My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Wandering Down the Outer Banks

January 7, 2016

Last Thursday, I thought I saw the weather brightening, so I decided to drive south on the Outer Banks and see what I could find. By the time I left the house, the sun was making a watery appearance.

Then, only a few miles down the road, the skies clouded over again.  I decided to keep going in the hopes I'd get some periods of sunlight. When I got to Rodanthe, the site of the book and movie, Nights in Rodanthe, I caught sight of a rainbow. I scrambled to to find public access to Pamlico Sound and soon found a store with open land beside it.

Rainbow over Pamlico Sound

Next I saw beach access to the Atlantic so decided to take a short walk.  I walked down the sandy road, made to give ORV's beach access, and then met a man walking with two beautiful bearded collies.  We had an interesting chat and I found one of his dogs is going to be shown in the Westminster dog show.  He is only 18 months old but has had his championship for several months.

A large deer had crossed the road

Dog walker along the gray Atlantic Ocean

Houses are almost always in view along the National Seashore

Then I continued south, stopping when something looked interesting.

National Seashore public access to Pamlico Sound

A little cemetery is eroding into Pamlico Sound

But it has people buried there in after 2000, and people still visit and leave flowers

I was always planning to visit the Hatteras Lighthouse so making the small detour to see it was on the agenda.

A mockingbird was sheltering from the cold winds

The Hatteras lighthouse is the tallest in the world.  It had to be moved because of erosion that was letting tides destroy its wooden base. That amazing story is shown here in a very engaging movie.  The lighthouse is only open to climb its 268 steps to the light from the third Friday in April through Columbus Day.  I was sad not to be able to see both the inside, and the views from the top.

Old lighthouse in a new spot

Each island seems to have a marina full of fishing boats to charter

Another interesting place was the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum.  The building looked intriguing  but was closed.  But, when checking the webpage, I think I may have just arrived too early.

The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum 

I had passed up the ferry to get to the museum, which is only a couple of blocks further.  When I found, I couldn't visit the museum, I came back and waited 45 minutes for the ferry.  I found it very interesting, after being used to the public ferries connecting Galveston Island and Bolivar. First of all there were only a few cars - less than ten on both trips. Second, we didn't get the safety message, third, we didn't have a place to go upstairs to view the waters and use the bathroom. And the strangest thing, on the trip over, was that we turned around and backed across Pamlico Sound for the hour-long trip.  Then when we arrived, I noticed a battered piling and though a captain must have bumped it a time or two.  I found I was right when I almost fell down right after taking the picture of it. (On the return trip, I was on a different boat that drove us forward, and didn't make the landing seem so exciting.)

One of the ferries

The last house we passed as we went out a canal to the sound

Those pilings look pretty battered - opps - they just took another hit

The Outer Banks, as well as Islands ranging from Maryland to the Georgia coast, harbor wild horses. On Ocracoke, there are a few that are kept behind fences, not getting to be wild at all.

Not so wild horses
 I had to go see the Ocracoke lighthouse. It is both the smallest and the oldest working lighthouse in North Carolina. (And second oldest lighthouse still working in the United States.)

Ocracoke Lighthouse

I stopped for a late lunch of fresh raw oysters and fish tacos before making the trip back on the ferry.  I forgot I was supposed to be on ferry time and missed the ferry by five minutes.  But when I got to the loading site, I found the ferry just arriving and not planning to leave for another 20 minutes.   (Haven't figured out if I read the schedule wrong, read the wrong schedule or if the ferry was late.) The winds were still high and birds were not flying. I only saw one ship on the hour-long trip.  But I did get out of the car a few times, and wobbled my way across the heaving deck, to places on the ferry that gave me the best views of the sunset.

A work ship going back to the docks

Sun almost set across the safety raft

Goodnight sun, hope you can get stronger soon

It was a low-key, but enjoyable day.  I'll be working over the weekend, part of Monday and Tuesday, but am hoping the weather will be much better for my next set of days off.