Friday, January 15, 2010

Fibonacci Sequence

Earlier this week I took a scud (for our off-island readers, that's a ride in a vehicle) out on the beach in my pickup truck. I seldom drive on the beach, but it's been so cold, and hardly anyone else is out there, so I drove up to the edge of the high tide line, stopped, and got out. Immediately I spied an unusual shell. To my surprise it was intact, and without blemish. It was a small helmet shell, and in perfect condition! Not far away I found a number of olive shells, one of which was also in pristine condition.

I was reminded that helmets, olives, conchs and other seashells are constructed on the Fibonacci Sequence, or Golden Spiral. You can learn more by doing an Internet search for "Fibonacci Sequence". It is fascinating!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous11:01 AM

    Question: Reading an older blog posting about the end-of year Christmas bird count, I noted a reference to Portsmouth Island. In fact, isn't Portsmouth village situated on North Core Banks Island? And if that's true, does there mean there's really no such thing as Portsmouth Island, just across the inlet from Ocracoke? Just seeking a little guidance to keep my Outer Banks straight. Thanks.

  2. There definitely is a Portsmouth Island. Just southwest of Ocracoke, it is situated between Ocracoke Inlet and Drum Inlet. It is part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore and is accessible by private passenger ferry from Ocracoke, and by private vehicle ferry from Atlantic, NC. Portsmouth village lies on the north end of Portsmouth Island, and is a "ghost town" managed by the National Park Service. I have never heard the term North Core Banks Island, though Portsmouth is generally considered to be part of Core Banks. Some people consider the Outer Banks of NC to extend to Cape Lookout; others think that Ocracoke is the southern end of the Outer Banks.

    I think there's no point in arguing about where the Outer Banks begins or ends. I agree with Humpty Dumpty who said "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean...neither more nor less."

  3. Anonymous12:51 PM

    Here is where we hear North Core banks

  4. Portsmouth village is on Portsmouth Island which is on the northern section of Core Banks, but no one that I know of refers to Portsmouth Island as North Core Banks Island.

  5. Anonymous3:03 PM

    Wow!! what cool shells now your previous posts mention a slick cam i would think rough seas would land shells of that caliber on the beach. What good fortune.

  6. Phillip, I found a shell over Christmas and could not find it in my shell book or online. I took it over the Deanna at OPS and asked her....she did not know either. I left it there and we are hoping someone will come in a be able to identify it. The next time you are in there, I would appreciate you looking at it to see if you know what kind it is. Thank you.....marci mason - Pirate's Quay

  7. Anonymous4:16 PM

    Check out Serendipity being moved!

  8. Anonymous4:23 PM

    It is 4:30 for me and I did --wow thanks for the update this is soo cool.

  9. Anonymous4:43 PM

  10. Phillip,
    Thank you so much for identifying my shell as a brown paper nautilus....interesting how it got to OI since it is found in tropical waters....another mystery!!!

    marci mason

  11. Marci, I'm not certain it's a brown paper nautilus, but it's definitely some sort of paper nautilus. I'll make a photo of it and post it on the blog sometime soon. Maybe one of our readers can make a positive identification.