Saturday, September 21, 2013

Late Summer on The Outer Banks

Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC. ©Favre
I love this place.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a stretch of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. It's a premier East coast surfing location which is why our family has been visiting since the mid 70's. It is also a destination for windsurfing, kitesurfing, birding and deep sea fishing. It's a place where you can spend every waking hour of the day in the water or on the sand.  The light changes by the minute and sometimes so does the weather. At night the sky is lighted by stars. 

A lot has changed since my first visit here. There are many more houses and visitors during peak summer months, but the growth could have been a lot worse. The fact that most of the beach is National Park and that the weather can be quite threatening and damaging, challenges even the strongest willed visitors and residents. Hurricane tides and wash over have cut the islands in pieces more than a few times. And the ocean around the point, is known as The Graveyard of the Atlantic. The residents of Cape Hatteras are proud of their maritime way of life.

Weathered tree roots. Cape Hatteras National Seashore. ©Favre 
So, while the surfers are scoping out the best beach for waves, I check for low tide and best shelling opportunities. Over the years I have collected all sorts of shells. Most of them are worn and smooth or I find skeletons and fragments. I have created jewelry from some. It's quite relaxing to sift through the piles--I could do this for hours, and I do! 
Shells, Cape Hatteras, NC. ©Favre
Shells, Cape Hatteras, NC. ©Favre
Driving on the beach is permitted and necessary for fishing at the point. The beaches also face closure for endangered bird nesting sites and sea turtle nests. Or, in this case erosion and high tides. You are on your own here, which is another reason it's a special place. There are only a couple of beaches with life guards. 
Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC.©Favre

The famous lighthouse painted with swirls of black and white is here too. It was moved back from the water's edge in 1999. Visitors can climb to the top. I did this when the kids were young in the old location and again on this trip.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. ©Favre

Interior stairway, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. ©Favre

Cape Hatteras point view. ©Favre
Late afternoon the chartered sport fishing boats arrive back in Hatteras village with the day's catch. We took a seat at the picnic table to have fresh steamed shrimp and a beverage!
Oden's dock, Cape Hatteras, NC. ©Favre

It is becoming more rare to find old houses on the island. Either they are damaged by storms or left to neglect. 
Old house in Buxton, NC. Favre©

Pamlico sound. Buxton, NC. ©Favre
This visit we stayed at the Inn on Pamlico sound. Every night brought a beautiful sunset. The sound is wide and shallow. The coastline hasn't been disturbed with bulkheads which makes it perfect for kayaking. Favorable no-wind made for a very peaceful setting on this particular evening.Taken from the deck at the Inn, looking south west to Hatteras Village.

This parting shot sums up everyday on a surf vacation: the car, surfboards, snacks, etc. Everything for a day on the beach.