Monday, September 12, 2011

Gallery of Photos after Irene

Islanders (and now visitors) have had a field day at the beach...collecting shells and combing the beach for whatever they can find after hurricanes Irene and Katia. I didn't go out to the beach right away (I was too busy cutting up limbs and branches) but many of my neighbors picked up dozens of scotch bonnets, baskets full of helmet shells, conchs, olives, murexes, starfish, and even more exotic shells.

Below are a few photos Amy took of the beach and village. Click on any photo to view a larger image.

One of the many scotch bonnets and starfish (thousands of starfish washed up on the beach):

Maria Daisy and a stranded refrigerator:

Chairs and other debris found their way to our beach:

Even a television set floated up:

An exotic-looking crab:

Bags full of leaves and twigs on Howard Street waiting to be picked up:

Amy discovered a live octopus in one of the conchs she picked up in the surf. It slithered out of the shell onto the beach:

Jennifer reacts as she prepares to return the octopus to the ocean:

The frightened octopus leaves a trail of ink:

The conch shell where the octopus had taken refuge:

Lachlan is fascinated by this wild creature:

Look closely (click to view a larger image) and you will see a myriad of starfish under the water:

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a history of the marine hospital on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous8:00 AM

    Silly landlubber question here about the starfish ... I've never seen one that is purple. Are they purple after they dry out or only before they dry?


  2. Anonymous8:20 AM

    That starfish is upside down.

  3. Anonymous9:11 AM

    WOW the sea life is amazing.

  4. Anonymous9:54 AM

    I think the purple is specific to that variety of starfish (or sea star). I've found other varieties--live, and not nearly as exotic-looking as the purple one in the photo--that were the same pale wheat color on bottom as on top. Thanks for sharing the photos.

  5. I have searched for years for a sea star without success. I only have 1 (whole) scotch bonnet I have plenty of sand dollars. I love sand dollars and scallop shells. I have a lot of scallops. I like them because of the shape and the diffrent colors.

  6. Anonymous12:54 PM

    Great pictures! What stories that old fridge and tv could tell!

  7. Jack and Toni Walls5:12 AM

    @ Jackie - Amy told me this evening that when the starfish dry the purple changes to brown. They are very pretty though when they are purple. I picked up seven on the beach today of various sizes and am drying them now.
    Philip, my husband and I truly enjoyed the show this evening. You, Amy and Dave always do a wonderful job. Thank you.

  8. Toni Walls5:13 AM

    That should say yesterday and last night. Up too early this morning.

  9. Anonymous11:19 PM

    Okay ... another dumb question ... are they gooey, limpy wet when you find them like that? Do you ever find them dried? And another dumb question about sand dollars ... do you ever find them dry or are they always wet, too?

  10. Jackie, I assume the first part of your question is about starfish. They are not gooey...but they are pliable. Years ago I discovered that starfish that wash up on the beach are sometimes still alive. I picked up several and laid them on a board to dry out in the sun. The next morning they had moved several inches. By the way, the starfish in the photo is right side up.

    Sand dollars, like starfish, are echinoderms. Normally the bleached white skeleton of the sand dollar is what beachcombers find along the surf. Live sand dollars are often found on the sandy bottom of the sound. When alive they are covered with a greenish velvety layer of hair-like spines.

  11. Toni W.8:00 AM

    Jackie, when I found the starfish that I did they were sort of like picking up a piece of sliced cheese, pliabe but with some body to it. Some of the ones we picked up and turned over were still moving the little hairs or tentacles (not sure of the proper term). Those we put back in the water, hoping against hope that they still had a chance. They were all wet. And mine are still purple, even after 2 days of drying. But I trust Amy that they will turn brown soon.

  12. Anonymous1:33 PM


    Do people eat star fish?