Roving on the riverPublished 11:09pm Thursday, September 12, 2013
The season for the N.C. Estuarium’s River Roving pontoon-boat trips is coming to a close. Sure, Oct. 31 may sound far off, but factor in the advance registrations and the popularity of the free boat rides and that time looks a little shorter.
“There’s only so many free trips you can do,” said Tom Stroud, spokesman for the N.C. Estuarium. “We’re blessed that we don’t have to charge, but we encourage and really need the donations.”
During River Roving season, pontoon-boat trips up and down the Pamlico-Tar River are offered every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.
During special events like the Beaufort County Music Festival or Smoke on the Water, the boat captains offer short excursions on Saturday afternoons.
Stroud said there is a waiting list for the trips during the summer months. Many people book their trips four weeks in advance. Fortunately, availability starts to open up this time of the year.
About a dozen captains volunteer their services to run the 90-minute boat rides. The trips take people on the Pamlico River along the railroad trestle just east of the Estuarium and then up the Tar River to Bear Creek.
“A lot of people have never had the opportunity to get on the river. It’s really peaceful,” Stroud said. “The Pamlico River is one of the prettiest rivers in eastern North Carolina, and at this time of year, it’s not uncommon to see a bald eagle.”
The Estuarium is a facility of the Partnership for the Sounds, which operates facilities such as the Roanoke/Cashie River Center in Windsor and the Columbia Theater Cultural Resources Center in Columbia. River Roving trips are available on the Roanoke and Cashie rivers at Windsor and on the Scuppernong River at Columbia.