Water. The water of the ocean, the water of the Sound, water surrounds the Flying Catnap‘s location on Bogue Banks. The ocean is salt water, the Sound is brackish. The ocean has surf, the Sound is tranquil. The water at Beaufort Inlet can be, well, exciting, as the tide works its magic.
Those differences in the water drive differences in the vessels people use to enjoy the area: deep water fishing demands boats that can handle the ocean’s waves while the shallows that dominate much of the Sound make sailboats with deep keels impractical. Choices must be made.
One popular choice is the stand-up paddleboard [stock photo]. This is one of those gadgets that looks easy to do when the standee is an experienced paddleboarder but one suspects is a bit harder than it looks.
There are a lot of organizations that provide paddleboard experiences to folks staying at the Catnap but one is unique: that of the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores about one mile from the Catnap (side note: the Aquarium is terrific in general and a great educational experience). Its stand up paddle boarding adventures for adults and children are different because they include the Aquarium’s educational mission and are not simple paddleboard trips such as those offered by AB Watersports.
The Aquarium’s version of paddleboarding [Aquarium photo] includes an instructor who teaches paddleboarding and serves as a nature guide and teaches participants about the many plants and animals that live in the Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area. There are two versions of this adventure. Adults (12 and up) explore Bogue Sound on a paddleboard with the instructor, a different version is tailored for kids ages six and up.
The adventures includes exploration of the local habitat such that the clothes and shoes worn are likely to get wet and dirty. The shoes are particularly important as one pair must be of the closed-toe, lace-up variety and and a second clean, dry dry pair is needed to wear back into the aquarium.
The price for the two hour adventure is more that reasonable: $45 for Aquarium members and $50 for nonmembers with a minimum of 2 participants. The only difference for the kids version is that a paying adult (aged 18+) is required to be part of the group.