Ever-increasing real estate prices are remaking this region, altering the faces of beach frontages and venues even farther inland. Any piece of property with a view of the water is likely to be disappear quicker than a doughnut at a cops convention.
However, there's nothing humorous about the disappearing character of the Tar Heel coast that once made it so appealing to natives and tourists. As Yogi Berra once said of a famous restaurant, "nobody goes there anymore because it's too crowded."
Nobody will be going to the King of the Cape Classic fishing tournament anymore because ordinary people have been crowded out by those with fatter wallets.
"It's with a heavy heart I have to send this letter," wrote tournament organizer/director Jerry Dilsaver to past participants. "Due to circumstances beyond our control, the King of the Cape Classic King Mackerel Tournament will not be held in 2007."
As a long-time Oak Island resident, Dilsaver noted the changes to the Southport waterfront that ended his tournament's run at the town docks.
"There were several factors which forced this decision, with the major one being the rapidly increasing value of coastal, and especially waterfront, propety," he said. "Working waterfronts are disappearing at an alarming rate coast wide. and the old Southport Yacht Basin, including our locations at the Shrimp House Restaurants and Southport Watersports, have been consumed by this trend.
"Holding a tournament is not an easy task, but be assured we did not arrive at the decision to cancel the tournament without much consideration and the pursuit of alternative means, dates and locations. Unfortunately, the end result was that we were not able to overcome some unforeseen obstacles and will not be able to present the tournament in 2007.
"We will continue looking for ways to return for 2008, but do not wish to foster false hope and unfortunately the outlook is not bright."
Proceeds from the tournament supported the work of the Long Bay Artificial Reef Association (www.lbara.com) and Special Olympics of Brunswick County.
Dilsaver's long affiliation with the Southern Kingfish Association also allowed the King of the Cape to become a regular tour stop for the SKA's Division 9.
"We appreciated being allowed to be a part of Division 9, which is the home of some of the best, and most generous, fishermen in the world," he said. "We'd like to extend our gratitude to everyone for support over the past years and hope this decision doesn't inconvenience anyone too severely."