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2 Questions Asked about Kayaking in Wilmington

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Over this past summer I have noticed a trend; there are two questions that I can almost guarantee I will be asked. Are there sharks? Are there alligators? Yes for both questions, yet the chances of seeing them are slim to none. I wanted to use this week’s blog to shed some light on both of these phobias. As for alligators, they are opportunistic eaters. Meaning they feed on whatever is readily available. No alligator will go out of its way for a meal, especially if it’s a big kayak heading there way. The odds of someone being seriously injured by an unprovoked alligator are roughly one in 2.4 million.

Sharks on the other hand have gotten a bad rap as bloodthirsty man-eaters. At the end of the day there is nothing to fear but fear itself. While shark encounters do occur, they are extremely rare, despite the extreme media coverage of small incidents. In actuality, most sharks are not trying to hurt people, they are curious and mistake people for fish. To this point there have been no recorded incidents including people, sharks, and kayaks together.

In reality we encounter situations daily which have a much higher risk rate than any threat posed by sharks or alligators. Transportation is the most dangerous part of any adventure. It is much more likely to be killed in a car wreck or by an illness than by a shark or alligator attack. The truth is these animals exist for a reason, helping to keep our food chain in order. There is no reason to fear these animals, only respect them. Below are some links to check out additional information about alligators and sharks.

Sharks

 

Alligators

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!

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!

Amazing! Wildlife Viewing Weekend.

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of guiding a few good friends on a three day weekend wildlife viewing adventure.  We spent the time camping, hiking, enjoying each other’s company and experiencing some fantastic wildlife viewing.  I have to admit that for me a weekend like this is usually about enjoying the friendship and fellowship of great friends.  However, this weekend was so much better because of the wildlife viewing experience that was to unfold before us.

To be honest, I have spent a great deal of time camping, backpacking/hiking, kayaking and more in the wilderness.  So viewing wildlife in their natural surroundings is nothing new to me or the guys I was hanging with this weekend.  I have had the privilege of viewing hundreds of elk grazing in high mountain meadows in the New Mexico Rockies; watching alligators and wild boars rest next to each other in the swamps of Florida; bobcats chasing rabbits through the pine thicket of central Georgia and so much more.  But this weekend was different.  I had heard that at Pocosin Lake National Wildlife Refuge was simply amazing for waterfowl viewing.  However none of the stories of thousands of snow geese and tundra swans on the lake prepared me for what we experienced that weekend.

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This weekend we were camping at Goose Creek State Park, so getting up on Saturday morning was challenging, especially with the frosty 25 degree temperatures that morning.   We were up at 5:30 am and out the front gate of the park by 6:00 to make the 45 minute drive to the refuge.  We got to the refuge just as the sun was rising to unfold a spectacular sight of duck, snow geese and tundra swans all over the impoundments around Pungo Lake.  No matter where you looked, there was waterfowl by the hundreds.  As the sun was rising in the east, you could see the waterfowl taking off in one location and then landing in others.  There were birds sitting in the water, birds standing on the ice covered ponds, birds flying left and right, and birds circling overhead.  Wow, it was amazing seeing hundreds of birds all within the first few minutes after dawn.

This was so cool!  No matter what wildlife blind or water impoundment we stopped at, there was waterfowl everywhere.  Later this morning, we hopped back into the trunk and headed to the northern side of Pungo Lake to explore.  We stopped at the junction of two dirt roads, one of them was blocked off and parked on the side.  We had about a mile walk down this road to the two wildlife blinds on the north side of the lake.  So we headed out with our cameras and binoculars to see what we could see.  As we walked, we started seeing tracks of deer, raccoon, coyote, large bear and other animal tracks we were not familiar with.  Soon we started seeing scat from these same bear that had left the tracks on the road. And I don’t mean just once stack of scat; I mean lots of bear poo all over the place.

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Soon one of the guys in our group stops and points to something across the field that we were walking along.  Off in the distance we spot a huge momma bear with two cubs lumbering across this field about 400 yards away.  We watched these bears for about 10 minutes as they worked their way across this plowed under corn field.  This was simply amazing to watch these beautiful bears as they worked their way across this field.  About 10 minutes later, just as we started off again, we spotted another bear crossing the road behind us.  Four bear spotting within 20 minutes; wow!  Later that morning we learned that black bear in eastern North Carolina typically don’t hibernate due to the milder winters and significant and consistent food sources in the area.

We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon viewing bald eagles, coopers hawks, coots, teal ducks, and American Black Ducks.  We began to think that it could not get much better.  To be honest, I think we could have called this a day and been quite content.  But then we had heard about something that would blow our socks off.  During this time of the year, each evening you could watch thousands ff snow geese and tundra swans flying in to one specific field to feed.  This took place in a couple of the refuge’s plowed under corn fields; located on the southern end of the refuge.  After talking about it, we decide that we might as well as hang around to see what happens.  So we pulled up to spot we were told about and waited.

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The first 45 minutes were extremely slow.  There were geese and swans in the field feeding but they were all on the opposite side of this VERY LARGE field.  As it started getting dark we started hearing the snow geese fly in from the north. The next 30 minutes were not disappointing to us at all.   Even now I am still not fully able to put into words what we experienced that evening.  I think we all have read and heard stories of hundreds of thousands of bird flying so thick that you could not see the sky.  Lewis & Clark even talked about this in their journals.  This was one of those moments.  Over the next 30 minutes hundreds of thousands of snow geese flew into this field right before us.

As they flew in the field; two things astounded me the most about this event.  The first was the noise of these geese.  The sound of hundreds of thousands of birds flapping their wings at the same time and so close to each other reminded us of the sound of a jet engine starting up.  You could hear this even over the sound of all the honking of these geese.  The second thing was that these birds kept coming in!  There were birds that were flying so high up in the sky; they looked like small specks of pepper floating in the sky.  These birds circled down and down until they landed in the middle of the flock of birds on the ground, not the edges.  Once they landed, the feeding started and did not stop.  Think about it; this was one mass of snow geese, with their heads down, all feeding at once.

This was truly a once in a life time event for me.  I stood there almost speechless not knowing what to say, snapping photo after photo, wondering how to explain this event.  There was about 5 to 10 minutes that we did not have that many birds land.  I guess we figured they would hang around longer, but just at dark thirty, they all took off.  Within 10 minutes every bird in this field took off leaving this field almost emptied.  All of these 100,000+ birds took off!  Think about it, a field with this many birds all taking to wing at once!  Amazing!

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That evening sitting around the camp fire the four of us talked about what we had experienced that day.  We looked at pictures that we had taken and the videos.  It was hard to believe what we had seen.  We all agreed that this was something special and were amazed that we had not heard of this before, especially living here in eastern North Carolina like we do.  One thing we all agreed on was that we had to bring our families to witness this event in the future.

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.

What Faith Can Do

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Three years ago today, I was rocked to the core of who I am. It was not the first time this had happened, but I have to say, it hurt the worst of all. This is especially true when it is something that you had worked so very hard for and gave you all too. I was told that I was being laid off at my job as department head of a successful in-plant printing operation. The economy played a role in what happened and yes, there were some stupid decision by upper management also contributed to what happened.

The story behind all this is long and there is not enough time to tell it in this short blog. For a while I had been feeling uneasy about my job there and had gotten to the point of just going thought the motions of life and work. You know what I mean; I seemed I had lost my heart for lots of things. In hindsight, the scary thing is that I had settled for something less than what I was created for. I had gotten to the place where I could had settled for something less than the abundant life God was offering those who followed in Faith where he leads. So, in retrospect, I had to be kicked out of the boat, so to speak and had to focus on God to lead me through.

It was through spending time alone with God that I began to see a bigger plan for my life that I had been called too. I began to realize that there was more to life than the chasing after wealth, status and security. Life as and is an adventure to be lived each day.

Adventure by its definition is living in the unknown, following a crazy God given dream. You see, I was finely ready to stop EARNING a leaving and begin to embrace life defined by my Creator. Mike Ashcraft, senior pastor at Port City Community Church says it best, “That every longing is a longing for life and real life can only be found in Christ”.

I have some to understand this simple but important truth more and more each day. Embracing the life I was created for and defined by God take Faith. Faith is not something that just happened, it is like a muscle, it has to be used and built up. If you are a runner, you know you can’t run a sub 16 minute 5 K race on day number one, you have to work to achieve that goal. Faith is the same.

God has grown me in Faith each day since that day in February 2010. Because of being laid off, I am learning how to live a life that is far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It is all because of faith in the one who made me and someone who will never leave or abandon me, Christ Jesus.

Where are you at today? What are you being called to do by Faith? Don’t be like me, hard headed and stubborn, having to be kicked out of the boat. Step out and follow where God is leading you today. I will not be easy, but it will be very rewarding in more ways than you can imagine. Faith in Christ can do more than you can dream.

Mahanaim Adventures offers guided kayaking adventures in the Wilmington, Carolina Beach areas as well as the Cape Fear Region. We specialize in creating that memory of a life time for you and your family and friends. Check out our web page and find out more details about all of our adventure locations.

Thumos Project

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

I don’t exactly remember how it happened, but sometime last fall I was introduced to Mark Mosher.  Mark is a retired Marine Master Sergeant with a passion for veterans of all ages.  I don’t mean just a passion for something like most people; I mean a passion for veterans that is combined with level of commitment and energy that runs very deep and is honestly very contagious.  My first impression of Mark was that he is the type of person who knows where he is headed and there is nothing that would stand in his way of accomplishing this goal.

Mark shared with me a vision of a community based groups that will provide a transitional bridge for our warriors returning to civilian life through community based activities.  These activities could be a wide range of activities from outdoor adventures to experiential based work and learning.  All of these activities will have pull from these men and women veterans’ tradition and camaraderie with a focus on personal growth.  In short, Mark’s vision is to build programs that will help all combat veterans to return to productive civilians lives with their families and in their communities.  This project is called Thumos Project.

The day I met Mark began my journey of learning the issues that our present day combat veterans face as they make the transition from a life in the military to a life as a civilian.  I am glad of this for several reasons, but the most important for me is it gave me better understanding into the combat veterans in my family.  You see, like most of us in this country, I never served in our Armed Forces, and have no idea what it is like to transition from a combat veteran to a civilian.

So I told Mark early on that I wanted to be a part of this community that worked together to help our combat veterans transition into a healthy productive civilian. On Sunday, March 11, I got a chance to do just that.  Mahanaim Adventures had an amazing opportunity to take two groups of these veterans kayaking on Town Creek.  What a fantastic experience this was for me personally just to give these men them something seemingly as insignificant as a kayaking adventure.   (Sorry ladies, I know there are many women veterans, but there were none of you on either adventure.)   These veterans were from Cape Fear Community College’s Student Veteran Association or from the Ashley House.

All I can say is; WOW, what fun it was to hang out and go kayaking with these men.  These guys began talking about common interest and common experiences they had while serving.  They got a chance to relax and get away from the rat race of the world around us and simply spend 4 hours of simple pleasure. I know for me, that during some of the most confusing times of my life, I found that retreating from the chaos of the world around me into the wilderness has been very therapeutic for myself.   I can only imagine what chaotic things were going on in these combat veterans lives on that Sunday. But I hope that this short time out in the wilderness somehow helped them in their transitional process.

To find out more about Thumos Project and how you can help, check out their web page at www.thumosproject.org.  Also check out this video from WECT that was taken.  http://www.wect.com/story/17133090/2012/03/11/veterans-explore-the-great-outdoors


Mahanaim Adventures provides kayaking and other outdoor recreation activates in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and Kure Beachi, NC.  We provide the area’s BEST guided kayaking and other outdoor adventures. 

Stress!!!!!

Friday, February 11th, 2011

(This blog started off talking about stress and how I have learned that kayaking helped me find a release for it. But as I began writing, I realized there was more to this story and how I learned to deal with daily stress.)

I don’t know about you, but stress is something that has always been too common in my life. For a long time, I would not admit just how much it affected me. I would deny it if my friends asked me about it, saying that it was no greater than normal. Yet, if you asked my wife and kids, they knew the real truth. From time to time the stress would build to the point where I felt like I was going to actually explode. For my whole adult life, I have worked in the printing industry, working my way up in responsibility as the years passed. I learned to deal with unrealistic delivery date, customers who knew my job better than I did (just ask them and they would tell you so), unreal expectation from upper management and all kinds of employee issues. The stress of all the deadlines and expectation upon expectation in the printing industry are huge. Just deliver a graduation program with a misspelled word or a page out of order. It is always the printer’s fault, no matter what the external customer dynamics were. Then add to this, the stress of raising teenage kids at home.

Stress was all around me! Why, because I felt like I had to be in complete control of the chaos. So in one since, my stress levels are self induced. Self induced stress all because I want to be in CONTROL! So how do I deal with this stress and my control issues? I would tell my boss that I needed a mental health day and take off kayaking. What a stress release kayaking became for me. It was a way for me to get away from it all and talk to God about what was going on. I found that talking to God and kayaking was reducing my stress levels and allowing me to find some needed relaxation. Kayaking itself is amazing stress reducer. Somehow the smooth strokes used to propel myself through the water helped to create a sense of calmness and a feeling of peacefulness. It allowed me to refocus on what was important to me.

On these kayaking trips I would ask God for the strength to get me to get through these stressful times. My prayers were honest and from my heart. I was seeking Him for strength and I know that he listened to me each time. Somehow I found the strength to get through, but I was still worn out, spent at the end of each day, not having anything to give to those most important to me.

It was not until very recently that I discovered that I was praying of the wrong thing. Yes, I said praying for the wrong thing. I realized that I was asking for the strength to control and deal with these unrealistic demands. I soon realized that this is not what God actually wanted to give me and not what I really needed.

You see, I failed to understand that I really needed to allow God to be in control and for him to provide for me. This has become clear to me since I was laid off from my job 8 months ago. When this happened, I was completely stunned. I had so many questions running through my head that has to be answered. Questions like how could this happen, the university needed me; I was the “Print Guru on Campus”. No one know more about the printing processes on campus than me, how could they do this to me? How would I provide for my family, how would I make enough money to make our house payments? What would happen when I lost medical insurance? The stress that I was facing at work was now gone, but those stresses were replaced by other worries that created stress.

The morning I found out I was begin laid off, God reminded me of a verse in Proverbs. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight”, Proverbs 3:4&5. I was in turmoil and stress was all around me. What would I do now? Fortunately, I was reminded of this promise about a month later on one of my mental health kayaking trips.

I began to ask myself what would happen if I really trusted God and did not lean on my own understanding. Would He really do what he promised? Could I really trust Him? Heck I thought that I was good at control things around me. Then I thought that if I had actually been in control, I would not have been laid off. What a thought that was. As I struggled with these questions and talked to God about them, he began to show how he had been providing all along. Wow, and I thought it was my hard work and a little bit of God, giving me strength. Don’t get me wrong, I believe God wants me to work hard at what I am doing. The difference here is who was in control, God or me.

I began to trust in what God wanted to do and in him for my provision. As is began to trust, I discovered something really great. Peace. In a time where I should have been stressed even more, I found a crazy peace. This peace came when I realized that I did not have the strength to “control” what I was facing and that I had no other choice but to “Trust in the LORD with all my heart”.
What a stress release this has been for me. To realize that I don’t have to be in control, even when Diane and I were lead to start Mahanaim Adventures (and doing so using only what God provided us). It has been so cool and wonderful to watch and wait in expectation before God, to see what he is doing next. It has also been reassuring to see God keep his promise that he wants to provide if I just let him. Yes I have to admit there are still moments when I start stressing out. I am still learning just how to truly let go. But I am reminded each day that all I have to do is turn over my weak attempts of control, over to the One who made me and the world around me.

Am I there yet, by no means? Do I forget and try to take over control once again, yes. Am I still learning to let go and trust, yes. I can also say that I have begun to really enjoy the life I have been made for, now that I am learning to relinquish control; relinquishing control to the Creator of the whole world.

First Blog

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

As I sit here attempting to write this very first blog for Mahanaim Adventures, I am not quite sure where I should begin.  So many things are running through my head, so many things that I want, or at least feel that I should say.  I seem at a loss for the right words for my first blog, for those of you who know me real well, I know that is hard to believe.  So stick with me as I jump feet first into this for the very first time.
Why the adventure business, why guide people on kayaking and backpacking adventures?  As I consider this question myself this morning, I began to realize that there is an element of Faith in any adventure, no matter what the adventure may be.  So what is Faith?  Faith “is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.  It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” This was taken from Hebrews 11:1,  “The Message”.  The NIV Bible says it this way, “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  In reality, Faith is what gives us the courage to step out of our comfort zone and out onto the water to experience life as God created it to be. 
As a Christ Follower, I can’t have a relationship with my creator much less ever hope to live in a way that will honor Him without Faith.  I can’t embrace the life I have been created to live without Faith.  It is simply impossible.  In some respect Faith is an adventure.  Webster defines adventure as “an uncertain undertaking, an unusual or exciting experience”.  Stop and think for a moment about Lewis and Clark, Ernest Shackleton, or some other explorer from history.  Consider King David, or Jesus’ earthly parents Mary and Joseph.  These are people in history who have had awesome adventures and it took great personal Faith to step out and follow that adventure. 
For me, this new adventure is not so much about creating a job for me to earn a living.  It is more about continuing to learn how to live the life that God has so generously given me.  Like most of you, I want safety and security; I want to know that all will be OK and that I can provide for my family’s needs.  Yet without stepping out of the boat and onto the water, life can become mundane and even boring, void of real life.  Faith is required for my adventures.  Faith in God.  So, join me and step out of our safe harbor and adventure out into a life of Faith and adventure.

Welcome!

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Welcome to our blog! Everything is new now, but check back in the coming week for updates & pictures from recent adventures!