The Kayak Chronicles ©
by Darren Caffery
Paddling the Outer Banks of North Carolina
Kitty Hawk Woods - Maritime Forest
Monday, September 30, 2002
After checking in and settling into our motel on Sunday night we had a nice dinner at the Jolly Roger and discussed our paddling plans for the week.
On Monday morning, our first day in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, we launched from Colington Island. Colington Island is on the Roanoke sound side of the barrier island just west of Kill Devil Hills and between Kitty Hawk to the North and Nags Head to the South. Tom Kelly, Al Kukitz and Mary Lou & Len Senkarik and I launched on the north side of Colington Island at about 10 am into the wind protected waters of Blounts Bay. Air temps were in the 80ís and winds were relatively mild. We paddled northward up past Sloop Island and into more open wind prone waters of the Kitty Hawk Bay. The bay crossing was fun as we paddled in some mild chop and current from the wind. Soonafter, we made our way into the more wind protected and tranquil waters of Jean Guite Creek within the Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve and Maritime Forest.
In the 4 mile stretch of the creek and forest we saw some snowy egrets, a blue heron and a water snake. I was surprised we hadnít seen any water moccasins and within the next thirty minutes we passed two of them. On our trek up the creek, we met also met three paddling ladies from the Outer Banks Paddling Club. Interestingly, they were familiar with JSSKA from a website of pics and trip reports I posted from my last OBX trip. We chatted with the ladies for a bit then paddled to the covered bridge for lunch. On our way, we also found a very nice launch site that I will use for another route on my next OBX adventure. After lunch we paddled north up the creek to the US 158 Bridge where we landed behind the Kitty Hawk Sports store to see if we could get Mary Louís rudder fixed. Unfortunately, this location of the very popular OBX kayak outfitter was closed.
On the paddle back we could see the Wright Brothers Memorial in the distance to the east on Kitty Hawk Bay. When we got near the take out in Blounts Bay, the weather was so great and water temperatures so refreshing that we decided we would all practice some safety and rescue skills in preparation for our Ocracoke Inlet crossing on Wednesday.
After 13.5 miles of paddling and practicing some wet exits, paddle float and assisted re-entries, we called it a day. The sunset created a vivid display of color over the Colington Island sky as we loaded our vehicles up from an awesome first day of paddling in the Outer Banks. After showering and cleaning ourselves up back at our motel in Nags Head, we all met at the Red Drum Cafť for dinner, some Yuengling and to discuss the logistics of our next paddle in the Pamlico Sound.
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