About twenty-five years ago my cousin Robert came back to the island with some buddies for a week of fishing. Even though his grandfather was born on Ocracoke, Robert decided he needed a guide to take him out in the sound.
Robert enlisted my father to accompany him and his friends in their small boat. They motored out the ditch, then continued past Teach's Hole and out toward Ocracoke Inlet. At the first sea buoy Robert turned to my dad and asked, "What should we do now?"
"I don't know," replied my father, "I've never been out this far."
As David Cecelski relates in his book, The Waterman's Song, Slavery and Freedom in Maritime North Carolina, "...only a few [Outer Banks] boatmen bothered to venture beyond local sounds into the Atlantic." He elaborates by noting that "[e]ven on the Outer Banks, fishing was rarely a serious vocation,...[it] was a subsistence enterprise,..."
Times have changed, of course. Charter boat captains now routinely carry sport fishermen out to the Gulf Stream, and Ocracoke has a thriving fishing industry, but most commercial fishing is still done in Pamlico Sound.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of windmills on Ocracoke. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012113.htm.