This past weekend Michelle and I were able able to escape to North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. The parish staff has a one-week timeshare at a beachfront condominium in Atlantic Beach; Michelle and I used it from Thursday through Saturday. On Thursday we explored Beaufort and played on the beach at our place. Friday we went to the North Carolina Maritime Museum and then went kayaking. Kayaking was a bit of adventure as the season doesn’t really seem to have gotten into full swing. After some difficulty find a place that was open, Pirate Queen eventually rented us a tandem kayak for the rest of the day. We paddled out from near Beaufort, toward the Beaufort inlet (between Bogue and Shakleford Banks), then along a number of small islands (including Horse and Carrot Islands) that shelter Beaufort from the sound. We went in search of the wild (or rather feral) horses, which we rather quickly located. After battling some crazy sand crabs with very large pincers, we relaunched our kayak into the open surf, which was when I first went swimming. Some time later we again beached, walked around, again launched and this time we both went swimming, as did our not-very-well-sealed ice chest in which was Michelle’s phone (still misbehaving) and our camera (which seems to have gradually resumed all normal functions). Around on the inner side we paddled through some marches right up near a horse, then back out to the surf where we successfully launched without difficulty, then finally into the protected waters near Beaufort where we corralled (well, not really) some additional horses. Cold and quite wet, we returned our kayak and, after good warm showers, flew kites and had a nice dinner in the well-appointed condo kitchen. Saturday we went to Fort Macon, a well preserved (or rather restored) fort from the pre-Civil War era which has been part of many parts of American military history along the Atlantic coast. It was also a nice view of the surrounding sound and beaches. We then had to leave the sunny coast in time to get back to Chapel Hill in for the Palm Sunday vigil Mass in a heavy thunderstorm, thus curtailing the planned outdoor procession. We had a great time and, even though it fell right before Holy Week, I feel a bit more well-rested in anticipation of the coming deluge.