Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mollusk Egg Casings

One of the coolest things about leading kayak tours for Outside South Adventures is discovering new things. While leading a trip earlier this summer, I found an interesting object floating in the water, but wasn't sure what it was. It was round and looked a lot like a suction cup ball, but the texture gave it away as something marine. Just last week I found another one, which was larger and looked more like a brain. It's pictured below.

After a little internet research and a call to a good friend, I determined that the above is a Florida conch egg casing. Prior to working in Holden Beach, I spent 15 years just an hour north in Wrightsville Beach, NC, and had never seen a casing of this sort. Nor have I ever seen a Florida horse conch in that area. Apparently North Carolina is the northern most range for the Florida horse conch and for whatever reason few are seen around Wilmington, NC. It's southern range is Mexico, and it's Florida's state shell.

Three types of whelks (a similar mollusk) are found in North Carolina - lightning, channelled and knobbed, but these are distinctly different from the Florida horse conch. Whelk egg casings look like coins stuck together in a string, and are a common sight on NC beaches. One is pictured below with the Florida horse conch casing.

Every day on the water is different, and you never know what you might find or see. Come on a tour with us and see for yourself.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Surfs Up!

Outside South Adventures offers private surfing lessons for ages 6 and up and surfing camp for ages 10-14. We are located in Holden Beach, NC - about an hour south of Wilmington and an hour north of Myrtle Beach, SC. Holden Beach is known for its familiy atmosphere and gentle sloping beach which makes it a great place to learn how to surf.

Check out 10 year old Jeb riding down the line during day two his first surf lesson!

Pricing (board is included)

Private lessons are $75 for 2 hrs

Semi-private $50 per person for up to 5 participants

Surf Camp is $200 per person for 3 days of lessons from 9:00-11:30am (T-W-TH, 4 person minimum)

Eco Scavenger Hunt by Kayak

You never know what you'll see in the marshlands behind Holden Beach, but you almost always see more creatures at low tide when the water has receded from the creeks and the animals are out feeding.

This summer Beach Fun Rentals at Holden Beach started a new division called Outside South Adventures. We offer surfing and kayaking adventures, and one of our most popular trips this year has been our eco scavenger hunt from kayaks.

Common sights include fiddler crabs, blue crabs, laughing gulls, great egrets, red tailed hawk, mud snails, marsh periwinkles and shrimp jumping in the boats (no kidding!). On the less common end of the spectrum, we've also seen the following on scavenger hunts this year - dolphin, sea turtles, glossy ibis (below), osprey, great blue herons, Florida conch egg casings, stone crabs and diamond-back terrapins (a marsh turtle).

The eco scavenger hunt is great for kids of all ages, but come prepared to get out of the boats and walk around in the marsh (CLOSED-TOE SHOES REQUIRED). The hunt is done as a team game and you'll earn points for all the creatures you find and correctly identify. You'll be playing against all other teams from prior eco tours so come prepared to score big. For a list of all the past teams and their point totals go to our Outside South website. Don't worry, we educate you before you go and give you cheat sheets to take along.

If walking around in the marsh muck looking for creatures isn't your bag, but you'd still like to get out on the water and try kayaking, go on our Marshland Tour. We run the Marshland Tour at high tide which allows for deeper exploration of the backside creeks - and cleaner feet at the end of the trip. Come check us out!