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Estuarium kicks off 2018 River Roving tours.

Enjoying the beauty of the Pamlico-Tar River from the shore is one thing. Seeing it from the water, however, is a whole different experience.

Making that experience accessible for all, the North Carolina Estuarium kicks off its River Roving tours this week, with seven tours taking place each week from April

through October.

“It’s about a 90-minute tour,” Estuarium volunteer Mike Smith said. “We talk about history and nature, depending on what we see in terms of birds and other wildlife.”

Taking sightseers upriver to explore the Martin’s Bay, the Tar River and Bear Creek, the river tours offer a scenic and educational way to see the river. Since the tours are free, everyone can enjoy this adventure, allowing every Beaufort County citizen to further develop their love for the river.

“One of the things we learned early on was that people who have some sort of emotional connection to the river really care about it more than when they just hear the science of water quality,” said Estuarium Director Tom Stroud. “They kind of have to care about it first before really start to understand what matters, what impacts the river and how they can play a role in taking care of it.”

In addition to the two tours offered throughout the season, the Estuarium also has special “crab cruises” once crabbing season kicks off, educating passengers on the history of a vital Beaufort County industry. To close out the year, during the first week of December, the museum offers mistletoe roving for a limited number of passengers.

In some cases, Stroud says that some who enjoy the tour have never been on a boat before. Since the tour is free, all it takes is a reservation to get on board.

“For a variety of reasons, we’ve never charged for it,” Stroud said. “That just opens it up to people from all walks of life. It helps us reach a lot of people who might not otherwise be able to get on the river. … Everybody in Beaufort County treasures the river for one reason or another, even if they really haven’t been on it.”

River Roving educational tours take place at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and at 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays. The tour is free, but reservations are required, with a maximum of 10 riders per trip. Donations are accepted and appreciated. Children must be 6 years old to ride. For reservations, call the Estuarium at 252-948-0000.