The 33rd Annual North Carolina Oyster Festival is less than a month away; it will take place in Ocean Isle Beach, NC on Saturday and Sunday, October 19-20, 2013. The festival, which is hosted by Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce, is expected to draw about 50,000 tourist and locals, and will offer something for ever visitor. The event has live entertainment, food (festival style as well as local cuisines), vendor booths, children's activities, road races, an Oyster Stew Cook-Off, Oyster Shucking Contest, and much more. Tickets to the event can be purchased at the gate, which are $5 for adults and children under 8 years of age are free.This year’s musical headliner will be The Lost Trailers, a country music group consisting of Stokes Nielson and Jason Wyatt. They have opened for the likes of Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Jamey Johnson and many others. There will also be other performers such as The Craig Woolard Band, Sea-Cruz, The Entertainers and Jaded Mayberry. Past performers have been acts such as Casey James and Josh Kelly.Vendor booths consist of handmade jewelry, painted glassware, hand-blown Christmas ornaments, natural soaps, jams, handcrafted clothing items, woodcraft, unique cuisines, and much more. Many items are handmade and one of a kind. A lot of the vendors only take cash so keep that in mind before you show up.You may also be interested in the NC Oyster Festival road races; they offer a 5K, 10K 1 Mile Fun Run, and new for 2013 is a 5K Beach Run Adventure. If you’re interested in finding local accommodations for the festival you can visit http://www.coastaldirectories.com/accommodations for more information. You can also visit the NC Oyster Festival's website at http://www.ncoysterfestival.com/index.html. Don't miss one of Brunswick County, North Carolina's biggest and best events of the year!
While at the beach with my family this past Saturday in Cherry Grove we had the unexpected pleasure of witnessing something very special- we saw volunteers of the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol relocating a Sea Turtle nest from a busy, populated area of Myrtle Beach to the far North end of North Myrtle Beach (Cherry Grove). The volunteer I spoke with informed me that the nest contained about 120 eggs, also know as a clutch of eggs, the average nest contains between 80 and 150 eggs. He also informed me that past studies have shown that only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings survive, but the organization feels the number of sea turtles that survive has increased over the years.
The eggs were from a Loggerhead Sea Turtle, which nests between the beaches of North Carolina to Florida from May 1st to October 31st. The females crawl ashore, dig a nest with its back flippers and lay their eggs. A female Loggerhead may come ashore several times during their nesting season to try and lay a clutch of eggs. After laying their eggs, the sea turtle covers their nest, packs the sand down over the eggs to cover and protect the nest. The turtle then makes its way back to the sea, never to return to the eggs or nest again.
The North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol has some advisories if you should happen to see a nesting female. Stay still, movement may cause the turtle to return to the ocean. Do not move towards the turtle, take flash photos or shine any kind of light on her. Keep in mind that being on the beach and out of the water is very unnatural for the sea turtles and they may be very skittish. If a nesting female is scared away from one nesting site, she may move further down the beach or attempt to return the next night. If the turtle tries to nest several times but is unsuccessful, she may drop her eggs in the ocean, which results in the destruction of the entire clutch. The eggs will hatch 6-8 weeks later- the hatchlings must dig out of the sand, usually emerging after dark. They run towards the natural light of the moon and stars reflecting off the ocean.
If you happen to see emerging hatchlings from a nest the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol advises that you do not disturb them if they are headed to the ocean, just watch quietly. Again, do not shine any form of light on the hatchlings, take flash pictures or place them in the water. It is best for the turtles to navigate to the ocean themselves. These hatchlings dehydrate very quickly when exposed to the heat of the sun and will die if they do not make it to the ocean quickly. If a stranded hatchling is found please help it to the ocean by placing it at the edge of the surf but allow it to enter the water on its own. Do not place the them in a bucket of water, nor carry it out into the deep water. They need to acclimate to their surroundings before entering deeper water.
Adult Loggerhead Sea Turtles may weigh between 250 and 350 pounds, and grow up to 5 feet in length. The adult Loggerhead's main predators are sharks, boats/ships, fishing nets and lines, trash, pollutants, diseases, obstructions on beach and people. Please understand that sea turtles are ENDANGERED and face EXTINCTION!
While at the beach, if you come in contact with a nesting Sea Turtle or an exposed or endangered nest you can contact the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol at 843.283.6670 or for more information you can visit their website at www.nmbseaturtlepatrol.com or on their Facebook Page: North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol. The North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol is a Non-Profit Organization that was established in 2010. They are a great organization that it working so selflessly for the benefit of the sea turtle, the ocean and our ecosystem, so please follow them and give support in any way you can...Keep up the great work guys!
*Information was provided by North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol*
It’s been a little over a year since the Sunset Beach swing bridge was relieved of its duty after the better part of 50 years on the job. Whether you were a local to the area or a visitor on vacation this little engine that could was a door way of nostalgia which took us back in time as we crossed the single lane wooded bridge to a quaint island paradise. It was that welcoming sign that you were only minutes away from your destination. That is unless you arrived at the top of the hour when the swing bring, like clockwork, would turn on its pontoons to allow waiting boaters to pass.
As Brunswick County North Carolina continued to grow so did Sunset Beach, and with this growth became the unfortunate reality that it was time for a change. The decision was made to replace the swing bridge with a two lane, 65 foot high arch bridge. Most locals were not for this decision but it was necessary- then came the question of what will become of this timeless landmark to the area. The bridge was actually scheduled for demolition that is until three Sunset Beach women stepped in and formed the Old Bridge Preservation Society.
Founders Karen Dombowski, Chris Wilson, and Ann Bokelman diligently worked to save the bridge, and they did! They managed to get 6,000 letters from residents, homeowners and guests to the island. Clarice and Ronnie Holden, owners of Twin Lakes Seafood and Island Breeze, came to the rescue and generously donated the land where the bridge has been moved, which is ironically only a few hundred feet away from where it sat on the Intracoastal Waterway for over 50 years. It also rests under the shadow of the new arch bridge where you can stop by and tour what was once the only means, other than by boat, on or off the island. To visit the Old Bridge you can stop by 109 Shoreline Drive West in Sunset Beach or go the OBPS website at http://www.oldbridgepreservationsociety.org for more information.
A lot of people miss traveling over the old bridge, myself included, but there is no doubt that the new bridge was a necessity and much easier for everyone. Not only does it make travel much quicker to and from the island, but the boats no longer have to wait for their "once an hour window” to pass through. One of the many silver linings to the new addition is now; like the arch bridge between the mainland and Ocean Isle Beach, when at the top you can see for miles and it’s absolutely majestic!
So as the saying goes "when one door closes, another one opens” only this door was the last of its kind but thanks to the Old Bridge Preservation Society you can still visit and reminisce with a piece of history and culture of Sunset Beach.