An aerial view of migratory Topsail Island, North Carolina, pictured here (taken with a DSLR camera--Mark III), the southern end, which includes the sound-side government access pier. As you can see, the island is currently (and for the last decade or so) in a state of growing here on the south, since sand is being swept away from the north end, from the New River Inlet and in turn, sand is deposited here. I'll mention, and for those of you that know Topsail, this will be old news, that the north end had been going through some changes, being severely affected by erosion--houses have been condemned and removed as the ocean waves close in, washing away the beach.
Currently, some of the north-end houses are still in danger, and their demise is inevitable. Attempts are being made to prolong their lifespan, by placing tons upon tons of sand in the form of sandbags along the beach, which in my opinion is like tossing money into a bottomless pit. Although "Project Sandbag" may seem like a favorable temporary solution, the placement of these bags has hindered beach access on the far north end of the island dramatically, so some oceanfront homes have no convenient walkways to the beach. In addition, in some cases, beach access is limited to low tide, so beach-goers (on the north end) have to be diligent tide-table observers, to know when the beach is accessible--as when the tide comes in, the beach disappears completely!
So, the north end of the island presents a sad situation. The sandbags do prove to be an eyesore, as I have never heard anyone paying them any compliments. And it leaves me wondering, what will the north end look like in ten years? I certainly wish the houses will reach a balance with the ocean and that the sandbags will be gone by then. I hope that the careful efforts that have been exercised in putting them there will also be in effect for removing them, or perhaps they will leave them to the ocean to dispose of--whichever happens, I pray consideration is taken in regards to the north end to essentially leave it in a natural state--no efforts in trying to change the lay of the land that's left, but to encourage a natural habitat for wildlife and people to enjoy.
And this leaves me with the irony of this image of the south end, which has a beautifully established habitat, which you can see here from above, and that most of the efforts of my description have been weighted on the north end, so maybe I should tell you a bit about what you are seeing here: you can see the sound-side waterway and the government access pier, which offers a small parking lot nearby. If you have the time and like strolling on the beach, this is a place on the island worth visiting. Your walk can begin at the access pier, and you can continue your journey around the whole southern tip. You'll take note that at first the water is relatively calm, with tiny waves breaking on the shore. As you continue around the bend you'll see that as the New Topsail Inlet merges with the Atlantic, that the waves become larger. You will also notice a change in sound--you will hear the "roar" of the waves and breakers. As you reach the ocean-side of your journey, the waves become more consistent, and you'll see the Jolly Roger Pier in the distance. At this point, you can either turn around and go back the way you came or you can continue, finding a public beach access to cut back across the island, walking on the road to reach your car. Also, which I should have mentioned before, taking a tour of the south end is best done at low tide. This is truly a walking paradise!
With this image, you'll need to imagine what the rest of the south end looks like, which is basically a huge sandbar, void of houses! Beautiful!
November 26th, 2015
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