A moonlight paddle

Published 8:14 pm Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Community Editor

The moon made a brief appearance during Inner Banks Outfitters’ full-moon paddle Thursday night.
The tour, which is conducted every full moon, is $30 a person for those who need to rent a kayak, which includes a personal flotation device, paddle and lights. The excursion free for paddlers with their own kayaks.
Liane Harsh, owner of Inner Banks Outfitters and the tour guide, said she started offering the popular night tour last fall. About 55 people turned out for the first-ever paddle, while more than 60 folks joined the second paddle.
Harsh led a group of about 40 paddlers Thursday night. The paddlers began launching their kayaks at 7:30 p.m., but they had to wait to see if a storm was coming.
A paddler reported seeing lightning in the distance, prompting Harsh to paddle back to the Havens Gardens boat ramp, run to Inner Banks Outfitters’ office and check a local weather radar.
Harsh emerged from her office with good news: the paddle was on.
So, with the sun setting across a bright, red horizon, the paddlers set out toward the Washington waterfront.
The paddlers made their way through the railroad trestle and around the south side of Castle Island as night shrouded the Pamlico River. Canada geese could be seen flying in formation and landing on the island’s sandbar, while people could be seen strolling under the lamplights along Washington’s waterfront.
As the paddlers circled Castle Island and moved east up the Washington waterfront an orange-tinted full moon peaked from behind the clouds. Some paddlers took out their cameras, taking pictures of the moon in all its glory.
“The moon was beautiful,” said Holly Eddins, a Greenville resident, after the tour was over.
The paddlers watched the moon duck in and out of the clouds as they made their way back toward the Havens Gardens boat ramp.
“It was peaceful,” Eddins said about the tour.
Eddins was riding in a tandem kayak with friend Heather Stewart, also of Greenville. Eddins and Stewart said they heard about the paddle tours through Inner Banks Outfitters’ e-mail newsletter.
“I had fun,” Stewart said shortly after docking at 9:30 p.m.
Asked if they were going to do it again, they said, “Of course.”
Harsh said she sees a lot of repeat paddlers on the monthly tours. More often than not, she said, they’re just trying to take a load off.
“Once you’re out there, you think, ‘Why don’t I do this all the time?’” she said.
Anyone interested in joining a tour is asked to make a reservation by calling 975-3006.