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11 Sep 2019
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Travel Tips

I love being out on the water. As a local, you’d think I’d spend every waking minute of my evenings out on a boat sailing the sea with the wind in my face and a drink in my hand. What a glorious life! Only most locals will tell you that they don’t get out on the water or even to the beach nearly enough—usually because the normal everyday to-do list of life takes precedent over fun and relaxation outside of work hours. However, even busy working locals are able to tap into the “island time” of the Outer Banks now and then letting us get out there and really enjoy the beautiful strip of sand we call home. Tonight was one of those nights.

Our office had organized a sunset cruise on the Crystal Dawn to celebrate a successful summer season. The Crystal Dawn is a local headboat at Pirate’s Cove Marina that offers various charters and tours including half day fishing drips and Roanoke Island sunset cruises. Sunsets are obviously beautiful, no matter where you are in the world. But living on an Island means we are lucky enough to get sunrises over the water (the Atlantic Ocean) and sunsets over the water (the sound). I might be biased but the sunsets over the sound are literally breathtaking. And if you think seeing them from the shore or the deck of your beach house is enjoyable, imagine being on the water and sailing right into the sunset itself. It’s incredible.

When I arrived at the marina, I met up with my other teammates. The weather was literally perfect for a cruise. Sunny. Slightly breezy. A moderate 85 degrees and very little humidity. A typical fall day on the Outer Banks!

Finally, it’s time to board and as soon as I step up onto the Crystal Dawn, I feel the pressures of the week instantly melt away.

The sound is gorgeous tonight… a deep azure shade with hints of gray and turquoise glistening in the sun. It’s a lovely contrast to the bright, steel blue sky. The water ripples out from the boat as we glide effortlessly away from land fully prepared to soak up a solid hour of the day’s final sunshine.

Of course, the hour flies by. We introduce ourselves to coworker’s spouses and children. We joke around. We chat. We climb up to the observation deck and stare at the clouds. We stand at the bow and feel the wind in our hair while simultaneously being on the lookout for any coastal wildlife. For any avid nature lover, it’s a dream come true. We spot plenty of seagulls hovering near the boat, observe a few pelicans soar over the water and dive for their evening meal and we catch a glimpse of a couple herons by the shore. It’s a real surprise when everyone’s favorite sea creature makes an appearance—three dolphins jump ecstatically as they play in the wake, seeming to join us on the cruise.

Then the sky beings to light up with that familiar glow that signals to everyone that a spectacular performance is about to start. Everyone picks a spot on the deck and for the next half hour, we watch as Mother Nature paints us a watercolor of bright yellows, radiant oranges, and deep purples while a striking bulb of light transcends any painting we could have imagined. After a while, the light condenses into a soft pink ember and then fades into the night sky. I resist the urge to clap as if I was at a real theater performance but can’t help but hear some of the kids uttering, “Wow!” and “Look at that!” so I know I’m in good company.

Although the cruise seemed to be over as quick as it started, I know it was only because I was having such a good time. When I do get a chance to go outside and experience moments like these, it’s so easy to get caught up in the moment without a care in the world. Sometimes in life, happiness can be a very fleeting feeling but when you’re on the Outer Banks, it’s only a sunset away.