Archive for the ‘Kayaking’ Category

1st Kayak experience

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

I recently had the pleasure of taking a family of three from West Virginia on a Sharks Tooth Island adventure to hunt for prehistoric sharks teeth and fossilized shells. This trip was different than others in that I was given to opportunity to experience a family’s first time in kayaks. They were gung-ho from the get-go, ready to learn and create memories. Once on the water I immediately heard the father laughing in excitement. I recall him saying, “this is the coolest thing”.

This family was no green horn when it came to hunting for shark’s teeth. They had been coming to Carolina Beach every summer for the past 20 years. Upon landing at Shark Tooth Island we began finding teeth straightaway. That morning we had a really low tide creating opportunity for great hunting. With the tide so low we were given the chance to hit all three islands, our final stop being Keg Island. Not five minutes after landing the father found one of the largest sharks teeth I’ve seen found. The tooth was of a Great White Shark. It had a full shank around 3 inches wide and was around 2 inches long with the tip broken. We couldn’t believe our eyes. That morning might have been the most successful hunt I’ve ever had with a group. This trip proved that the teeth are out there, we just have to go find them.

Don & Diane Harty own Mahanaim Adventures.  They specialize in helping families and groups to have “Positive & Memorable” outdoor adventures.  Whether these are wildlife view adventure, camping adventure or a simple kayaking adventure.  They provide kayaking adventures on Town Creek, Cape Fear River, Fort Fisher Basin, Masonboro Island, Black River, Holly Shelter Creek and Moores Creek.  Contact them at www.mahanaimadventures.com for more information about all of their adventures.

This Blog was Written by Sam Law. I am Mahanaim Advenures new intern for the summer of 2016. I am a Park and Recreation Management Student at East Carolina, Go Pirates! I love the the ocean and outdoors more than anything. This coming summer i will be writing a blog similar to this each week to let everyone know about the awesome adventures and encounters we have. I hope to see ya’ll out paddling this summer.

Cheers!

Sea Turtles Adventure

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

I found myself at the boat ramp of the Fort Fisher Basin. It was the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. It was also going to be a full strawberry moon that evening, an anomaly which won’t happen again for over 50 years. Along with Don and I was Mahanaim’s environmental education expert, Mandy Uticone. Our customers that evening were with the Wilmington Parks and Recreation Department. After a mile paddle along the Fort Fisher sea wall we landed at Zeke’s Island. Don explained the history and use of the island in addition to its estuary purposes. As our break ended we began paddling the second leg to a beach access were we ate our sack dinners. Just over the sand dunes was a newly laid Leatherback turtle nest. The nest was found that morning, marked, and roped off for its protection. Mandy taught us all about sea turtles that frequent the North Carolina shores and how they nest. During the lesson I helped Mandy by reenacting how a turtle crawls from the ocean, lays their eggs, and buries them with their feet. As the sun began to set we returned to out boats for the final paddle back. Half way through the paddle the sun was setting to the west as the moon rose to the east, a perfect ending to a perfect evening.

Mandy teaching sea turtle class

Mandy teaching sea turtle class

Don & Diane Harty own Mahanaim Adventures.  They specialize in helping families and groups to have “Positive & Memorable” outdoor adventures.  Whether these are wildlife view adventure, camping adventure or a simple kayaking adventure.  They provide kayaking adventures on Town Creek, Cape Fear River, Fort Fisher Basin, Masonboro Island, Black River, Holly Shelter Creek and Moores Creek.  Contact them at www.mahanaimadventures.com for more information about all of their adventures.

 

Sam as the sea turtle

Sam as the sea turtle

This Blog was Written by Sam Law. I am Mahanaim Advenures new intern for the summer of 2016. I am a Park and Recreation Management Student at East Carolina, Go Pirates! I love the the ocean and outdoors more than anything. This coming summer i will be writing a blog similar to this each week to let everyone know about the awesome adventures and encounters we have. I hope to see ya’ll out paddling this summer.

Cheers!

Sunset at the Basin

Sunset at the Basin

 

Moores Creek Battlefield

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

We found ourselves in the parking lot of Patriot Hall at the Moore’s Creek Battlefield in Burgaw, North Carolina. Don and I were preparing to lead a group of folks from Brunswick Forest. That day we had the honor of guiding many repeat participants whom we had the pleasure of giving a kayak lesson to weeks prior. Our paddle that morning consisted of a four mile trek down and back up Moore’s Creek. During the trip our group paddled under the replica bridge in which the Battle of Moore’s Creek was focused around. Many Prothonotary Warblers were darting across the creek that morning. After our paddle that day we met with Jason Howell, a park ranger at the battlefield, who gave us a walking tour and lesson of the historic sight.

The story goes that in 1773 after the Boston Tea Party, the “intolerable act” is put in place turning Massachusetts into a military state. This scared other states, enough to have other states aid Massachusetts. North Carolina residents send corn and supplies in order to help but were reprimanded by the North Carolina Governor. A frigid evening on February 26, 1776, General Donald MacDonald of the Loyalists alongside of Scottish Highlanders,set camp on the south side of the bridge. Colonel James Moore and his group of militia men and patriots prepare to the North. If the Loyalists are to take Moore’s Creek they will be able to take the North Carolina coast. Before the battle the Patriots remove the bridge tresses and oil the remaining wood in order to sabotage the Loyalists attempt to cross and attack. While the Loyalists attempt to cross the bridge the Patriots planned to attack. The battle happened accordingly to Colonel James Moore’s plan, gaining victory for the Patriots. Although the battle only lasted three minutes over 30 Loyalists men were lost while only one Patriot died. The Battle of Moore’s Creek was a huge step to North Carolina’s vote for independence. Moore’s Creek Battlefield is not only a beautiful paddle, but the area is full of rich history.

Don & Diane Harty own Mahanaim Adventures.  They specialize in helping families and groups to have “Positive & Memorable” outdoor adventures.  Whether these are wildlife view adventure, camping adventure or a simple kayaking adventure.  They provide kayaking adventures on Town Creek, Cape Fear River, Fort Fisher Basin, Masonboro Island, Black River, Holly Shelter Creek and Moores Creek.  Contact them at www.mahanaimadventures.com for more information about all of their adventures.

This Blog was Written by Sam Law. I am Mahanaim Advenures new intern for the summer of 2016. I am a Park and Recreation Management Student at East Carolina, Go Pirates! I love the the ocean and outdoors more than anything. This coming summer i will be writing a blog similar to this each week to let everyone know about the awesome adventures and encounters we have. I hope to see ya’ll out paddling this summer.

Cheers!

Cape Fear River

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

We arrived at a small boat ramp outside of Navassa, North Carolina. We were headed out onto Davis Creek, which flows into the Cape Fear / Brunswick River. Don and I were preparing to guide a group of folks with the Leland Parks and Recreation Department. The area holds a lot of wildlife unique to the Wilmington coastal area. During the trip we paddled by Eagle Island. This island is located just north of waterfront Wilmington North Carolina. The island splits the Cape Fear River in two, thus creating the Brunswick River (flowing right of the island) and Cape Fear River (flowing to the left side of the island).

The Brunswick River has a unique history. At the end of World War II the Brunswick River held the U.S. Maritime Commission’s reserve fleet. The shipyard was the second largest vessel graveyard in the United States, giving it the nickname of the “ghost fleet”. The North Carolina Ship Building Company was located just across Eagle Island, making the river a perfect location to store the fleet. There were a total of 648 ships in the fleet. The last ship was removed from the river in 1970.

Just north of where the ghost fleet ships were moored, we entered Sturgeon Creek. Just after entering the creek we saw a juvenile alligator sunning on a log. After a quick glimpse he was startled and swam away. After paddling another mile into the creek we landed at our final destination at Sturgeon Creek Park in Leland, North Carolina. With great weather and great company we all had an amazing trip that day. I look forward to my next trip out to Eagle Island.

Don & Diane Harty own Mahanaim Adventures.  They specialize in helping families and groups to have “Positive & Memorable” outdoor adventures.  Whether these are wildlife view adventure, camping adventure or a simple kayaking adventure.  They provide kayaking adventures on Town Creek, Cape Fear River, Fort Fisher Basin, Masonboro Island, Black River, Holly Shelter Creek and Moores Creek.  Contact them at www.mahanaimadventures.com for more information about all of their adventures. (wilderness survival info)

This Blog was Written by Sam Law. I am Mahanaim Advenures new intern for the summer of 2016. I am a Park and Recreation Management Student at East Carolina, Go Pirates! I love the the ocean and outdoors more than anything. This coming summer i will be writing a blog similar to this each week to let everyone know about the awesome adventures and encounters we have. I hope to see ya’ll out paddling this summer.

Cheers!

Basic Kayak Safety

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Before going out on the water, the proper preparation is necessary to have a safe and positive experience. If you have never been, it is a good idea to seek instruction from a qualified guide service or instructor. Also, if you are new to an area it is important to do your homework and research the location you are going.

Having a plan is paramount to a safe successful adventure. Leaving an float plan for a friend or family member is a tool that should be utilized every time you go off the grid. An action plan consists of:

  • Where you are going
  • Who you are going with/ how many people
  • When on the water (time period)
  • When you get of the water

It is highly important to remember water, snacks, and sunblock, no matter how long the trip. Remember, Gilligan and the Skipper only planned for “a three hour tour”.

Keeping the right equipment and safety devices on hand is necessary when on the water. Before going out you should always check your gear to make sure it is in proper working order. Some basic safety necessities include:

  • PFD
  • Paddle Leash
  • Reflective mirror
  • Whistle/horn
  • Compass-map and/or GPS
  • Paddle Float
  • Bilge Pump
  • First Aid Kit
  • Water
  • Flash-light
  • Dry bag to carry it all in
  • Dry change of clothes (wicking & warming)

Weather also has a large influence on outdoor activities, specifically water based. It is important to check the weather extensively before and during your trip as conditions can change rapidly. This includes storms, winds, currents and tides.

When kayaking the possibility of falling out exists. No matter if you are the best kayaker in the world, at some point in time falling in the drink is inevitable. By following two simple rules, you can keep your chance at survival at 99.9%. Make sure that you are ALWAYS WEARING your PFD (personal floatation device) when on the water. It needs to be on your body not just in your possession. Secondly, stay with your vessel whether it is capsized or upright. All kayaks, canoes, and small craft come from the manufacturer with floatation build within. Staying with your boat gives you something to hold onto in addition to making you more noticeable.

Finally, paddling in a group can be one of the best ways to stay safe while having fun adventures with friends. If a few simple precautions are taken, you can make a safe and positive experience.

For a quick video lesson on kayak safety check out the following YouTube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otakobRXynM

Don & Diane Harty own Mahanaim Adventures.  They specialize in helping families and groups to have “Positive & Memorable” outdoor adventures.  Whether these are wildlife view adventure, camping adventure or a simple kayaking adventure.  They provide kayaking adventures on Town Creek, Cape Fear River, Fort Fisher Basin, Masonboro Island, Black River, Holly Shelter Creek and Moores Creek.  Contact them at www.mahanaimadventures.com for more information about all of their adventures. (wilderness survival info)

This Blog was Written by Sam Law. I am Mahanaim Advenures new intern for the summer of 2016. I am a Park and Recreation Management Student at East Carolina, Go Pirates! I love the the ocean and outdoors more than anything. This coming summer i will be writing a blog similar to this each week to let everyone know about the awesome adventures and encounters we have. I hope to see ya’ll out paddling this summer.

Cheers!

Shark Tooth Hunting

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

As Tropical Storm Bonnie moved through South Carolina, we in Wilmington were left with some gorgeous sunny weather Memorial Day weekend. The sun was high in the sky as the participants arrived. That morning’s trip was on the Cape Fear River/Sharks Tooth Island to hunt for sharks teeth. Our group that day was two amazing families, both with young children. From the moment the youngsters arrived there spirits and energy level were through the roof.

After a brief safety orientation, off we went. As we paddle to our stop, our group passes by a tower in the channel just off the boat ramp where a Osprey nest is located.  The mom, dad, and their chicks live there in this huge nest. The mom stands on high alert as she intently watches us paddle by the tower. Upon arrival to our first stop, Sharks Tooth Island, the group gathered as I showed them how to look for prehistoric shark’s teeth and fossils. Quickly we began to find sharks teeth that were keepers; best of all, they were from different prehistoric sharks. While we were walking the island looking for shark’s teeth, a smooth looking rock caught my eye. After further investigation we come to find it is a 2 inch long 1 inch wide prehistoric Great White Shark’s tooth. The biggest sharks tooth I have ever found. While out on the beach we also found fossilized gastropod casts of shells that were preserved remarkably well. In all this was a great day for fossil hunting on the beaches of Sharks Tooth Island.

After a short paddle we landed at Keg Island. Here we observed White Ibis searching the mud flats for lunch. Many fiddler and marsh crabs covered these beaches. As we walked the beach of this beautiful island, the crabs dispersed as if they were making a pathway just for us. This island may not have held many sharks teeth, yet what it lacked it teeth, made up in wildlife. As the children began to crash from a full day of beach hunting the group set course for home. What a wonderful opportunity to find the treasures we did while creating amazing memories to last forever. In all it was a great day, with a great group of people.

The next day Don and I had the honor of guiding UNCW Professor Roger Shew and an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNCW (Olli) group. That day Professor Shew taught us about the different casts and fossils of prehistoric sea creatures and sharks teeth. We learned that the sand dug up from the Cape Fear River is 35-40 million years old. Meaning all the fossils found were that old as well. That day the Olli group members found some really cool fossils and we learned some amazing information about the area.

Don & Diane Harty own Mahanaim Adventures.  They specialize in helping families and groups to have “Positive & Memorable” outdoor adventures.  Whether these are wildlife view adventure, camping adventure or a simple kayaking adventure.  They provide kayaking adventures on Town Creek, Cape Fear River, Fort Fisher Basin, Masonboro Island, Black River, Holly Shelter Creek and Moores Creek.  Contact them at www.mahanaimadventures.com for more information about all of their adventures. (wilderness survival info)

 

This Blog was Written by Sam Law. I am Mahanaim Advenures new intern for the summer of 2016. I am a Park and Recreation Management Student at East Carolina, Go Pirates! I love the the ocean and outdoors more than anything. This coming summer i will be writing a blog similar to this each week to let everyone know about the awesome adventures and encounters we have. I hope to see ya’ll out paddling this summer.

Cheers!

My First Adventure through the Three Sisters

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

We found ourselves on a river bank of the Black River, kayak paddles dipped in the water, and Don our leader finishing up a safety discussion. We were preparing for a twelve mile journey down the Black River and through the Three Sisters Swamp. As the sun began to rise, our group of nine pushed off. The weather couldn’t have been any more perfect that day. It was slightly overcast with a solid breeze and no humidity, the perfect day for recreational kayaking. Our group of 9 consisted of old friends who were no strangers to kayaking. It was an amazing opportunity to learn from other kayakers while swapping paddle stories. Seconds after hitting the water, the Eastern North Carolina wildlife began to come alive.  ProthonotaryWarbler’s were flying back and forth over the river, while the hooting of Barred Owls echoed in the distance. Further down river we spotted Nutria swimming across in front of our group. The combination of wildlife and perfect Eastern North Carolina weather created a perfect concoction to explore God’s creation and what He has given us. Along the river bank stood Cypress trees in which Pileated Woodpeckers have dug burrows. Each year these birds create a new burrow in a new tree, residing in each for only one season. During the trip one guest reminded us why it is always important to keep close attention to what you are doing. One gentleman in particular found himself upside-down in the water while not paying attention to where he was going. Thanks to his calm reserve and professional attitude we were able to perform a flawless rescue, returning the gentleman to his boat. Roughly 6 miles into our trip we entered the Three Sisters Swamp, a freshwater Cypress forest. This swamp contains trees dating over 2000 years old. Being in the swamp with such ancient beings is truly a breath taking experience. As we exited the swamp the Barred Owl whose hoot had echoed through the forest made his first appearance flying across in front of us. A perfect farewell gift for a perfect kayak trip.

Don & Diane Harty own Mahanaim Adventures.  They specialize in helping families and groups to have “Positive & Memorable” outdoor adventures.  Whether these are wildlife view adventure, camping adventure or a simple kayaking adventure.  They provide kayaking adventures on Town Creek, Cape Fear River, Fort Fisher Basin, Masonboro Island, Black River, Holly Shelter Creek and Moores Creek.  Contact them at www.mahanaimadventures.com for more information about all of their adventures.

This Blog was Written by Sam Law. I am Mahanaim Advenures new intern for the summer of 2016. I am a Park and Recreation Management Student at East Carolina, Go Pirates! I love the the ocean and outdoors more than anything. This coming summer i will be writing a blog similar to this each week to let everyone know about the awesome adventures and encounters we have. I hope to see ya’ll out paddling this summer.

Cheers!

Last Night

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Last night I had the privilege of leading a sunset kayaking adventure for a Mom and her three kids.  When the Mom scheduled this adventure, she told me that her family had been through some really rough stuff.  The Mom was looking for something for them to do together for fun and to be a family creating a good family memory.    After we got off the water last night as we were walking back to the cars, Mom told me thank you for all we had done for her and her kids that they would be talking about this adventure for a long time.

 

This reminded me of one of the reasons why Diane and I started this business and for some of the success we are having.  You see, when our family was young, we spent lots of time out camping, hiking, horseback riding, canoeing and many other outdoor activities.  The vast majority of the times all went well, some not so well.  Those of you who spend lots of time in the outdoors with kids know what I mean.  However about 7 years ago when my son-in-law started dating Hillary, he made the mistake of going camping with us one weekend.  Our kids spent the whole weekend sharing with him all the fun family memories we had doing all of these things together.  Listing to our kids laugh and carry on with each other remember this time together was a precious gift to Diane and I.

 

Last night I was reminded of this simple fact; that we got a chance to help this family create a special memory that they will cherish now and in the years to some.  I guess that I am sharing this with you because we each have chances each day to make a difference in other people lives.  I guess it comes down to perspective and remember that life is not all about me, but how I can be used by Christ to be a blessing to someone that I meet.

Early Morning Kayaking

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

The other evening, my son, Joseph suggested that we head out the next morning for some kayaking. Those who know me know that I am always up for a good adventure, even in colder months. However, at this time, those of us who live in Wilmington are experience some fabulous weather, especially for being the middle of January. So the next morning we loaded up our kayaks and headed out for a early morning “Father & Son” adventure on the Cape Fear River. We got to River Road Park just about 7:45 AM and set everything down at the river’s edge and began soaking up the Majesty of God’s Creation! The morning was cool, but it was a bright and sunny morning that gives you a promise of a warmer day ahead.

Joseph on the Cape Fear River

Joseph on the Cape Fear River

Once we got to the park and set the kayaks down at the water’s edge, we quickly noticed the stillness of the water. This was one of these rare mornings here in the Cape Fear area that we did not have any wind blowing. When this happens, the water in the Cape Fear River is very calm and smooth as glass. The reflections on the water a breath taking as you paddle are breath taking. A couple of other benefits of having this kind of stillness is paddling is easier and one hears sounds that you would not normally hear.

This morning we decided to head north on the river to take advantage of the incoming tide. As we paddles out we quickly notices how much warmer it was on the water. With no clouds or wind this morning, we were able to feel the warmth of the sun’s reflection of the water. This made it quite nice and comfortable for us on this cool morning. Truly this is a rear morning here in Wilmington.

The stillness of the wind and water allow you to notice wildlife off in the distance quickly. We had not paddled for then 5 minutes when I noticed a pie-billed grebe diving along the marsh grasses at the edge of the water. The grebe kept diving for his breakfast meal, but kept a close eye on Joseph and I. As we paddled closer he would dive down and come up 20 or so yards further away from us. It was kind of cool watching this little bird.

Pie-Billed Grebe

Pie-Billed Grebe

Later on as we paddled our way back to the boat ramp, we spotted a pod of dolphin about a hundred years off. This was so very cool seeing these beautiful animals. They did not let us get close, but we were able to sit still and observer them from that distance. The wind and the water remained just like it was when we started so it was easy to view them. As we sat there we counted 7 in the pod that included 2 calf’s that stayed close to their mothers. Maybe this was why they stayed away from us. Anyway we sat there floating on the water for 15 minutes watching them play in the water and chase there breakfast meal.

Both Joseph and I reflected on our morning spent paddling on the Cape Fear River. It was so cool to watch the wildlife together. It was simply amazing to take advantage of this beautiful morning and to enjoy it together. It was also a great experience just to get out and paddle together as, father & son. We both agreed that we have to take advantage of the next time we have such nice conditions.

Osprey nest on tower

Osprey nest on tower

Don & Diane Harty own Mahanaim Adventures and provide “Positive and Memorable” kayaking and other outdoor adventure in the Wilmington NC area. Some of the kayaking adventure locations are: Fort Fisher Basin; Cape Fear River, Sharks Tooth Island, Masonboro Island, Eagle Island, Town Creek, Holly Shelter Creek, Moores Creek and the Black River. Long onto www.mahanaimadventures.com to read more about these adventures and to schedule your adventures. Or call 910-547-8252 for more information.

Alligators!

Monday, December 8th, 2014

I am amazed at how fearful most people are of alligators that are found here in the Wilmington NC area. This is one of the most common questions I get when I am leading a kayaking adventure.  Yes, we should have a healthy respect and view these wonderful creatures from a safe distance.  However it amazed how the fear keeps some people from exploring the majesty of God’s Creation just because they may encounter one of these animals.  As a boy growing up in gator country of central Florida, you learned to understand the amazing creatures.  So, like any good Boy Scout here are some facts about alligators that my help you know more about this magnificent creature, and be prepared on what to expect when you see one.

This alligator was seen at the southern tip of Keg Island in the Cape Fear River.

This alligator was seen at the southern tip of Keg Island in the Cape Fear River.

  • The American Alligator is the most prevalent of the three species of crocodilians found in the US.  The Gator’s range from North Carolina down to Florida and then around the Gulf Coast to Texas.
  •  There are very few American Crocodile and Caiman that can be found in the extreme southern part of Florida mainly in the southern portions of the Everglades.
  • Gators live in freshwater wetlands and coastal brackish waters.  Their diets mainly consist of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.  They are more known for their savaging for food than hunting and attacking larger prey.
  • Mating season beings in May as the spring warms up and the females will lay their eggs in June, with the eggs hatching in last July.
  • Between 1948 – 2004 there were only 391 injuries and 18 deaths caused by alligators  in the US.
  • Alligators are active both day and night, but mainly feed at night and resting during the day light hours digesting their meal from the night before.
  •  Don’t let your pets swim in known waters where alligators live.  The alligators will see the smaller pets at natural prey.

Dispose of fish scraps in garbage cans and throwing fish remains in the water can attract alligators.  Also, do not feed alligators.