Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Islands, the magazine, that is. Their latest issue (June, 2007) features a story on Ocracoke, starting on page 62. Author Ken McAlpine has been to the island several times, and has contributed this interesting article as one of three under the heading A Seafarer's Journal. If you get the chance check it out. There are some fine photos of Ocracoke as well. Even the cover shows Ocracoke's schooner Windfall sailing toward the coastline. Unfortunately, the captions (one on page 5, and another on page 62 with a broader view of the same scene) identify the area as Teach's Hole. It is not Teach's Hole.

Rob & Sundae called to talk about the misidentification. Rob says he's never been to whatever coast is shown in the magazine (in spite of the fact that his schooner is shown there). I even took the photo to Maurice Ballance (he is 80 years old and has lived on the island his entire life), and to Maurice's nephew, Gene (he has mapped every foot of Ocracoke's coastline). We all agree that this is not Teach's Hole. Gene emailed me the accompanying aerial photo of Teach's Hole and Springer's Point. I hope you enjoy this view. If you have the opportunity to see the magazine, compare both photos and you will see that they are two very different places.

Springer's Point juts out into Pamlico Sound in the upper left side of this photo. Red areas indicate tree cover. Also note the white sandy beaches. The "Old Slough" is the branching tidal creek in the center of the photo just below Springer's.

In addition to doing a little sleuthing, the afternoon turned into a wonderful visit with Maurice and Gene. Maurice, as usual, was barefooted. We walked together down the dirt path to Gene's house (after Maurice retrieved his "walking cane" from the back of his pickup truck). Our visit with Gene at an end, Maurice led me down another path to visit the graves of his parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and other assorted relatives. There was even one ancient wooden marker (heart cedar, Maurice pointed out). Maurice's grandfather, Marcus (Mark) had owned 25 acres of land here Maurice remarked, gesturing wide with his outstretched arm.

My visit was too soon over. I headed back home, happy to have one more opportunity to learn about my home from another one of the old-timers.

This month's newsletter discusses the planned replacement of the seven bridges on Ocracoke Island in early 2008, and explains some of the issues we will face. You can read it here.

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