Rock On

The Fort Johnston “rocks” that you see here are not rocks at all. They are what remains of the original fort, constructed using a man made material known as tapia. Tapia is made by mixing a concrete like slurry of crushed oyster shells, sand and lime all of which are still in abundant supply in this area. For more about Fort Johnston, visit the Southport Visitors Center or take a tour with Blue Tarp Tours. And don’t forget…..” Keep On Tourin’ ” y’all.IMG_0507

The Heart of Southport

Our tour slogan is “Take a Walk Into the Heart of Southport”. For me the heart of Southport is the Cape Fear River and it’s connection to the Atlantic Ocean. That is what has forged and framed the character of the town and its people for 225 years. With no disrespect intended, it is not movies, restaurants or shopping. It is the joy, the angst, and, at times, the tragedy that attend lives tied to tides, sandbars and sea charts. So come along and take a true walk to remember, “Take a Walk Into the Heart of Southport”.

heart of southport


New Attitude

“Just 10 minutes of walking at a brisk pace ….., can boost your mood for two hours,” says Robert Thayer, Ph.D., the author of Calm Energy: How People Regulate Mood With Food and Exercise.

Even though we strive for a leisurely pace at Blue Tarp Tours, we feel certain after taking a “Walk into the Heart of Southport”, you will come away  with a “New Attitude”. Sing it Patti!!

Gettin’ Down on Battery


“There’s a party goin’ on right here.
A celebration to last throughout the years.
So bring your good times, and your laughter too,
We gonna celebrate your party with you.”

Lyrics from the song “Celebration”, by Kool & the Gang.

I was enjoying the waterfront in Southport this past Thursday and a song was playing on my radio. While gettin’ my groove on with Kool & the Gang, I took a moment to focus on the southwest point of Battery Island. There was a White Ibis celebration going on! For more on these and other Battery Island goings-on, read below. Then get on down to the river and, as Kool and the Gang would say, “Celebrate good times, come on!”

Beginning in early spring, visitors to the Southport waterfront can witness the early-morning departure of thousands of white ibis as they leave Battery Island for inland foraging grounds. The sky off Southport is again filled with ibis during the last two hours of daylight as flock after flock, of from 20 to 200 ibis, return to roost.

Battery Island is a 100-acre natural island situated across the shipping channel from Southport. Many years ago, Battery Island received deposits of dredged sand, which formed the southern upland area of the island, commonly referred to as the “South Colony.” This is where the majority of wading birds gather to nest in the red cedars, yaupon and other shrubs. Battery Island is the site of North Carolina’s largest colony of nesting wading birds, supporting 9,000 to, in some years, more than 15,000 nesting pairs of 9 wading bird species. The site is globally significant for white ibis, the most abundant wading bird nesting on the island. The number of nesting ibis alone can be as high as 15,000 breeding pairs. Some of the other species include oystercatchers, willets, numerous clapper rails (a.k.a marsh hens), seaside sparrows, and marsh wrens.

Battery Island is an Audubon Society bird sanctuary. Disturbance to nesting birds is a primary concern therefore this site is now posted and entirely off-limits to visitors. Audubon wardens patrol the island throughout the nesting season and at various times the remainder of the year. The island is also patrolled by NC Wildlife Enforcement Officers.

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