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That whole area around Rich Inlet and Nixon Channel...

....has been going downhill since Hurricane Ophelia and it is getting increasingly "weird" when it comes to all aspects of hydrography. For all practical purposes, there is no more "inlet" at high tide, just a five-hundred yard sandbar that is covered (more or less). The original dredged channel is still there, but I see far too many people cutting across the sandbar at high tide and immediately encountering heavy surf as they clear it on oceanside. If you take the time to go the extra half mile and use the original inlet, it's far easier to get out without encountering breakers.

The sandbar also hooks back into Nixon Channel and causes strong, erratic currents as the tide changes. Smaller sandbars appear and then disappear weekly, and you see a lot of folks aground on a fast falling tide. The rather odd weather we've been having lately isn't helping, and when you have wind and a falling tide we're seeing 2-3 foot waves *behind* the islands.

I have no idea what caused these guys to capsize, but thankfully they're safe. It would behoove anyone using Rich Inlet to be VERY careful however, as it's getting about as bad as Snow's Cut or the mouth of the Cape Fear for erratic currents and localized heavy surf.

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