Every now and then I mention the old mailboat Aleta that carried passengers and mail to and from Ocracoke in the 1940s & 1950s.
I recently re-discovered the following account of a memorable trip aboard the Aleta in Dorothy Byrum Bedwell's book Portsmouth, Island with a Soul.
"The mailboat was not designed for partying, and safety requirements were not as critical then as they are today. Those who imbibed while underway caused real hazards. Once...when my mother and brother were making the trip to Ocracoke, a tipsy lady, trying to walk the narrow strip of deck around the cabins [see photo above to picture this!], tumbled overboard as the mailboat was traveling abreast of the inlet where the tide is most powerful. My brother, an expert swimmer, dove in after her and pulled her back aboard. The mailboat captain was so genuinely grateful for the rescue of his passenger that he assured my brother free passage up and down the sound from that time on."
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of slavery on Ocracoke. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092111.htm.