Travel Tip Thursday is a writing prompt that encourages bloggers to tell about new and exciting places to travel. Today,, I'm taking you to Masonboro Island, a post that I completed before flying down to San Jose.
One of the first things my father got after moving to North Carolina was a boat. The first one was a 14 foot jon boat that could easily navigate the shallow waters of Masonboro Island, which was across the sound from where we lived. The tides made such boats very desirable desirable. At low tide, the only place you were guaranteed water was the dredged Intercoastal Waterway. Much of the rest of the sound dried up and was just mud, grass and oyster beds. There are many creeks in the island you can navigate during high tide, that drop you off on the backside of the dunes, just 100 or so yards from the surf. In time, my father got larger boats, but he always kept one capable of navigating the creeks.
My dad fishing off the jetty in Masonboro Inlet (Wrightsville Beach is in the background)
Masonboro Island became a playground for me in my youth. We spent a lot of time there in the fall. On summer nights we’d gig flounder in the shallow creeks. Once, a friend and I began to stash away the stuff we needed to run away from home. Our plans included setting up camp on Masonboro Island and living like Huckleberry Finn. Supplies included plenty of plastic for collecting rain water and making solar stills to produce fresh water because there was little such water on the island. At 16, I got a canoe and my first overnight trip was to the island. It wasn’t my first camping trip there, as I’d been doing that for years with my dad, but it was fun to be on your on and so far away (but it never seemed so far away as long as you could see the lights of the piers on Wrightsville Beach to the north and Carolina Beach to the south, as well as the lights of the Loran towers to the west, near Snow’s Cut). I learned the stars during the many nights that I camped on the island, for it was if I had a giant screen and got to watch the stars (or the moon) rise on the horizon. Moonrises were special, as the light seemed to simmer across the water.
On most trips home, I still make a stop at Masonboro Island. This past trip, we fished both Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Inlet. At high tide, we were able to run my dad’s boat up Cabbage Inlet (not really an inlet, but there are many places on the island where the water washes over during extreme tides or storms). The ocean water temperature was still in the 70s and I had to go in, riding a few waves.
Today, the island is an undeveloped state park. My travel tip for you: if you are ever in the area, there are kayak liveries on both Wrightsville and Carolina Beach. Rent a kayak and paddle across the inlet and explore the island. The creeks are fun to paddle and a great place to watch birds. Just don’t try to swim across the inlet; it doesn’t look too far, but when the tide is running the currents are very strong and you may find yourself way out in the ocean. Tip 2: Take bug repellant!