Posts Tagged ‘Wilmington NC’

Safety and Awareness

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of helping Don guide a group of people to Sharks Tooth Island on the Cape Fear River where we hunted for prehistoric sharks teeth and fossils. Around mid-morning everyone had found their fair share of sharks teeth and fossilized shells on the island and were ready to get back on the water to do some more paddling. It was at this time that Don and I had noticed a fairly large container ship easing its way up the river towards the port, so we decided to stay on the island and let the ship pass by before returning to our kayaks and continuing the adventure. We chose to stay on the island because these container ships are known for having big wakes, especially while traveling in a river such as the Cape Fear. The areas where this is most prominently noticed are in shallow water. Because just like any wave, the wake from these ships doesn’t start to break until it finds shallow water. This is especially important to know while paddling because when the wake from those ships hit shallow water and start to break, it can provide an authentic whitewater experience here on the coast. And if you find yourself paddling through shallow water when this happens, you will most likely get flipped out of your boat.

So as the ship passed by, we gathered our group on the side of Sharks Tooth Island that faces Kegg Island, watching the wake from the container ship crash into the shallow water around the island.  After we had watched the wake stop crashing in the shallow water between the islands we then headed back to our kayaks to continue our adventure. It was at this time, we noticed a fisherman who was fishing on the opposite side of Sharks Tooth Island in a small john boat had been capsized by the wake.  From the position we were at, we noticed the man didn’t have a PFD in sight, his boat was completely swamped, and he was having trouble swimming. So, Don and I immediately began our rescue procedures by jumping in our boats and getting to the man as quickly as possible to save him from drowning. Once we were able to get the man safely to shore, we then recovered his gear that was floating away and fortunately we had additional help to recover his boat and paddle as well.

This situation goes to show that if you are out paddling, or on any outdoor adventure, without a trained professional, that being aware of your surroundings can help you better manage for any possible risks and it could possibly save your life. It is also a great example of why you should always wear a life jacket while paddling on the water. Because if you paddle enough, it’s not a matter of “if” but a matter of when you are going to fall out of your boat and go for a swim.

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 CreekCape Fear River, Fort Fisher BasinMasonboro IslandBlack RiverHolly Shelter Creek and Moores Creek.  Contact them at www.mahanaimadventures.com for more information about all of their adventures.

This blog was written by Mike Manning. I am Mahanaim Adventures new intern for the summer of 2018. I am a Park and Recreation Management student at East Carolina University, Go Pirates! I love the outdoors and have a strong passion for kayaking. This coming summer I will be writing a blog similar to this every other week to let everyone know about the awesome adventures we will have on the water this summer.

Cypress Trees & Lily’s

Monday, June 4th, 2018

Over the past couple weeks; I have had the opportunity to go on a couple trips with Don to the Black River located in Bladen County, NC. This river offers plenty of beautiful wildlife including wild turkey, deer, several types of ducks, and wildflowers. The Black River is also home to the Three Sisters Swamp where you can find some of the oldest recorded cypress trees in the country. Although these trees are not marked, for their own protection, with an experienced guide such as Don, you will be able to see some amazing old growth cypress trees in this swamp that have been dated to being over 2,000 years old. Paddling through this swamp truly is a majestic experience. Being able to get up close and personal with these ancient cypress trees gave me a deeper connection to this swamp. In ways this swamp inspired me by showing me no matter how hard these trees have been hit and beaten by countless hurricanes, high winds, floods, and other natural disasters, they still stand tall and strong after all those years.

One of the most memorable parts of both these trips included seeing the beautiful spider lilies bloom. This is a special phenomenon here in eastern North Carolina because these plants only bloom for about two weeks out of the year. But what a spectacular experience it is to be able to see these plants bloom during their short flowering period. It’s trips like these which make me realize how lucky we are to be able to experience gods creation and enjoy the natural beauty of many diverse eco systems from a kayak.

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 CreekCape Fear River, Fort Fisher BasinMasonboro IslandBlack RiverHolly Shelter Creek and Moores Creek.  Contact them at www.mahanaimadventures.com for more information about all of their adventures.

This blog was written by Mike Manning. I am Mahanaim Adventures new intern for the summer of 2018. I am a Park and Recreation Management student at East Carolina University, Go Pirates! I love the outdoors and have a strong passion for kayaking. This coming summer I will be writing a blog similar to this every other week to let everyone know about the awesome adventures we will have on the water this summer.

What do you want for Vacation

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

Recently I was sitting in a meeting where tourism was the main topic.  In that meeting, I learned that vacationers are looking for three main things when choosing where to go and what to do on their vacations.   It seems that they are looking for something “new and unique” to them and to have an “authentic” experience.   They want all of this while having fun and spending quality time together with family and friends.  I found this news interesting, though this may not be new after all.  This is something that my Bride and I wanted to do with our kids when they were young.  We chose locations that were new to us; places that had an element that we did not get a chance to do every day, all the while, we want to spend quality time together.   Glad to see something never really go out of fashion.

So for those of you who are looking for something new to do with your family, something that everyone can do and have fun together while creating memories?   Let me suggest a guided kayaking adventure for your family!  Mahanaim Adventures offers quality; family-oriented kayaking adventures here in the Cape Fear / Wilmington, NC area.  We have some wonderful beaches to visit, and I encourage you to do that.  But, don’t be afraid to take a short drive away from the beach to explore some of eastern North Carolina’s rivers and swamps.  You can see locations such as Town Creek, the Black River , Three Sisters Swamp (yes, this is the place where you can see 2000 year old bald cypress tress), or maybe even Holly Shelter Creek.  Or maybe you want to add a little American Revolutionary War History to your kayaking adventure and paddle on Moores Creek?  Moores Creek National Battlefield was where the first battle of the American Revolutionary War was fought.  It is a great place to visit, and only about a 40 minute drive from downtown Wilmington.

So, if you are looking for a unique adventure, contact Mahanaim Adventures and let us help you find one of our adventures that best suits your family’s adventure needs!

Don and Diane Harty are the owners of Mahanaim Adventures, the Cape Fear and Wilmington, NC areas premier outdoor adventure guide and kayaking business. Don and Joseph, son of Don and Diane, strive for each person on our adventures to have a “Positive & Memorable” experience. We offer quality half-day, full-day and overnight kayaking adventures. We also provide team building adventures and courses, as well as wilderness first aid classes to Boy Scouts and other groups.

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

 

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.

 

 

Before the Adventure Begins

Monday, April 14th, 2014

For those of you who grew up in Boy Scouts, you will know that the “Scout Motto” is to “Be Prepared“.  This was drilled into me during my days as a scout and I can say, most great scout troops still place a great deal of emphasis on this.  To be honest, one of the biggest things that gets to me is watching the vast majority of people take off with their kayaks are woefully unprepared for what they are fixing to do.

This was brought home to me this past weekend when I saw a young couple jump out of their vehicles, toss their kayaks in the water and jump in and go!  No PFD, no sunscreen, no WATER, no clue to the weather coming or going, much less of the river currents that will affect their paddle.  When I pointed out the oyster beds they were fixing to walk into, they could care less (yes, they had no shoes of any kind on).  I could only imagine that they had a less than pleasant time on the water.

It is because of this lack of proper preparedness that I write the next blog.  I hope over the next several weeks to add additional blogs that will help you be “Prepared” when you head out on your next adventure.

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Here are some very basic things that need to be considered before you take your next kayaking adventure.

  • Always try to plan for the unexpected “what ifs?” What if I get delayed? Lost? Injured? Am I prepared to cope with that?
  • Always have a map and compass with you.  This means that you know how to orientate the map and use the compass, so make sure you learn basic map reading and compass navigation skills before you head out on the water.
  • Pick a trip, even a short day paddle and study your intended route on a map at home. Doing this when you’re not stressed allows you time to become more familiar and comfortable with the unique markings of a topographic map and where you will be going.
  • Additional essential items that can save your life when out kayaking:
    • Plenty of water to drink
    • Hat
    • Sunscreen/bug spray
    • Flash light
    • Cell phone
    • Matches for a fire
    • Extra clothing
    • Rain gear
    • Snacks
    • Knife
    • Dry bag for all your essentials to be placed
  • Float Plan.  It is critical that you let someone know where you’re going, what route you plan to take and your estimated return time. If you get lost, the sooner a rescue operation begins the better for your searchers and you.  If you change your plans before you start a trip, call and update someone, even if you simply leave a voice mail.  This also implies that once on the river that you stick with your plan and not deviate.
  • Oh, I am assuming that you will have your PFD with you before you get into the water.

Mahanaim Adventures provide wonderful adventure in the Wilmington and Carolina Beach areas of North Carolina.  We can also customize a guided kayaking adventure to Florida as well as any other location in the Southeast US.  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.

Team Building and Fear of the Unknown.

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Team 3

Over this past year Mahanaim Adventures, had the opportunity to take several different groups on either a kayak or on a high ropes team building event.  (The high ropes course is called COPE and the elements are the challenges on each COPE course)  Our events are designed to challenge each person and group to learn new skilled needed in successful team work.  As a COPE Course facilitator, one of the cool things I get to witness is how these folks with different prospective and backgrounds learn to come together as a team and solving some difficult challenges/elements.  To see learning taking place while having fun is really cool.

Our team building adventures, especially those that involve a COPE Course, challenges each person to learn new things but also to deal with known truth and overcome their fears.   This is especially true when each group walk the COPE Course and see the elements of the course for the very first time.  I have to admit myself that the first time saw the elements on my first course I was a bit scared.

I remember that these elements looked like fun, but I began to think what had I gotten myself and those who worked for me into.  You see, I had planned a team building adventure for those who reported to me when I working at UNCW.  At that time, our department had some radical changes forced on us and I really needed to challenge them to come together.  I knew at the time it was going to be hard work to deal with these forced changes and I know we had to do this as a team and no one person could do this themselves.   So I signed myself and my staff up for a COPE Course offered by the university.

When we got there that morning, I had not realized that it would be so challenging and I would have to deal with my fear of heights.  That morning I was forced to deal and act on what I knew to be true and to place my fear aside to help my team accomplish our goals.  In other words, I had to put my faith in what I had learned and knew was truth into action.  I was reminded that Faith is not faith at all, if that faith is not put into action.  This is the same no matter who you are.  You see, I had to act on what I knew to be TRUE and not let my feelings seize the moment.  Once I did that, I not only was I able to help lead my team through some challenge events, but I also realized something else.

team 2

That something else is what I call the excitement of real life.  The fun of accomplishing something that earlier some of us had said, “Yea, right, I’m not doing that”.  This was something that we had learned together.  We learned that even though something may be hard and scary, we can act on what we know to be true and move forward.  When we learn to do this, the challenge is still the same, but we learn we can overcome by working together, using each other strengths and having fun at the same time.  We learned that stepping out in faith does not get any easier time goes by, because challenges are constantly being through at us in Life.  Yet, those lessons learned on the high ropes course that morning helps each of us keep focusing on what is True and Right.

Where are you being challenged at today?  What Truth do you need to focus on so that you can take a step of faith and accomplish what scary challenge lies before you?

Team 1

How to Choose A Kayaking Paddle

Friday, January 31st, 2014

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I often get asked about how I choose a paddle for kayaking or what the difference between this paddle and another paddle is.  So, I figured that we would spend some time talking about paddles in this blog.

Kayak paddles vary in styles for the different kind of water you will be paddling.  Usually, the shorter the paddle the better is for quick stroked needed in swift water and the longer the paddle, the better for touring and for longer boats.  Also a longer paddle is needed for a wider boat.  Also one thing to consider on a paddle is the weight of the paddle, especially if you paddle for long periods of time.  Always remember, the lighter the paddle the better, but the lighter the paddle, the more expensive the

When selecting a paddle, the most important thing to consider is the comfort of the paddle in your hands.  The better paddles have an oval shaft that provide better control and comfort and will help you get the correct angel.  A lot of kayakers have straight shafts paddles, but there are a few designs that are bent at the grips to ease the strain on the wrists.

The length of the paddle will be determined by several factors like; type of water you will be paddling, the width of your kayak, you size and length of the blades on your paddle and your preference.  The majority of the paddles we use with our tours are between 210 and 230 centimeters long.  The general rule of thumb for choosing a paddle is to hold the paddle over your head horizontally.  With your elbows at a 90 degree angle, you hands should be 6 to 8 inches from the blades of your paddle.

Now for the blades of your paddle; if you have not noticed the blades of the paddle come in various designs.  The larger the blade, the more power you will get out of your stroke; the smaller the blade, the less power per stroke and thereby more gentle to your arms and shoulder joints.   Most blades are spooned for increase water resistance, helping with a more powerful stroke.  Also, some blades are asymmetrical.  This design is for balance of the force on the top and bottom of the blade when paddling and for angle placement in the water.

One last thing about paddles, you have choice between a single and two piece paddles.  I would recommend a two piece paddle.  The reason or this is that you can choose the angle of your paddle with these paddles.  For beginners, it is usually better to have your blades parallel with each other; then as you become for comfortable with kayaking you can then angle the paddle for feathering of your paddle in the water.  Feathering is important for longer distance paddling, especially if you are paddling into the wind for long distances.

Join Mahanaim Adventure for one of our upcoming kayaking adventures or why not schedule a private kayaking adventure for you and your family or friends.  We even offer Team Building Kayaking Events.

Campfires and Smores?

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Last Friday evening, I had the privilege of leading a group of people from Brunswick Forest on a moon light kayaking adventure on Town Creek.  The evening was almost perfect; except for a few thin high clouds that tried to cover the moon.  It was about 30 minutes before the sun set when we stopped for dinner on the river for a picnic and camp fire.  We had been paddling for about 90 minutes and everyone was starting to get hungry.  So while everyone was starting to enjoy their picnic dinners, I got a nice warm campfire started.  In just a few minutes, the fire was blazing away, casting its glow around the area and creating a wonderful warm feeling for everyone there.

It was almost instantly happened; once the fire was started everyone sat down on the bench or on one of the picnic blankets that were around the fire; when everyone stated sharing memories about their going up and campfires.  It was so cool to sit back and watch everyone relax and enjoy the warm fire as the sun was setting to our west and share with each other.  Stories about campfires they remembered as kids; the fun of roasting marshmallows and making s’mores.  It seemed to me that all of these memories shared a common theme; family and fun.  Someone shared that in her family, they would go to the family farm this all 6 of her brothers and sisters.  As she talked about that, I could see the fun they had in her eyes and hear it in her voice.  I shared about how my grandmother took candles and show me and a friend how to roast a marshmallow, while it was storming outside the house.  For all I know the power could have been knocked out at the time, but I don’t remember that, I just remember how our little fire changed an evening into something fun.

Soon, it was time for us to pack up, put out the fire and paddle back home by the full moon light that shown in the river.  What an adventure the evening was for us all.  I am sure that the paddle back to the kayak launch was memorable for each of them.  But I am also confident that the time shared with new friends sitting around a campfire; roasting marshmallows and making s’mores will be a memory that these people hold onto.  These people not only connected with something they remembered from their childhood, when things were simpler in their lives.  But they also connected with each other, building important relationships.  I don’t know about you, but I need this myself; what about you?

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.