Thursday, September 10, 2009

Clams & Dolphins

This morning I had two questions re. recent posts. My answers follow.
  • Clamming--Generally speaking, is one place as good as the next out in the sound waters, or is deeper better (or farther out, or closer in, or just the right spot)?
Raking for clams is typically done in relatively shallow water (about calf deep). It is harder to walk and push a rake in deeper water, but I suppose there are clams there too. So most clams are gathered fairly close to shore, or on a reef or sandbar.
  • In your adventures in and about the waters of Ocracoke, have you ever had an up-close encounter with a dolphin, or dolphins, and if so, what was their behavior like toward you?
I have not, and after I wrote that comment on a recent blog (about dolphins seeming close enough to swim to) I realized that I wouldn't have done it anyway. They are wild animals, after all. I've heard surfers say that dolphins can sometimes exhibit aggressive behavior, in spite of popular images of them as smiling, playful creatures. Perhaps other readers have comments about encounters with wild dolphins (not ones trained and/or acclimated to humans).

Thanks for the questions.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a small photo album with historic pictures, including the aftermath of the 1944 hurricane, the 1921 Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks, the 1935 wreck of the Nomis, the Island Inn, the Methodist Church, and the Wahab Village Hotel. I've added a short paragraph under each photo to help put them in historical perspective. You can see the pictures by clicking here:


  1. ejayhall9:02 AM

    My question is about sea turtles. We will be nt the island for 4 days next week. Are sea turtles still laying eggs this time of year. Is there a certain beach access which might be better to see them if possible?


  2. I am not an expert on sea turtles, but most species dig nests and lay their eggs at night (often on the same beach where they were hatched). On Ocracoke, if I am not mistaken, most nests are laid down in early summer (June & early July). Incubation is about two months. I would be surprised if there are any nests still left to hatch. Contact the NPS Visitors Center to find out if there are any scheduled controlled releases of hatched turtles.

    Nesting sea turtles are easily disturbed (especially by lights), so National Park regulations prevent night time driving during the nesting season. Even if you were to accidentally stumble upon a nesting female sea turtle (very unlikely) you should move away from her so she won't be disturbed.

  3. Anonymous11:00 AM

    My 14 year old son was swimming at Southern Shores and had a dolphin surface about 5 or 6 feet behind him. It looked like it was just checking him out, and then the dolphin swam away. Scared the @#$%^& out of my son! His first thought was SHARK!! He was surprised at the size of it. He was nice enough to yell at his sister to get out of the water before passing by her. It was a pretty cool sight and one he will never forget. Kind of funny too,

  4. A few years ago, our daughter participated in surf camp. One day the waves were too rough for beginners so, the kids were taken to kayak in the sound. A small pod of dolphins appeared and swam a few yards from the kayaks. It was the highlight of the kids day. Neither the dolphin nor the kids got too close to the other, they simply delighted in each others company and shared the water. The dolphin went on their way in a few minutes.

  5. Regarding the turtles, Philip I hope you don't mind my posting the following link regarding night driving:

    You should be able to pick up a permit from the Park Service or local tackle shops.

    If there is a nest, the Park Service will "rope" it off to protect the nest. The eggs will be well covered - do NOT enter the roped area. You could find a nest area anywhere along the ocean side-happy looking.