to the coast early Friday afternoon. We arrived at the Cape Lookout National Seashore late in the afternoon, and after getting the boats unloaded and gear packed, headed out with a setting sun across Back Sound.  It was about a 4 mile or so paddle to our camping destination along the beach just south of the Cape Lookout lighthouse. As we paddled across we were greeted by 100s of Pelicans and a unbelievable sunset.  A full moon rose out of the east, and that made vision, even on the calm dark water, fairly easy.

After we located the site, we pitched our tents and made base camp. Laying in the tent that night, I could see the lighthouse through the tent window.  It was literally right there.

Will made an outstanding breakfast of French Toast and coffee, and we made our preparations for a day of paddling on Saturday.  I cannot speak highly enough of the lead guide Will Seeley.  Not only is he an amazing boat handler and outdoors man, but kept all of us fed, on point, and safe all weekend.  If you ever get an urge to take a trip like this, I can whole heartily recommend one from Get:Outdoors.

We weren't paddling along the Bight long before we saw a bunch of dolphins appear near our boats.  It was just the first of many amazing encounters as we also witnessed a giant sea turtle, blue fish in a feeding frenzy, and the famous NC coastal wild horses.

The highlight of the trip for me, was being able to paddle out into the Atlantic.  The weather and water conditions were spectacular, and the opportunity presented itself, so we headed out.  Although no big deal to some, it is something I will never forget.

We returned to base camp just before dark, and Will prepared another amazing meal of Clam Chowder and Tiramisu.  (Nope.  Not kidding.  This guy is freaking amazing!).

It was nice to sit at camp on the beach and get to know the other 6 tour group members, who I now consider friends.  A big thanks to Chris, Bob, Jo, Michelle, Jaynsen, and Monica for sharing this experience with us.  You guys helped to make it unforgettable and we miss you already!!

On Sunday we broke down camp and headed back to the main land.  We crossed over to Shackleford Banks and paddled through a shallow inland waterway before arriving back at Harker's Island.

It was when we got there I realized that I hadn't at all missed not being in contact with the rest of the world for those 60 hours or so.  It was totally quiet and peaceful out there, and, even though we had only been out there for a short time car engines, ringing cell phones, and radios were really freaking me out.  I kid you not.

It couldn't have been any more perfect.

This Trip's Top Ten:

10) You MUST load the kayak evenly on both sides ("Why can't I paddle straight?")

9) You MUST load the kayak evenly front to back ("Why is the bow going through the waves?")

8) Will really does know everything (or he gives you a made up answer with such confidence you believe he knows everything)

7) You should wear shoes when trying to walk across a marshy island in the dark ("There is cactus? Here?")

6) The biggest heaviest kayak in the group (Bertha/Titanic/Red Pearl/#@!&&^) just might be the fastest ("You guys were paddling at 5 knots!")

5) Double check the guide prepared suggested packing list (This goes for the guides too, aka Bug Nets?)

4) A dry bag may or may not stay dry if not closed properly ("Why is this stuff wet?")

3) Best Clam Chowder I've ever had hands down - Saturday night

2) "Hey what  island is that?" "Were are we?" "Can you do a roll?" "Are we there yet?"

1) While paddling in the Atlantic Will tells me "... Well sure we can go further out. If we go another mile or so we are no longer at the top of the predatory food chain.  Things out there will eat you."

Words to life by...  LOL!!