Common sense Visit to Southport NC

One year ago I wrote a post about sharks and the attacks on oak island. It boiled down to two points: common sense and respect. Now, not long ago, these things were taught by old locals to visitors for everyone’s safety and well being. We aren’t teaching these things well today. So, if you’re new to the south or the area, here’s a few tips:
🐊Alligators-I love these creatures and have rescued, wrangled a few, but they are wild and sometimes dangerous. Don’t feed them! They equate us with food when we feed them. They are often sunbathing and slightly sluggish in the heat of the day, but don’t let the fact they resemble logs fool you! They are lighting fast. They drown their prey in a violent death roll and store them in their lair until they’re ripe and tasty to them. They love rancid meat. Keep an eye on them and keep your distance and don’t fiddle with them. Leave them be.
🎣Fishing-don’t surf fish in the middle of the day on the beach in the midst of swimmers. Surf fishing was respectful in yesteryear; they’d fish in the morning and evening but left the midday to families playing. Go offshore or do not drop line by swimming children. Wait. Or go to a pier. Share the ocean and respect families swimming. You catch fish and they send distress signals to bigger prey. Now that prey can’t tell the difference between a blue fish and my child’s leg. Simply go on a boat, a pier or wait. If you drop line between kids in my presence I’ll walk over to the line with my knife and cut it. Have some respect!
🍤Chum-rotten fish bits or ripe meat and blood dumped to attract fish. Chumming is great for commercial fishers or offshore but has no business being done by the guy from Michigan on the pier or on the shore amidst families in the surf. Again; this attracts prey that attracts predators. Don’t do it unless it’s done far from the beach. Best done from a boat, not from a bucket on the beach. Stop it. Really. Gross. 99% of chummers have no idea what they’re doing and its detrimental to people, wildlife and environment.
👙🌂Beach Gear-clean it up! I don’t care if it took you 30 min to pitch that cabana. This is harmful to nesting turtles, other creatures and makes the beach look like a dump. Who wants to break their ankle taking an evening beach stroll because the idiot family from Nebraska couldn’t break down their gear. Leave nothing but footprints.
🏊🏻Swimming-don’t swim before 8am and after 6pm safely. Those are feeding times for predators. I was shocked to see children swimming at 8:30 pm! The water is murky, darker and sharks, who are always there can’t tell the difference between a person and a yummy meal. That’s their dinner time and you’re in their house. Also pay attention to the different shades of water as they are indicative of tide lines and rip currents. Swim adjacent to shore until it dissipates
🐢Turtles-your balloons, fireworks and trash look like jellyfish, a yummy meal to turtles and they become lodged in their throats. They die. When SW winds blow strong, it pushes in brown seaweed in mass, and thusly jellyfish. Turtles, love jellies! However, sharks love to eat turtles. Little Johnny on a boogie board looks vaguely like a turtle to a shark. Point being, watch for signs in nature. Pay attention to the signs and heed their admonitions.
🙊Language-I cuss like a sailor most days in my own home but not around children. Stop yelling obscenities around children playing. Little pitchers have big ears. Have courtesy and respect please.
🌴🎶Jimmy Buffet-we are not Florida, this is not margarita ville and not every establishment needs to have this man on a constant loop.
🚘Driving-I’m just going to say it. We locals know you aren’t in familiar territory and you are sightseeing. We should employ patience however if you’re driving 15 mph in a 35, please know some of us have places to be, jobs and homes to get to and you’re racking or nerves. Keep with the flow of traffic to the best of your ability and do not cut us off because you didn’t merge in time. Don’t be surprised when you get the finger or blare of a horn
🚣Pontoon Boats-It’s not called ‘Cape Fear’ for nothing. If you take one of these pigs into the shipping channel please keep channel 16 on a radio, have Tow Boat US on speed dial and know how to contact Coast Guard. Not advisable
⛲️Tours-try to pick reputable tours with local guides, not out of town businesses that come only for summer that feed off of us like vultures do from a carcass. And if you do, don’t repeat what is said as fact, as it’s likely very wrong. Support local establishments not seedy chain shops whose profits probably fund terrorism. Invest in us, and we invest in you.
🌟most importantly, be safe, use your head, stay kind and make the best of your vacation and the best memories!