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Friday, October 19, 2012
Baltimore tourists visit Sonag
       Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. are back in Charm City after three delightful weeks in Sonag. They were in full tourist mode on this trip and made a number of discoveries that are perhaps worth recounting. The weather was nothing less than idyllic the whole time, confirming his long-held belief that fall is by far the best time to visit the Outer Banks.
       Naturally he was interested in how the newly replenished Nags Head beach was faring after a full year of wear and tear from Mother Nature. As faithful readers know he was unalterably opposed to the renourishment project from the git-go and it will probably come as no surprise that he wishes he could have the old beach back.
       As far as he could tell the vast majority of the sand pumped onto the beach last year is still there, either onshore or close in, so in this sense the sand is successfully performing its most important function----to keep oceanfront buildings from washing away. If he were an oceanfront property owner he would probably be willing to overlook a few of the unfortunate side effects that have resulted.      
       For Uncle Jack the worst part of the new unnatural beach is the foreshore---the part that beachwalkers usually walk on while they look for shells or other detritus thrown up by waves.       In Nags Head the surf line ain’t what it used to be. He tried several times to walk up to Jennette’s Pier (as was his frequent wont before renourishment) but had to give up because the more-or-less level, hardpacked sand that usually prevails on a natural beach isn’t there any more. In most places the foreshore consists of a sharp drop-off at the water’s edge and a strip of wet sand that varies in width with the state of the tide. The combination makes for very hard slogging in soft sand most of the time which for a feeble, elderly person like Uncle Jack is no fun.
              He and Mrs. U.J. were forced to seek other foreshores for their daily stroll and found them both at unspoiled Coquina Beach to the south and in Kill Devil Hills to the north where beachwalking is still a pleasure---complete with lots of shells, sandpipers and seagulls. The latter were conspicuously absent on the renourished beach during Uncle Jack’s visits.
              The widened strand made it possible for the Nags Head Surf Fishing Club’s annual October tournament to return entirely to the Nags Head beaches for the first time in a while. For some reason this important event got little or no coverage in the local press, digital or print, but the results of this year’s contest were published yesterday on the Club’s website and Uncle Jack found them interesting. Last year the winning team, the Hurricanes, caught 170 fish for 370 points. This year’s winners, the Mullet Mamas, caught 38 fish for 94 points. Whether or not this remarkable drop-off had anything to do with beach renourishment is beyond his ken but it might be an interesting topic for further exploration by fishing mavens.
              Their daily hunt for interesting places to walk took them one day down to Oregon Inlet where they explored the vast expanse of sand that has accreted behind the groin on the south side of the inlet. The groin was built as an emergency measure several years ago to keep the south end of the Bonner Bridge from washing away and it has been fascinating to watch the dynamics of wind, water and sand in that area. It’s a great place to walk and Uncle Jack recommends it to anybody looking for an unusual landscape to explore.
They found other great places to walk in and around Manteo which are shown in the pictures below.
       Perhaps their most interesting discovery of this vacation was the remarkable ascendance of the Greater Wanchese Metropolitan District. There is a whole lot going on in and around Wanchese that he knew nothing about but he will save that report for another blog entry soon.
       Suffice it to say that he and Mrs. U.J. had a wonderful time playing tourist and they can hardly wait to do it again right after Thanksgiving. In the meantime they will watch fall descend on Baltimore as the trees begin to change their plumage and turn the city into a riot of color. They feel blessed to be able to enjoy two such different but marvelous places to live.

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A typical drop-off at the surf's edge in South Nags Head. Perhaps winter storms will reshape the beach into something resembling a natural beach. Or perhaps they won't.

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Walking is tough when one's choice is between the surf zone and the extremely soft sand above the drop-off.

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Lots of rooms on the widened beach for the 80 teams participating in the Nags Head Surf-fishing tournament this year but the fishing left a little to be desired.

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This vast expanse of sand has filled the space behind the Oregon Inlet groin in recent years. Some observers believe that this has robbed the beaches further south to ill effect.

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The top of the groin has been landscaped to make it easy for fishermen to access the inlet waters. A great place for nonfishermen to walk, too.

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The old Coast Guard station at the inlet was nearly engulfed by drifting sand in recent years but has been rescued by adroit manipulation of earthmoving equipment.

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This lovely walking path runs along the perimeter of the parking lots at Roanoke Island Festival Park. A great place to walk when the beach is too windy for comfort.

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Bodie Island lighthouse has a new and improved scaffolding as work continues on its refurbishment. Our tax dollars at work in the neighborhood.

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These oceanfront structures will be needing sandbags soon.

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That's Uncle Jack's house behind the crazy pampas grass. For info about how to rent it next season google "Uncle Jack's Beach Cottage".

posted by Uncle Jack at 9:59 PM

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After retiring in 2005 after 35 years as owner/operator of Yellowhouse Gallery and Annex on the Beach Road in Nags Head, Uncle Jack, accompanied by Mrs. Uncle Jack (a.k.a. Susan), commenced to travel extensively. This blog is a chronicle of their ramblings around the U.S. (in their redoubtable Mini Cooper convertible) as well as visits to England, Ireland, France, Italy, and Malta, interspersed with lengthy stays in South Nags Head and Baltimore between trips. He took a lot of pictures along the way, many of which are posted along with each blog entry.
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