Sunday, July 8, 2012

Old Baldy

My daughter and I spent last week volunteering with our church youth to help Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry repair homes in low income neighborhoods.  It was a long hot week but we got the job done and had a great time with the youth.  Afterwards, we went on a little side trip to Bald Head Island for the day.  

Bald Head Island is located at the mouth of the Cape Fear River south of Wilmington and across from Southport.  One of the state's eight lighthouses is located's called Old Baldy and is actually the state's oldest standing lighthouse since 1817.  It can only be accessed by ferry and only bicycles and golf carts are allowed on the island.  The island was home to a British fort and hospital in the Revolutionary War.  During the Civil War, several Confederate gun emplacements helped secure the mouth of the river.

Early river pilots used to offer navigational services to ships approaching the mouth of the Cape Fear River by taking up watch on a high dune headland that was worn bare of vegetation.  This "bald" headland became a reference point for ships entering the Cape Fear River, hence the name of the island.

This was an excellent father/daughter beach outing.  Since we didn't bring our own boards, a big thanks goes to Jeoffrey and Catherine Nathan at Coastal Urge for helping us get SUP rentals arranged at their "boardroom" location near the marina.  Even though the SW wind was pretty strong, we were able to paddle in some flat water in the marsh area on the backside of the island.  Stand up paddling is an extra big benefit when paddling in marshy areas versus kayaking since the higher point of view allows you to see better into the marsh itself.

Fish tacos lunch at Mojos

Old Baldy in the background

This would have been a great pic except for the water droplets on my lens.

Swimming against the tidal current for fun

Bodysurfing at the south facing beach where we found some fun waves to play in.

A down the line view bodysurfing.  Although not on this wave, I did get barreled.

The east facing beach was flat and in the lee of Frying Pan Shoals, which flattened the water from the SW wind.  This is a perfect wave...just needs to be a lot bigger.  Next time there is a good east swell, this might be a great place to stand up paddle surf (and windsurf if you can manage to get your gear on the ferry and on top of a golf cart).

Standing on Frying Pan Shoals at the southern tip of Bald Head Island, part of the Graveyard of the Atlantic

Old Baldy
This is a beautiful place.  If you get the opportunity, check out Bald Head Island for a very unique outdoor experience.  Be sure to check out Coastal Urge for all your SUP rentals, lessons, and tour needs.  They also rent and sell bicycles.

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