We are now on the last legs of our trip, and will soon be heading home (per this recitation. We have already been home for about 2 weeks in reality). We flew in and out of Charlotte North Carolina. At the beginning of our trip, we took the Blue Ridge Parkway through the Blue Ridge Mountains heading into Virginia First Stop – Charlotte, North Carolina. Going back to Charlotte, we took the coastal route, known as the Outer Banks. They were very beautiful, and they too are filled with a rich and colorful history, from Indians, to European settlers to the first flight made by the Wright Brothers to pirates, Blackbeard in particular.
The Outer Banks (frequently abbreviated OBX) are a 200-mile (320 km) string of barrier islands and spits off the coast of North Carolina and southeastern Virginia, on the east coast of the United States. They line most of the North Carolina coastline, separating Currituck Sound, Albemarle Sound, and Pamlico Sound from the Atlantic Ocean.
I called this island “Bird” or “Frigate” Island, but I have no idea if this is really the name or not. There were 1000’s of frigate birds out on the island. Before getting onto the ferry, I tried and tried to get some good shots of the frigates, not knowing that in a very short time, I would see 1000’s of them.
Before bridges were built in the 1930s, the only form of transport between or off the islands was by boat, which allowed for the islands to stay isolated from much of the rest of the mainland.
Getting onto the ferry at Hatteras Island. This ferry ride took a little over an an hour. We were headed to Okracoke Island. Once on Okracoke Island, we took another ferry to get us back over to the mainland. That ferry took about 2 1/2 hours. We even saw some dolphins on that part of the journey, but they were too fast and I could not get any pictures of them.
This day was a VERY long day of nothing but travel. We were completely frazzled by the end of the day. We left Richmond, VA about 8:30 AM and did not arrive at our hotel in Jacksonville, NC until about 10:30 PM. We barely had time to stop and enjoy things because we had the two ferries to catch that we had reservations for. The pictures I got were all from just along the way.
The outer banks have unusual weather patterns because of their unique geographical location. As the islands are jutted out from the eastern seaboard into the Atlantic Gulf Stream, the Outer Banks has a predisposition to be affected by hurricanes, Nor’easters (usually in the form of rain, and rarely snow or mixed precipitation), and other ocean-driven storms. Because of the propensity for heavy rains, storms and hurricanes, all of the homes are built up high on stilts.
Here are some shots I got while island hopping. I would have loved to have spent a lot more time here, and gone diving too. This is a diving location known for all its wrecks. Maybe next time. I did get to see a lot of pelicans though.
These are brown pelicans, unlike the American white pelicans we have here at home.
Some residents of the Outer Banks, known as wreckers, made part of their living by scavenging wrecked ships—or by luring ships to their destruction. Horses with lanterns tied to their necks would be walked along the beach; the lanterns’ up and down motion would appear to ships to represent clear water and a ship ahead; the unsuspecting captain would then drive his ship ashore following this false light. Ocracoke was the last refuge of pirate Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. It is also where the infamous pirate was killed November 22, 1718, in a fierce battle with troops from Virginia.
The Outer Banks were sites of early settlement in the United States and remain important economic and cultural sites. Most notably the English Roanoke Colony vanished from Roanoke Island in 1587 and was the first location where an English person was born in the Americas, Virginia Dare was born. The hundreds of shipwrecks along the Outer Banks have given the surrounding seas the nickname Graveyard of the Atlantic. The Outer Banks were also home to the Wright brothers‘ first flight in a controlled, powered, heavier-than-air vehicle on December 17, 1903, at Kill Devil Hills.
Once we got off the ferries, we drove along the marshes for quite some time.
We hit some heavy rain, but it didn’t last too long, and it gave a us a beautiful rainbow too. At the end of the day, we were presented with a gorgeous sunset. It was a great ending to a very long day of travel.