Ocracoke NC, NC
November 5, 2009
We awoke to another sunny day for our journey south to Ocracoke Island, one of Blackbeard’s favorite anchorages. What was once a series of small settlements has now merged into one long string of development from Kitty Hawk all the way down to Pea Island complete with strip malls and out of control growth, three story homes popping up everywhere, not very attractive. As we crossed over Oregon Inlet to Pea Island we got a break from the uninteresting development. This is a National Wildlife Refuge so instead of unchecked growth we entered an area of sand dunes, marshes and water fowl and an endless line of telephone poles. A very narrow strip of land leads from Pea Island to Hatteras with Atlantic Ocean on one side of the road and Pamlico Sound on the other. In areas where the dunes have been breached there is water over the road, and it is a constant battle against Mother Nature to keep this road clear.
As we cross to Hatteras Island we are stopped by front-end loaders moving sand from one side of the road to the other to repair the latest breach. We saw the same merging of communities from Rodanthe to Salvo. We also noted a steady parade of trucks and jeeps rigged for fishing with surf fishing rods and coolers mounted to the front of the vehicles. There were so many of them that George thought there might be a tournament but we later learned it was just a good day for fishing.
At Cape Hatteras it was a short wait for the FREE, yes free, ferry to take us across to Ocracoke Island.
Arriving on the island we left the hustle bustle behind and continued into town. Not much has changed, it is still a sleepy little town. We found a nice hotel on the harbor and then enjoyed a late lunch of peel and eat shrimp and tuna skewers at Howard’s Pub. We walked back through town and along the back streets, enjoying the slow-paced life here. As evening approached we walked along the harbor to the beach and watched the sun set over Pamlico Sound, what a beautiful evening.
November 6, 2009
We had time for a nice morning walk to the lighthouse before catching the ferry for the 2 hour ride from Ocracoke Island to Cedar Island NC about 40 miles northeast of Beaufort NC. Leaving the ferry we drive through the Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge located on the end of a peninsula marking the southern end of Pamlico Sound. The refuge consists of approximately 11,000 acres of irregularly flooded, brackish marsh and 3,480 acres of bog and woodland habitat that provide wintering habitat for thousands of ducks and nesting habitat for waterfowl.