A Cape Fear naturalist with a master's degree in environmental science and captain's credentials from the United States Coast Guard, Captain Joe Abbate is just the guy to follow into North Carolina's swamps and coastal waterways. Joe and his nautical team at Wrightsville Scenic Beach Tours lead expeditions along the Atlantic coast that range from birding tours to sunset expeditions to excursions in which passengers learn to talk like a pirate from Don Juan Cortez, a swashbuckling historical reenactor. The company's fleet consists of two ships: Shamrock, a 27-foot, motorized catamaran that can carry up to 22 passengers, and Island Hopper a 22-foot skiff that can navigate both the open water and marsh grass.
At Rennegade Fishing Charters, US Coast Guard–licensed Captain John Renn leads fishing trips out of sunny Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, also serving the Southport, Oak Island, and Bald Head Island communities. A Cape Fear native and lifelong waterfarer, John specializes in inshore, live-bait trips that seek out red drum, flounder, and trout. During charters, he shares his deep knowledge of the area and extensive angling wisdom with his visitors, even helping them by coaching them as they bait hooks and reel in fish. And, as fishing is a year-round activity, Rennegade Fishing Charters is open all year long.
In the more than 30 years that Odysea Surf and Kiteboard School's instructors have been surfing and lifeguarding, they've witnessed time and again the importance of proper safety procedures. So, it comes as no surprise that owner Kevin Murphy and his team incorporate safety precautions into each of their lessons, covering the local surf laws and the dangers of rip currents and long shore currents. Once these basics are touched upon, the instruction focuses on fun. Students learn to surf, standup paddleboard, or kiteboard within private or group lessons or weeklong camps, each held at local beaches.