Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Late winter winds blowing along the coast washed up a 16 foot long beam from an unfortunate vessel that wrecked on the Outer Banks many years ago. Rusted spikes and shipworm infested wood reminded us of the brave men of the Life Saving Service who risked their lives to rescue 19th century sailors.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Yesterday's auction was a huge success! More than 80 people made bids from 1:00 pm until 5:30 pm, and in the process raised more than $4500.00 for the local Fire Department, Preservation Society, Child Care, & Youth Center. The day began warm and sunny, but a cold front blew through in late afternoon.

Lou Ann described today's walk on the beach as a portrait in pewter & parchment. Cold winter winds blew sand and surf, making walking arduous.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Another community activity today -- our Spring auction. At 11 am the doors of the Community Center will be open for people to browse all the donated merchandise (chairs, tables, tools, toys, household appliances, you name it). Sandwiches, cold drinks and desserts will be on sale. The auction begins at 1 pm and will continue all afternoon. Check back tomorrow to learn how much money was raised and where it goes.

Also, on this date in 1891 the schooner "Boreniven" from Spain was stranded on Ocracoke's beach. Evidence of various shipwrecks can still be seen here and there along the surf.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Easter North Carolina's National Public Radio station reports this morning that scientists are attempting to free a rare 34 foot long right whale that is entangled in fishing gear off the North Carolina coast. Only about 300 right whales are believed to be in existence.

Temperatures are expected to be in the 70's today, under sunny skies.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

A number of us will be engaged today and tomorrow hauling numerous items (sofas, tables, glassware, toys, small boats, etc.) to the Community Center, in preparation for the upcoming auction on Saturday. It's the perfect day for it. Already the temperature is up to 60 degrees, with sunny skies, and no rain in sight.

But, first, it's a walk on the beach! Work can wait an hour or so.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Another beautiful day! Temps near 60, and sunny. A perfect day to be outdoors. There are a few visitors on the island, but generally it's been fairly quiet this week. Leon sends greetings to everyone.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Sunny, but cold today (about 50 degrees). Every day we see a few more visitors to the island.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Another beautiful, mostly sunny day on Ocracoke. But it's cool (only 44 degrees) and breezy. The weather service has even issued a freeze warning for the Outer Banks for tonight. By tomorrow it should begin warming up again, however.

We are starting to see a few more folks on the island as colleges and universities close down for Spring Break. Not the wild & crazy "Spring Breakers" you might read about in the newspapers, but the professors, staff, and students who appreciate Ocracoke's natural beauty and unique history.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

At 9 am this morning somewhere between 60 & 70 folks showed up on Schoolhouse Road to participate in the annual community litter pick-up. Most people worked until nearly noon retrieving cans, bottles, and other debris from alongside village roads.

At 1 pm we will join many of the rest of the islanders at the Preservation Society Museum parking lot for a community pig-pickin' & potluck sponsored, in part, by the Hyde County Sheriff's Department.

The day is beautiful and sunny. Perfect weather for socializing outdoors.

Friday, March 19, 2004

It's a gorgeous spring day -- sunny and warm (60 degrees), and pleasantly breezy. Island children and their families and friends are looking forward to the 2nd annual pinewood derby this afternoon, starting at 4 o'clock in the school gymnasium. Prizes will be awarded, and hot dogs will be served.

Today is also the anniversary of the stranding of the "Lizzie S. James" at Hatteras Inlet in 1892. (This is the same schooner that wrecked on Ocracoke's beach on March 12, 1900!)

Thursday, March 18, 2004

In recent years information about how close WWII was to our shores has become increasingly well known.

From January to July, 1942 397 ships, mostly merchant vessels, were sunk or damaged off the Eastern Seaboard of the United States by German U-boats. More than 5,000 people, primarily civilians, were cut down, drowned or burned when their ships were attacked. The heaviest concentration of destruction was off the Outer Banks. This is generally considered the greatest single defeat ever suffered by the American Navy. The debacle has even been referred to as the "Atlantic Turkey Shoot."

During the first six months of 1942 explosions off-shore would rattle windows and shake houses in the village. Ocracoke residents could see the fires and huge plumes of billowing black smoke rising from the ships attacked at sea. By July, 1942, however, the US Navy finally had the situation under control and the carnage was stopped. Nevertheless it would be almost three more years before Germany finally surrendered.

On this date in 1942 the tanker "E, M. Clark" was lost off shore of Ocracoke.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Erin Go Bragh! And may the luck of the Irish be smilin' on you. (My grandmother was an O'Neal, so it's only fittin' that I wish everyone of you a very happy St. Patrick's Day.)

Ocracoke has been cool and wet and gray all day. No dolphins in evidence this afternoon from the beach. But it's the perfect day for a ham & cabbage supper cooked up by the local church ladies. And all for only $7.00.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Today is "Old Quawk's Day" on Ocracoke. Many years ago a colorful island character, defying his neighbors, his good sense, and the gods, ventured out into Pamlico Sound on a blustery, squally March 16 to fish his nets. He never returned. For more than 175 years island fishermen have been reluctant to go out on the water on this day. You can read more about Old Quawk here: Ocracoke Newsletter, April 03, 2000

As if to confirm the dangers this day holds for area mariners, on this date in 1888 the 3-masted Schooner, "S. A. Rudolph, out of Philadelphia, was stranded at Hatteras Inlet. Keeper James Howard and his crew from the Ocracoke (Hatteras Inlet) Life Saving Station were able to help refloat the vessel. No lives were lost.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Today's weather report -- overcast and rainy all day, but temperatures near 70.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

More than 200 friends and neighbors gathered at the school gymnasium yesterday to help native Ocracoker, Muzel Bryant, celebrate her 100th birthday.

After speeches, music, dinner, and birthday cake, Muze joined a huge crowd of well-wishers at Howard's Pub for an evening of dancing to the musc of the "Ocracoke Rockers." When I left around midnight, Muze was still there, greeting party-goers, posing for photographs, and quietly enjoying the attention.

We will be posting more information about Muze and her family history in our upcoming April, 2004 Ocracoke Newsletter. Use the "Auto-Join" button in the blue panel on the left if you would like to be notified when we publish our monthly newsletters.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Happy Birthday to native Ocracoker, Muzel Bryant. Muze was born on the island on March 12, 1904. That's right -- she is 100 years old today! Kenny Ballance has planned a community birthday party for Muze tomorrow. The whole island is talking about the big event. After an informal reception and pig pickin' at the schoolhouse the party will continue long into the night at the Pub with rock & roll music and a dance. Muze, who is in wonderful good health, is planning to enjoy every minute of it. Look for photos and a full report in Village Craftsmen's April Newsletter.

Also on this day in history: The Schooner "Venus" was stranded at Hatteras Inlet in 1886, and the Schooner "Lizzie S James" wrecked on Ocracoke's beach in 1900.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

After a brief cold snap, Spring has returned to the island. Today was in the 60's, sunny, and calm. Very pleasant.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Winter is back! A walk on the beach this afternoon was cold, wet, and windy. Steady winds all day have blown 30-40 mph, with occasional higher gusts. Plumes of "mares' tails" were blowing off the breakers all along the beach.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

At 6 am on this date in 1893 the 548 ton schooner, "Lillie F. Schmidt," of Philadelphia, laden with lumber, and bound from Savannah to Baltimore, stranded about 500 yards offshore about one mile northeast of the present-day campground.

The seas were rough, the tide was running high, and the weather thick. At 8 am Wheeler Howard and Mathias Ballance spied the schooner and walked ten miles to the Life Saving Station at the south side of Hatteras Inlet, where they reported the wreck to Keeper James Howard at 10:30 am.

Within 15 minutes the life saving crew, with mules and gear, set out along the beach, arriving at the "Lillie F. Schmidt" at 2:30 pm. Fighting a strong current and the great distance to the ship, the station crew succeeded in firing a line to the vessel and rescuing all seven crew members with the breeches buoy.

The sailors, having been exposed to the elements for many hours were thoroughly wet and fatigued. Local citizens carried them to their homes where they were fed and cared for during the next three days.

Keeper Howard and his men returned to the Hatteras Inlet station, arriving exhausted at 8:30 pm after walking more than twenty miles.

A portion of the cargo was later salvaged and sold at public auction on March 24.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Ocracokers were awakened last night about 11:30 pm by an unexpected and formidable wind storm. Reports this morning indicated that wind velocities reached 60 -70 mph. An uncomfirmed report put one gust at over 100 mph. Fortunately, there was little or no damage.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Another gorgeous day! Sunny & warm, although it was windy & cooler on the beach this morning. The surf was a bit rough, so no dolphins were in evidence.

Daphne & Howard Benninck (owners of the Back Porch Restaurant) hosted an afternoon get-together in honor of Marcy & Lou (singer/musicians who play at the Pelican & the Ocracoke Opry, and who are known to many as "Coyote"). They were recently married. Best Wishes to a delightful couple.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

A sure sign of springtime on Ocracoke -- A commercial fisherman neighbor invites you over for dinner. The picnic table on the screened porch is covered with newspapers, the collards are cooking on the stove, and there's a bushel of steamed crabs piled high on the table. Oh, island life is so good!

Friday, March 05, 2004

Why plans on Ocracoke are always tentative -- Yesterday Jude and her family left the island at 4 o'clock in the afternoon and went to Hatteras to see a movie. After the show, they arrived at Hatteras Inlet for the 9 pm ferry, but everything was fogged in. They finally got home at 11 am today, after spending the night in the ferry line.

On a similar note, a round trip for a dental appointment in Nags Head always takes a minimum of seven hours. But, of course, a trip to the beach is only 5 minutes!

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Although this journal is not intended as primarily an Ocracoke weather report, today is too wonderful not to report on! It is sunny and warm, with temperatures near 70 degrees. A perfect day for a walk on the beach. We'll be back with more news on another day.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Welcome to our new Ocracoke Journal, where we hope to keep you informed of day-to-day events on our beautiful island. The last few days have been gorgeous, with temperatures in the low 70's. Dolphins are plentiful in the surf, and there's even an occasional scotch bonnet to be found washed up on the beach.

If you haven't been to the island in several months you may not know that the Assembly of God church building was moved this winter. It now sits across the street from the Post Office, and will be converted to a rental cottage (named "Almost Heaven" we understand). Construction was begun on a new Assembly of God sanctuary on Lighthouse Road several days ago.

Various businesses are beginning to open up again. Village Craftsmen is open 10 am to 5 pm Monday - Saturday. Stop by and say hello on your next visit to the island!