Thursday, August 24, 2006


A favorite place of mine is the Outer Banks of North Carolina - yes, I know, another island, another beach. What can I say, I love beaches and salt water. As you can see by the map, this long strip of sand dune is in the path of hurricanes. When the storms come through the Caribbean they either go east to Florida and the gulf, or they head north and crash into the Outer Banks.
I spent a most memorable week there with my Aunt Pammie and Uncle Bruce when I was in high school and I have always wanted to go back. The beaches are very similar to those on Amelia Island - long stretches of white sand with dunes and sea oats.
The water is more treacherous though. Rip tides and ocean rivers abound. I don't know if there really is such a thing as an ocean river, but I got caught in something one day that felt like one. I was on my beach raft floating and paddling around, looking deep into the water for sea creatures. When I looked back up, the shore was quite far away and I was heading out to sea at a relatively fast rate. I started yelling and my uncle came swimming out to me and pulled me back in. My uncle is a big, strong guy, and he had to work hard to get us back to shore. After that we paid close attention to the tides.
These tides also wreak havoc on ships - the strange currents and the almost right angle curve of the coastline leave shifting underwater shoals and sand bars that have wrecked many a ship. The islands are dotted with lighthouses, the most famous being the Cape Hatteras lighthouse pictured here. You can climb to the top and look out and down, and we did. People look funny when you are peering straight down on them. I was impressed.
Go north a bit from Cape Hatteras and you will come to Kitty Hawk, in Kill Devil Hills - the site of the Wright Brothers historic first flight. The wide flat sand of the beaches and the steady off-shore
winds made this an ideal site for attempting flight. There is a museum dedicated to the Wright Brothers and the early history of flight.
The houses are built on pylons to protect them from water damage during storms. I'm not sure how strong or safe they are in hurricanes though.
I will never forget that bit of summer I spent here. If you love beaches as much as I do, you definitely have to plan a trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.


At 10:40 AM, Blogger Jennifer C. said...

Sounds beautiful! I have always wanted to visit the south eastern United States and this sounds like the perfect place.

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Ed said...

yes i grew up in virginia beach,va.Cape Hatteras was only one hour and a half from my mom and dad's house. spend all my time in cape hatteras and the rest of my time trying to catch a ride back to cape hateras ,surf and fish and surf was all i did. well i'm 52 years young and the kids have grown up now and are living there lives. my wife left me. and i'm still trying to catch a ride back to cape hatteras . God i love that place. Ed Townes


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