Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jellyfish

Not long ago I discovered this jellyfish washed up on the beach. I didn't know what species of jellyfish this was, but I thought it especially beautiful.


















According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, "Few marine creatures are as mysterious and intimidating as jellyfish. Though easily recognized, these animals are often misunderstood and feared by beach goers, even though most jellyfish in South Carolina [and North Carolina] waters are harmless." You can read more here

Out latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Aleta, Ocracoke's mailboat from 1944-1952, compliments of the Core Sound Museum. Click on the following link for photos, text, and audio recordings about this iconic vessel: http://www.coresound.com/saltwaterconnections/portlight/aleta/

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Navy Base

While spending time on Ocracoke you might hear someone mention the National Park Service docks on Silver Lake Harbor. However, if you are speaking with native islanders you will more likely hear the docks referred to as the Base Docks.

US Navy Base Docks
courtesy Ocracoke Preservation Society















A U.S. Navy Base on Ocracoke was commissioned on October 9, 1942. On January 16, 1944 it was converted to an Amphibious Training Base, and in 1945 it was converted to a Combat Information Center. At one time more than 500 Navy personnel were stationed at Ocracoke. The Base was closed in 1946.

In his book, "Ocracoke Island, It's People, the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy Base During World War II" Earl O'Neal includes several photos of the Base taken in 1947 by LCDR Henning A. Rountree, Jr. USNR RET. The pictures were sent to Ocracoke residents, Wahab & Elizabeth Howard. Their daughter, Elizabeth Howard Chamberlin, submitted the photos for publication on-line. You can view them here: http://www.ocracokeisland.com/navel_base_photos.htm.

Out latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Aleta, Ocracoke's mailboat from 1944-1952, compliments of the Core Sound Museum. Click on the following link for photos, text, and audio recordings about this iconic vessel: http://www.coresound.com/saltwaterconnections/portlight/aleta/

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mailboat Aleta

This month we share with our readers a wonderful web site with photos and stories about the mailboat Aleta. You can not only read a delightful description of this iconic vessel, but you can also listen to 7 short audio recordings of interviews with Ellen Marie Cloud, daughter of one of the Aleta's captains. She relates first-hand memories of coming to Ocracoke in the early 20th century.















Click on the following link to go directly to the page: http://www.coresound.com/saltwaterconnections/portlight/aleta/

Many thanks to the folks at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center for sharing this information on the Web!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Black-bellied Plover

The black-bellied plover, also known as the grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola) breeds in the Arctic regions, but winters in southern coastal areas. I spotted this black-bellied plover (from late April through August they have a black breast and belly; they molt to grey in fall and winter) a few days ago on the ocean beach.
 
This bird is the largest plover in North America, and its distinctive markings make for a striking sight on our beaches.

















You can read more about the black-bellied plover here

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the entertaining story of Calvin Wilkerson and his Condomed Nautilus. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042117.htm

Thursday, May 18, 2017

MST in a Day

Last week I wrote about the North Carolina Mountains to the Sea Trail (MST). This 1,175 mile trail extends from the mountains to the coast. Just over 14 miles of the trail are on Ocracoke Island.

Photo by Paul Travis











On Saturday, September 9, 2017, several hundred people will tackle the entire 1,175 miles of the trail by hiking various short legs. Legs average 3-5 miles, which means that just about anybody, of any age, can hike, & can find a suitable leg (dirt trail, road, greenway, beach, flat or steep.)

If you will be on the island Saturday, September 9, please consider hiking one of the three legs of the trail on Ocracoke Island (one is 4.5 miles long; one 3.2; and one 6.6).  Of course, many other segments of the trail are available to hike. To register to hike, and for more information, please visit the MTS web site.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the entertaining story of Calvin Wilkerson and his Condomed Nautilus. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042117.htm.  

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Story

The US Navy established a sizable base on the island in 1942.

Some years ago I heard the following story.

When WWII ended, the base was decommissioned. Although the government hired a watchman to protect their abandoned property, it soon became apparent that there wasn't any effort to keep the buildings from quickly deteriorating, which distressed a people accustomed to reusing material and making do with what was available.

A few islanders discovered that the watchman had a craving for spirits. When he was sufficiently "under the weather" and asleep, those "lawless Outer Bankers" went to work with crow bars and hammers. One islander recalled it as the "midnight requisitions."

One particularly resourceful islander decided to remove an entire building!  He had purchased an Army surplus Power Wagon, and went to the base and loaded the small building onto a boat trailer. As he was hauling the building down what is now British Cemetery Road, the Power Wagon stalled and quit. He was unable to restart the vehicle, so he unhooked the trailer, leaving it and the building in the sandy lane. He and friends pushed the truck to his yard.













Of course, the next morning the watchman noticed the building gone, and soon located it in the lane. When confronted, the perpetrator claimed innocence, noting with insouciance, "Why there's no way it could have been me; that old truck over there, it won't even start!"

I never did hear what happened to the building. It is probably in someone's yard today, being used as a storage shed.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the entertaining story of Calvin Wilkerson and his Condomed Nautilus. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042117.htm.   

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

CSI, NSF, & PEACH

Two exciting collaborative projects studying offshore currents and the Gulf Stream have been initiated by the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI) and the National Science Foundation, along with other partners. The NSF's project is called "Observational and Modeling Study of the Physical Processes Driving Exchanges between the Shelf and the Deep Ocean at Cape Hatteras" (PEACH). 

The CSI project is looking into the possibility of using an autonomous underwater vehicle, or AUV, and water driven turbines to harness the energy of the Gulf Stream to generate power. According to the Coastal Studies Institute "the movement of water [in the Gulf Stream] is some 45 times greater than the flow of every river on earth...[and harnessing] just 0.1 percent of the available power would yield the equivalent of 150 nuclear power plants." For more information see Kipp Tabb's article in the Coastal Review

Gabriel Matthias of the University of Georgia
Skidaway Institute of Oceanography
poses on the beach at Hatteras Island,
next to one of the antennas used in the radar
part of the PEACH study. Photo: Catherine Kozak


















According to Catherine Kozak in a subsequent article in the Coastal Review, the complementary PEACH project "is meant to answer critical questions about the ocean’s response to climate change and the influence of marine ecosystem dynamics." Radar outposts have been set up at four locations on Hatteras and Ocracoke. Kozak explains that  "it’s the latest in an ambitious collaborative scientific project to decipher the dynamics of the water exchange between the continental shelf and the Gulf Stream, the ocean speedway that nearly brushes the crook of the Outer Banks.” For more information see Catherine Kozak's article in the Coastal Review

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the entertaining story of Calvin Wilkerson and his Condomed Nautilus. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042117.htm.