Summer 2007
Venture Kayaking Trip

August 5-11, 2007
Part I - Sunday and Monday

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My venture crew always goes on some sort of extended trip over the summer. This year we decided to check out the well-reviewed Pamlico Sea Base, specifically their sea kayaking program. I thought it was a fairly good time, but you can decide for yourself.

Oh, and I'd like to thank all of our adult advisors for giving me copies of their pictures to pick through. Three viewpoints make for a better overall story, in my opinion.

Jump to a Section:
Part I - Sunday-Monday
Part II - Tuesday-Saturday

In Transit
We all met up on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon for the 4+ hour trip to eastern North Carolina. Here, the lot of us (in our snazzy, official tie-dyed shirts) gather in the parking lot of the local YMCA. Why the unusual hand motion on my part? Frisbee, of course.
On the way, we stopped for lunch at Bill Evans' Barbecue. The place was quite impressive. They had an eat-in buffet place, and a take-out place, and a catering place, and a conference center. It was really large. Seriously.
And look, they even had this gigantic flayed out cooked pig. It was tasty, as all of the food there was.
And they even had this confusing instruction by the soups.
Hey, it's the Pamlico Sea Base. More specifically, it's the spiffy logo of the place. Anyway, the Sea Base is located at the local council's Boy Scout reservation, which had closed for the season the week before. There wasn't anybody else signed up for trips in our week, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
After dropping off our stuff, we headed down to the Pamlico River to do the sea kayaking expedition version of swim checks: kayaking instruction and wet exits. But first, we had to get our assigned spray skirts.
Hey look, the identical boats!
And now, in a sign of things to come, we had a time getting somebody's paddle unstuck. You see, sand grit gets caught up in between the two sections of paddle, and if you can't get it apart the sand will harden and they'll never come apart. So at the end of the day, washing out your paddle is important, and sometimes it takes a couple of people to get the job done.
First Night
Hey everybody, it's time for a group picture!
And after some technical difficulties, we were on our way.
That's right, gather around me, since apparently the crew leader is always the center of attention.
And what kind of group picture would it be without a crazy shot?
All of that physical exertion really wore us out. Time to sit in the conveniently plentiful chairs.
OK, that was nice. It's Frisbee time!
Just watch out for those chicks and tiggers, as our advisors were apt to warn us.
Later that evening, it was time to do the obligatory gear shakedown event. So we all gathered our stuff in the pirate-themed dining hall of the camp.
Here, our illustrious guide Reggie (who also happened to be the camp director) told us what we needed and what was totally unnecessary.
Take a gander at the relatively new drybags for us to use.
Ooh, it's my stuff. I was fairly pleased with the minimal quantity of stuff that I brought.
Hey, everybody, let's pull out the cartography. Just let me grab my handy waterproof fieldbook.
Reggie discussed our route with his new maps. I have older (mid-90s) copies, and you can look at them as well if you have a SID image viewer. You can try to follow along with us.

Plug-in for Windows
Early (southwest) Map
Later (northeast) Map
And so, as the sun set over the Pamlico River, we went to bed, the mosquitos came out, and everything was peaceful.
So the next morning we scratched our bug bites, had truly delicious Eggo waffles, and loaded up the van in anticipation of our departure.
The van was apparently really comfortable, as Reed and I were the only ones not to fall asleep. I don't know, maybe 5.5 hours of sleep isn't enough for most people.
Hey, we even got/had to take a ferry to get there. I mean, I enjoyed it.
But in practically no time, we'd arrived at the National Park Service's visitor's center for Cape Lookout, home to this tiny beach and a parking lot to leave the van in. That's really all you need to set off on a kayaking journey, it turns out.
We put the above bags in the holds, and had a bite of lunch as the boats looked generally stately.
A few more last miute preparations, and we should be good to go.
Hey, we're out in the water. We pretty much just paddled into the wind for a good hour or two until we got to this series of submerged marshy islands.
It seemed like as good of a time as any to take a break.
Cape Lookout
But after a few minutes of rest, we set off into the wind towards Shackleford Island (are you still following with the map?) before turning East and making a beeline towards the Cape Lookout lighthouse.
What a surprise, somebody's paddle was stuck. Out of the 400 and some pictures that were taken over the course of this trip, at least 5 or 10 of them must like this one, which I promise will be the last one you'll see.
Hey, check out our campsite! It looks fairly nice, and is just far enough away from the NPS boat dock to be legal.
There was even a bit of time to visit the lighthouse and beach... the locals...
...and have dinner (completely unrelated to the above picture) before heading away from the bugs and out to the dock for a lovely evening chat.
Take a gander at that lovely lighthouse. Very few people make the journey down this far to see the 5th major lighthouse of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I mean, hey, it's taken me several years to complete my tour, and I still haven't technically visited all of them by my definition, since that would require hopping the fence to touch the Ocracroke Island lighthouse. But I've at least seen all of them, that's the point.
And then Reggie gave us instruction on how to clean out our cookware using only the ocean. It was vaguely sanitary, and gave your next dinner a distinct seasoning. Mmm, brine.
And so, as darkness fell and the lighthouse did its thing, we went to bed in our first night out on the sand.

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