Wednesday, March 06, 2013


In the 18th and 19th centuries North Carolina settlers built log canoes (or "kunners") that were larger and more sophisticated than Native American canoes. Kunners were typically made from cypress trees. Sometimes two (or even three) logs were split down the middle and joined together with planks. The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort has a twenty foot kunner built in Hyde County in the 1870s.

You can view the vessel at the Museum, or see a photograph here:

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the unique "Ocracoke Greeting." You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous12:50 PM

    Today's post sparks questions about watercraft. In your younger days on the island, did you (or your peers) spend much time on the water? The photo of the Silver Chalice under sail made me wonder whether sailing, or boating of any sort, was a common activity--or necessity--of youth on Ocracoke. As a kid growing up in Southwestern PA, I spent much of my free time in the woods and fields, hunting, trapping, target shooting. Just curious whether water was to Ocracoke kids as woods were to PA kids.

    Thanks, as always, Philip.

    1. Living on an island makes enjoying the water a common activity. However, in the past Ocracokers seldom ventured into the ocean (except as sailors on schooners and other large vessels). Small skiffs were used in Pamlico Sound mostly as work boats rather than pleasure boats, although line fishing has always been popular with island youngsters.

      Flounder gigging was also a popular activity when I was a teenager. We would walk along the shore with a gig and a Coleman lantern after dark...and bring home a mess of fresh flounder.

      Clamming in Pamlico Sound was another popular water-related activity, along with boating, fishing, crabbing, and swimming.

      My grandchildren love to go out in my skiff, but they mostly splash around in the water and swim while we adults rake for clams!


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