14 March 2015

Water, and then sand

What would a beach be without sand? Actually, if you've got sand, just add water. Instant beach.

Actually, the sand on Bogue Banks, across the sound from Morehead City, used to be a lot whiter than it is now. At least that's my memory. Because of steady erosion, the local authorities have paid to have a lot of sand pumped pumped up off the ocean floor onto shore to widen and preserve the beaches, which are an important local resource. That pumped-up material is not as white as the sand that used to be there and that had been baked and bleached by the sun for hundreds of years.

Still, the beaches are great, and they run the entire 25-mile length of the barrier island. They are open and accessible to everybody. The beach up to the high-tide mark is public property, not private. The main problem beach-goers might have is finding a place to park their cars. And yes, cars can drive on the beach, if the driver has the proper permit.

Up toward the high-tide line there are what we call "sand fences" to trap wind-blown sand and encourage the formation of dunes. Dunes stop large waves from washing across the island when there are hurricanes and other major storms. The dunes are also planted with drought-resistant grasses that stabilize them once they have formed.

If you want to sit and watch all this happening in real time, benches are provided. Or you can bring a towel or a blanket and park yourself directly on the sand itself. Just don't get covered up. And rinse yourself off by taking a dip in the ocean before you go home. The ocean water here gets up to about 80ºF in summertime — that's what, 26º or 27ºC? Don't take the plunge in March, though. I did that once when I was young and I had turned blue by the time I got back to shore.


  1. That is a great beach....
    just like I like 'em.

    But from what you write I guess it gets pretty busy at times...
    and I rather like the two benches...
    the backs are at the same angle....
    but the seats aren't!
    Suitable for sitters and slouchers, perhaps?


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