02-Sep-2000 -- North Carolina is unique among the United States
in that it has huge expanses of water protected behind a strip of barrier islands.
These bodies of water provide support for all sorts of wildlife, recreation, and
fishing. The two main areas of water behind the islands (called the Outer Banks)
are the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds. The confluence we were hunting
fell in the southern part of the Albemarle Sound. This water-based confluence
was well within sight of land, so Laurie and I rented a boat, and roped my
kayaking parents into a "three hour tour" over Labor Day weekend.
After a early start, we left Greenville, NC, and headed northeast on various
state roads until we met up with US-64, somewhere around Williamston. We
took 64 east to Columbia, taking smaller and smaller roads, until we wound up
at the end of a gravel road at a place called Pledger Landing. Braving the
bugs, we slathered on sunscreen, set the GPS with the route, popped the
kayaks in the water, and headed out into the Albemarle Sound. We were
about 6.3km from the confluence. It was 10:45am.
The forecast was for scattered showers, but they all seemed to be
elsewhere that day. Clouds were in abundance as we paddled out to the
spot. The breeze was a refreshment, and fortunately not a hinderance.
Several boats were out pulling up crab pots and fishing.
I called out the 0.5 kilometer marks as they fell. Laurie's and my
"dual engined" kayak was mitigated by the fact that we were both
wildly out of shape, so the intrepid explorers managed to stay in close formation.
After almost 2 hours of paddling, suddenly we were on top of it. Even
though the wide open space grated us the best satellite reception possible,
the (until now unnoticed) current kept us from hitting the point exactly. Getting
within 40 meters and calling it good, we snapped a few pictures and headed
for the shore. Now assisted by the current, our time back was cut nearly in
half. This was, as they say, a very good thing.
We made the shore by 1:45pm, stumbled out of the boats (and least
Laurie and I did), bolted for the cooler and consumed the entire contents in
the span of a few minutes.
After a brief rest, we loaded the boats back on to the cars and headed for
home; stopping only to get more fluids, and braving the showers that sprung
up all over eastern NC almost as soon as we were out of the water.