After many days of low clouds, off and on showers, and blustery cold winds, the sun came out Tuesday. Philip and I (this is still Bill) headed to the beach after lunch for a walk.
We pulled into the parking lot at the "lifeguard" beach (so named because during the summer the park service provides lifeguards there) and headed across the dunes on the wooden walkway. As we neared the deck at the top of the dunes and got our first glimpse of the ocean, we both said, "What was that!" Seems we had both noticed something in the surf that was not dolphins!
We didn't have to wonder long. A whale rolled just beyond the breaking waves. It was moving westward so we quickly decided that we would walk that direction. Philip said this was only the second such siting for him; it was my first. As we walked, we watched it roll just ahead of us, then suddenly it was moving back to the east.
We discovered from others on the beach that it had been moving back and forth, feeding, first one way, then the other, for almost an hour. Philip made a few calls. David and Amy brought Lachlan; Tom and Carol Pahl brought Lida; others arrived...and no one was disappointed. This great creature continued swimming back and forth; the crowd continued yelling "There it is!" and pointing. At times it seemed to be heading out to sea, then suddenly it was back just beyond the cresting waves.
We assume it was a right whale. I'm told they migrate along this way in November. I'll see if I can find a good picture or cell phone video.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a transcript of a letter written in 1949 by a visitor to the island. You can read the letter (which provides a glimpse into Ocracoke life sixty years ago) here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102509.htm.