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Landscape, Sea Levels, Pelicans, Water Homes, Egrets & Porpoises

The landscape on the ICW along North Carolina is a sandy miracle of Nature. And oh, so fragile, so fragile, but which protects the mainland and the many, many marshes so many boaters pass by. Appreciate the terrain and its majesty and its inhabitants.

Pelicans are ugly birds—they just can’t help it with their angular wings and beaks, triangular and bony with feathers trying to soften their lines—with little effect. I (Norma) am totally fascinated by them and even saw one perched on post like a seagull. In flight, however, they are majestic—wide wing spans with dark feathers highlighting their long-angled beaks as they gracefully land on the sea, or plop right in with a big loud splash when they dive on a fish. We watched them dive for fish and now in the mid-North Carolina shoreline area, we watch them float alongside the ICW near sandy, grassy shores. When they fly in a group, it’s like pointy arrows in a row focused in one direction—a glorious sight to see. I am frustrated in not being camera-ready when I see them in flight. Maybe, just maybe, I will be able to get a closeup shot of them flying in unison later in this blog. Here they are gathered on an isolated dock.

If any of you have read the book or seen the movie Where the Crawdads Sing, we are there. (Both the book and the movie are excellent.) The physical beauty of the marshes and multiple twisting water byways and paths make both me and Allen want to explore the area in our kayaks, but we don’t since the narrow widths and shallow depths of the ICW just are not great for pulling over and anchoring for a bit. In fact, as you can see from the pictures, the ocean is not very far away, and we can see beachfront homes and the surf from the Atlantic Ocean easily on our port as we pass by some of beachfront homes heading south on the ICW. Some are really attractive homes with docks—an ideal homesite for someone like Allen who wants his boats (note the plural) near him all of the time. (Yes, in May we are shipping Afterglow to Seattle! And Allen still wants a small fishing boat on a trailer. Londe, get ready for having your fishin' buddy credentials up to snuff!)

Talking about the homes. They are AT sea level now and are advertised as “Water Homes.” I kid you not. In fact, new houses are being built as I write this. To accommodate sea level rise here, the homes are basically bottomless. There are no basements, and most of them are nicely designed on stilts. Stairs to the second and third floors are angled and part of the design of the homes that offer enclosed living space only on the second and third floors. Interestingly, the newer the home, the higher the second level! I even saw a round house with four sets of stairs and a 360-degree balcony. It looked pretty nice to me. Anyway, some of their docks are at sea level or close to it now. One day, we imagine, the surf will just rush over their docks and up to their stairways, if not their doorsteps.

The natural part of the ICW is really something to see—if you like the creatures there which I do. All along the way, we see bottle-nosed porpoises, even large ones, swimming about in very shallow water! Since they are so fast, I was lucky to catch a shot of them so you could see that they come from the ocean but play all around these marshy shallow depths of no more than 10 feet. (I think that that must have been how Dolly, our newest soft crew child, came to us.)

In addition to seabirds and empty osprey nests and cormorants posing on almost every post, we saw several egret rookeries around the Carolina beach area. They are my favorite with their long necks and lovely pure-white feathers over all; they move gracefully among the marshes, and I love to watch them catch their minnow prey.

North Carolina is beautiful, to say the least.!

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