Friday, March 13, 2015

"Two Great Rivers...

...in the sea shaped and continually reshape the Outer Banks. Close onshore is the Labrador Current, running cold and dark down the Atlantic coast from the Arctic. At Cape Hatteras it encounters the Gulf Stream, warm and blue and 25 times larger than all the freshwater rivers of the world, carrying bright fish from the tropics and yellow-green sargassum fronds from the Sargasso Sea.

"The place where the currents meet shifts according to the barrier from which the wind blows and the flow of rainwater from the continent, so that now they simply slide beside each other far offshore, and the bow of a ship may be in water 22 degrees warmer than the stern; and again they clash at right angles just off the beach at Diamond Shoals, and any boat or ship that wanders into the melee is likely to join the thousands of others that have come to grief in what Alexander Hamilton named the Graveyard of the Atlantic."

So wrote Hank Burchard in the Washington Post (probably in the 1970s or 1980s, although the tear sheet I have is undated).

It is not unusual, when swimming at Ocracoke, to notice a pocket of warm, tropical water from the Gulf Stream...and then, just seconds later, to feel a cool patch from the Labrador Current.  Just one of the peculiarities of living on this narrow barrier island so close to the Gulf Stream.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is research into the origin of the Ocracoke Island Wahab family. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022115.htm.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:38 PM

    Interesting!
    I did not know the island was that close to where the two currents meet.
    That explains a lot.

    ReplyDelete