From Pat Garber's 1995 book, Ocracoke Wild:
"North Carolina used to have the largerst whaling industry south of New Jersey, with whalers operating out of Shackleford and Bogue Banks and, to some extent, Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands....[D]ocuments indicate that whaling expeditions began targeting whales off the coast of North Carolina in the 1660s....
"These once bountiful, playful, and intelligent creatures have been hunted to the point of extinction. There are only an estimated 300 northern right whales left, and in spite of international laws that protect them, it is uncertain whether they can recover."
This winter there have been more whale sightings than I can ever remember from Ocracoke's beach. Perhaps these wonderful animals have made a comeback in the sixteen years since Pat wrote her book. We can only hope.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of a 1911 wedding on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022111.htm.