Ocracoke NC to Atlantic Beach NC (1689 miles so far)

This morning, very early, we awoke to a storm hammering the island, and the inevitable power outage that would come with it. Not anything big, as the weather was cool enough to have the windows open, but it did make for an interesting night.

So, as Beck and I were giggling about the rain, the little island and whatever else was hitting our brains at 2am, we heard the folks in the neighboring room start to walkabout and mumble. Well, mumble wasn’t exactly it — we could hear just about everything they said. I guess when this place was built, paperthin walls were in, and were still in place. We quickly started whispering to each other, giggling and lying there in bed, waiting for sleep or sunrise to come.

Once the sky got light, we got up, cleaned up, collected up our stuff, disconnected all the various electrical devices — laptop and battery chargers — and checked out of the hotel. Nice place to stay, and I would do it again, but it ain’t the Ritz! We asked about breakfast, and the deskclerk pointed us once again to the Pony Island Restaurant, so back we went there for breakfast. Nice spread for breakfast, and reasonably priced.

Our ferry reservation wasn’t until Noon, so we wandered around Ocracoke, and shopped a little. We went into one shop, the owner of which is descended from the original owner of the island. Very interesting lineage he had posted in his store, and fun to dawdle on the history of this little piece of land.

We took the long ferry ride from Ocracoke to Cedar Island. This was the longest ferry ride of the trip, and lasted just over two hours. The ferry was pleasant, and the ride wasn’t too choppy, despite the water being whipped up by the wind. What was amazing to me was the line of gulls that followed the boat. I talked with one of the deckhands, and he told me that the birds will follow the boat all the way to Cedar Island and back. They are looking for little fish to be kicked up in the wake of the engines, and will descend, en masse, to eat whatever they find. How’s that for survival of the fittest!

Upon hitting land, we made a bee-line for food, and ended up at a nice pizza and sandwich joint in Beaufort. We had kinda thought to stay there for the night, but kinda thought that accomodations could be tight — there was a music festival in town, that would continue through the weekend.

Along the way to Beaufort, we passed the sign for Harkers Island — the location of the Cape Lookout lighthouse. This was a lighthouse that we had been told we would not likely be able to see well, as the only opportunities were boat charters that only went around the location, and didn’t actually land. When we doubled back, we discovered that the official visitor’s center was many miles away from the actual lighthouse, and though you could see it, even with my long lens and tripod, it was a tough view from there. We also found out that there were ferries that would take you to the island, where there was another visitors center, and that you could camp, fish and do pretty much whatever you wanted. It was late in the day, so we elected to only view this lighthouse from afar.

We continued on to Atlantic Beach, and checked into the Days Inn. This was a nice looking place with huge rooms, and the first king size bed we’d had on the trip. That was glorious! We had access to laundry facilities and even got our laundry done while watching the NASCAR night race from Phoenix, and dining on one of the few “fast food” meals of the trip — a pizza from Domino’s!