Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sea Kayaking at Wrightsville Beach!

7/24/2010 - Wrightsville Beach, NC.

Howdy everyone! As part of our weekend getaway to Wilmington, Rachel and I went sea kayaking at Wrightsville Beach! It was the first time we tried sea kayaking... and also solo paddling. We both rented a single-seat kayak from our friends at Hook, Line & Paddle Canoe & Kayak Outfitters (HLP) HLP maintains a rental shop located off Waynick Blvd in Wrightsville Beach. Saturday promised to be another "super" hot day with a heat index of approx. 110 degrees F... so we arrived bright and early that morning to get our paddling in before it got too hot.

HLP rents several different kayak models. Folks may rent by the hour, day, or week. Rach and I decided on a 2 hour rental. Besides, I had to park my truck on Waynick Blvd at metered parking... and the city of Wrightsville Beach charges $2.00 a hour! :-(

Our put in area looking across Masonboro Inlet to Motts Channel.

HLP was conducting an "eco-tour" of the local marsh with a group of 10 individuals. We thought it sounded interesting... and nearly signed up for the tour... until the HLP guide informed us that everyone on the tour was a "newbie" paddler! Nobody in the group had ever been in a kayak! :-O I took a look at the water and wind conditions... tide was going out... current running fast... there was some "chop" in the water... and the wind was gusting 10-20mph... and decided that Rachel and I would NOT be joining the tour group. I did not fancy spending my morning helping to "herd" or fish out of the water this group! Call me selfish? Hopefully, all went well on their paddle.

Here is the Heritage kayak I rented...

... And Rachel's craft.

Heading out across Masonboro Inlet toward Motts Channel. Had to stay very focused on what I was doing at all times. There was some chop... with strong currents... gusty winds... and lots of jet skis and other power boats to avoid.

I also kept a close eye on Rachel. She handled these more "trying" paddling conditions with apparent ease and approached every challenge in a calm and level-headed manner. I was really proud of her!

Approaching the marsh area. There were numerous channels, with fast moving water, that flowed through the high reeds.

I took the lead and paddled a short distance up one of these "waterways." We did not travel far, since once we got into the marsh area, it was impossible to see above the reeds. Also, it got very shallow and I did not want to risk getting stuck in the soft mud.

Here I am back in the main channel. Again, with both the heavy wind gusts and current running fast... one had to plan carefully each photo shot... since by the time you get the camera out of the dry bag... focus... and take your photo... your kayak will have drifted many yards beyond where you decided to take the photo! ;-)

Here, we encountered the "Fishin Magician" out of Wrightsville Beach, anchored in the channel we were following. We noted several birds perched in its sagging blue canvas that covered the flying bridge. The birds had devicated all over the boat... and appeared to be tearing the canvas into shreds... maybe to use as nesting material? The "Fishin Magician" looked like it had been neglected for some time... and I wondered what was the story behind why its owner decided to leave a 30 foot plus cabin cruiser anchored in this remote channel?

We encountered many oyster beds.

A solitary spectator to our paddling adventure!

A large sand dune located on this land bluff near this stretch of the Intercoastal Waterway.

Rachel and I in "formation" on our return paddling leg.

Spotted these water fowl on a muddy sandbar.

The Harbor Inn, located off Causeway Drive, in Wrightsville Beach.

Lots of expensive watercraft, moored near our put in / take out area.

Well, yo-ho... Rachel and I both feel in love with sea kayaking... and going "single" while paddling! ;-) It was great fun... and exciting to experience a different dimension of paddling. The majority of my paddling has been flat water... but I now have a "taste" for a little more current and wind action! Also, we learned that HLP will be selling their rental fleet over Labor Day weekend... and with HLP used kayaks selling in the $300 - $400 dollar range... we may be swinging back to Wrightsville Beach to pick up a "his-and-her" kayak! Stay tuned. More to come.


  1. The Fishin Magician belongs to me and is my beer drinking platform. It is unfortunate that the birds have defiled my boat. I regret to inform you that the boat is actually being removed this Saturday.

  2. The "Fishin' Magician," is a Wrightsville Beach landmark, as much as the parking meters that line the shoreline.

    Whenever you find yourself in a spot or on the boat, rest assured you will be screwed.

  3. Board the "Magician" with care. If you are not pure of heart and spirit, the vessel will fight back. Its' razor sharp barnacles will slice your feet to shreds. Its' open engine (kind-of like an open kitchen in a nice restaurant -only smellier) will rattle your brain. Its' magnetic, coast guard powers will get you pulled over and stressed out. Its' non-functional bathroom will have you relaving yourself in the open water. But, once you pass these trials, you will enjoy cold beer (but only about 1.5 per person) and a day on the water that you won't soon forget.


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