As I mentioned yesterday, OcraFolk School classes begin today. I always include a study of early North Carolina maps in our Ocracoke Sampler class. I am particularly interested in John White's maps of 1585 and 1590 because they clearly show Wokokon (Ocracoke) and Croatoan (the island that includes the northern part of present day Ocracoke and the southern portion of present day Hatteras). The ships on Raleigh's voyages of exploration and colonization stopped at Wokokon and Croatoan (where they were befriended by Manteo). Croatoan is where the "lost"colony indicated they had moved, according to a carving on a tree on Roanoke Island.
I have always found it difficult to interpret those early maps even though at least one of them lists lines of latitude. Of course, all of the inlets except Ocracoke have changed (either opened or closed) in the last 450 years. But I wondered how faithful the maps were regarding the shape and length of the islands of the Outer Banks. In preparation for the class this year I asked Captain Rob how accurate he thought those early 16th century maps were. Without a moment's hesitation he told me that sailors of that period navigated across the Atlantic by just heading south "until the butter melts," then sailing west into the sunset.
I guess that answers my question, I said.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article written by my Uncle Marvin Howard in 1954. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102111.htm.