Thursday, October 28, 2010

Portsmouth Island Trip

Our Ocracoke Sampler Class (part of the 2010 OcraFolk School) left Silver Lake harbor yesterday morning at 9 o'clock aboard Donald Austin's boat. There were eleven of us -- Tom, Sandy, Kathie, Gloria, Nick, Pete, Annie, & Spencer (all students)...and Rob, Dave, & I (the instructors).

Donald stopped along the way to explain the pound nets out in Pamlico Sound that are an age-old method used by commercial fishermen to catch flounder and other fish.

We spent more than four hours exploring the village, including the Salter house (now used as a Visitors Center), the Post Office, the Schoolhouse (we didn't stay long there...the mosquitoes ran us off), the Methodist Church, the Gilgo house, and the US Life Saving Station. As many of our readers know, no one has lived permanently on Portsmouth Island since 1971. The buildings are now managed and maintained by the National Park Service.

I only took two photos (click on them to view larger images).

This is a few of our number crossing the lawn to visit the church:

Dave Frum (one of the Cape Lookout Park Rangers) climbed the ladder to ring the church bell (if you're visiting the island please don't ring the bell...leave that to the rangers):

It was a tiring day, but everyone enjoyed our visit to one of the most unique villages in the country.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article, with a number of photos, documenting the history of water cisterns on Ocracoke Island. Click on the following link to go directly there:


  1. Anonymous9:23 AM

    Sounds like you are very busy just enjoying life. How will you guys be celebrating Halloween?

  2. Thanks for sharing this info
    I love stories re: Portsmouth & pictures
    If the bugs were not so bad, I think I could live over there
    Thanks again

  3. Anonymous5:33 PM

    Are there trips available over to Portsmouth Island in January and, if so, are the mosquitos still in residence?

  4. Contact Rudy & Donald Austin any time of the year. If they have enough folks who want to go to Portsmouth they'll make the trip. The mosquitoes are not always bad on Portsmouth. I've been there in the middle of the bugs...and I've been there in bugs. Just be sure to ask around for the latest information about weather and mosquitoes.

    About Halloween: I've been too busy with the Folk School to even think about Halloween.

  5. Anonymous9:07 PM

    Yes you are always very busy. But at least you took some time to smell the flowers & you always make time to acknowledge our trivial comments. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

  6. Anonymous9:27 AM

    OK, now you've got us all intrigued . . . pound nets?

  7. Portsmouth is lovely in late December. We went over for the Christmas bird count. It was tranquil, the bluest of skies and no mosquitoes. Perfect. We even counted a few birds.

  8. Look for a post about pound nets coming up very soon.