Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Music at Breakfast

Bob Zentz, well-known folk musician, and his musical fiancee, Jean McDougal, are on the island this week, and will be performing at the Ocracoke Opry tomorrow evening. Bob has a repertoire of several thousand songs, many of them nautical tunes and sea chanteys.

Bob & Jean are staying with us for a couple of days...and it doesn't take more than a thought, a word, or a hint to inspire them to get out their instruments and break into song. I took this photo Monday morning at the breakfast table.















Bob and Jean entertained us for about an hour, playing and singing both traditional songs & ballads, and introducing us to some of Bob's original pieces.  After sharing stories about colorful Ocracoke island characters, Bob played his song about a popular banjo player, Sud Bell (born 1882), last resident of Hog Island, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Ol’ Sud Bell, Ol’ Sud Bell
 Sittin’ on the porch of the Wachapreague Hotel
Pickin’ on the banjo, he played it rather well
Gone but not forgotten, is Ol’ Sud Bell!

You can read the rest of the lyrics here:  http://www.bobzentz.com/songbook/o.sudbell.htm.

Times like this, shared with talented friends, add spice and beauty to island life. 

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072114.htm.   

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Perils of Beach Driving

I recently discovered this photo in an old album. It was taken at South Point in November, 1981. If I remember correctly, the angler fell asleep as the tide was coming in.



















As far as I know, this SUV (or whatever is left of it) is still out there, having gradually sunk deeper into the sand. It wasn't long before it was completely covered up.

The message: stay awake, and pay attention when driving on the beach!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072114.htm.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Down Point Decoys

I had occasion to visit with David O'Neal at Down Point Decoy Shop a few days ago. As soon as I stepped into his store I was reminded of what a tremendous inventory of old and new bird carvings he carries.














Dave was sitting at the counter, chatting with a customer about antique rifles and waterfowl hunting, when I entered. After the customer left I mentioned that I would like to come back with my camera, and take a few photos to put on my blog. Dave agreed, saying he always appreciated free publicity.














When I returned I noticed that David had a copy of the 1986 National Geographic Traveler magazine on display. David was featured in the magazine, and his picture was on the cover. I remarked that he looked a little younger in those days. His mustache was definitely not white!  That led to talk about how the senior years just seem to creep up on us without our awareness while it's happening.


















If you haven't been in Down Point Decoy Shop lately, be sure to stop by and check out David's wonderful collection of working and decorative decoys.


















And, if you are wondering why "Down Point Decoys" is located "Around Creek" it's because David started his business Down Point (on the lighthouse side of Silver Lake), near his family home...but he moved it Around Creek (on the Community Square side of Silver Lake) a few years ago.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072114.htm.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Carroll A. Deering

As a young boy I loved to listen to my father tell tales about Ocracoke. One of my favorites was the story of the “Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks.” On summer trips to Ocracoke we always borrowed my Uncle Marvin’s WWII army surplus jeep at least once, and drove to the north end of the island. Along the way we would stop at the wreck of the Carroll A. Deering. Since late February of 1921 the bow of the Deering, along with her heavy iron capstan, lay on the beach several miles south of Hatteras Inlet. The wreckage was distinctive. I would stare at the massive timbers and listen with full attention as my father retold the mysterious tale.

Wreck of the Deering, Photo courtesy of M.R. Dixon













The five masted schooner, Carroll A. Deering, was launched April 4, 1919 by the G.G. Deering Company Yards in Bath, Maine. She was the last and largest ship that eighty-six year old Gardiner Deering built. Named for his youngest son, the massive vessel was just over 255 feet long, weighed more than two thousand tons, and carried six thousand yards of sail. She was impressive by any measure. 

US CG Image of the Deering












The Deering wrecked January 31, 1921. The sails were up, tables were set, and food was in the galley stove, but no crew members were aboard the vessel, just a cat. The Deering has become known as the Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks, and the mystery of her wrecking has never been solved.

An Internet search will yield numerous links. Here is the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carroll_A._Deering.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072114.htm.

Friday, July 25, 2014

An Evening of Music & Stories

This Sunday, July 27, the Women of Ocracoke present "An Evening of Music & Stories" at Deepwater Theater on School Road.

Three of the Women!














The performance begins at 7:30 pm. Space is limited, so come early to be sure to get a seat. And be prepared for a wonderful evening of stellar island talent.

Admission is by donation only. All donations will go to the non-profit organization "Ocracoke Alive" to help support repairs to the skipjack Wilma Lee which was damaged during Hurricane Arthur.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072114.h


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Navy Base

The Ocracoke WWII Navy Base was much more than the Loop Shack Hill installation (see earlier posts). The primary facility was located where the Coast Guard Station/NCCAT building, NPS Visitors Center, Parking area, and OPS museum, are today.

Use the instructions on the right to enlarge the aerial photo below (courtesy of the Outer Banks History Center) to see the many structures & buildings (barracks, mess hall, hospital, water tower, etc.) which the Navy had on the island during the war.
















The WWII era photo below (courtesy OBX History Center) shows the  US Coast Guard Station (now the NCCAT building ) with the earlier US Life Saving Station/US Coast Guard Station on the right. The old station was demolished after WWII.















Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072114.htm.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wilbur & Jo Ko

While perusing old newspapers I came across this article from August 2, 1974 in the Carolina Beachcomber:


















"This cover is a new print offered by Jo Ko, resident artist at Ocracoke, and the subject is alive and well at Corkey's Grocery. Wilbur Gaskill is his name and his mother is the oldest woman living on Ocracoke Island.

"Wilbur exclaimed, "I love it here!" He agreed to pose for picture-taking at Silver Lake Harbor, the setting for many of Jo Ko's popular drawings.

"As we were getting things set up for photographs, a couple of Wilbur's friends walked by and observed, 'You just whittle anywhere, don't you Wilbur.'

'Wilbur has a bucket full of knives and is constantly buying new ones. 'It doesn't take long to wear one out carving as many birds as I do. I can't keep up with the customers. I carve seven or eight different kinds: Canadian goose, pelican, seagull, black skimmer, mallard, pintail and oyster catcher,' Wilbur said."

Joe ("Jo Ko") & Esther Koch, 1974

Wilbur Gaskill, 1974



































Wilbur was 68 years old when he died in 1980. Jo Ko died in March of 2012, just short of his 105th birthday.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072114.htm.