River Roving offers opportunities

Published 8:38 pm Monday, May 13, 2013

Ever been down at the waterfront and see that loaded pontoon boat traveling up and down the Pamlico-Tar River and wonder what is going on?

It’s the River Roving vessel from the North Carolina Estuarium. Now that the weather is warmer and sunnier, the River Roving excursions have returned.

For visitors to Washington — and even for longtime residents — the River Roving excursions provide a way to learn about the river, its wildlife, its aquatic life, see the waterfront from a different perspective and learn a little about Washington’s history as a once-busy port and its role in the Civil War. In other words, River Roving excursions are educational, not to mention fun.

River Roving excursions provide samples of what Washington has to offer, not only to tourists but native Washingtonians.

Although River Roving excursions run on specific days from the spring through the fall, people begin making reservations for the excursions in January. In early December for a few days, special River Roving excursions take place so people may travel up the river and harvest mistletoe. Along the way, the passengers receive a lesson that focuses on mistletoe, including facts and myths.

Several years ago, passengers could view an owl and several owlets nesting on the railroad trestle east of the Estuarium. For several years, passengers were taken to within several feet of a beaver lodge on Bear Creek. Trips up the Tar River have provided passengers glimpses of eagles, herons, hawks, otters, muskrats and other species of wildlife.

Each year, based on what’s happening with the wildlife, aquatic life and other factors, the excursions take on unique characteristics for that year, or even that specific excursion. One never knows what one will encounter during a River Roving excursion.

The captains who take out the Riving Roving excursions are well versed in the area’s environment and history. They’re well trained in safely operating the pontoon boat. Safety is their No. 1 concern while on the water with their passengers.

So, if you find yourself with nothing to do one day during the next several months, treat yourself to a River Roving excursion. It probably won’t be your last River Roving excursion.

For more information about Riving Roving excursions, including times, dates and rules, call the North Carolina Estuarium at 252-948-0000 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.