A reader posted a comment on yesterday's journal asking two questions. The first asked about our new island radio station. Information about the station (including a link to listen on the web) is available here: http://www.wovv.org/
The second question asked about how our beach changes from day to day. The reader mentioned that some beach communities "groom" portions of shoreline to create people-friendly areas. As he or she guessed, no such intervention is done on Ocracoke. Generally speaking, however, Ocracoke beach (and not just the lifeguard area) is very people-friendly. We can have small, gently rolling waves, or more powerful (great for body-surfing) rollers, but typically the seafloor slopes gradually, making it ideal for families and very care-free swimming. Sometimes, of course, sand bars form, and there might be a deeper trough between the beach and the outer bar where the largest breakers meet their first obstacles. Once in a while a pool of water (maybe three feet deep or so) will get trapped higher up on the beach after exceptionally high tides.
There are reasons for caution however. Ocean swimming is very different from pool swimming, and everyone (parents especially) should never be complacent. Currents change frequently, and rip currents can form unexpectedly. They pose the greatest threat to beach goers. Information about rip currents (how they form, how to recognize them, and what to do if you're caught in one) is available here: http://www.eenaproject.com/. The ocean is powerful and deserves your full respect!
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the second half of my father's short journal. I call it Remembering Growing up on Ocracoke. You can read it here.