Friday, May 16, 2014

The Atlantic

Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008, science fiction writer, past Chairman of the British Interplanetary Society, a member of the Academy of Astronautics & the Royal Astronomical Society) is purported to have said, "How inappropriate to call this planet Earth, when clearly it is Ocean."

Living on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, as we do here on Ocracoke Island, does not always impress us with the true immensity of this vast body of water. Our daily lives are centered around the village, and only a few of us venture off-shore. Those who do, generally go to fishing areas in the Gulf Stream, about 25 miles from land.

Simon Winchester, in his 2010 book, Atlantic, reminds us how "incalculably large the Atlantic happens to be."

Winchester observes that "A big ocean -- and the Atlantic is a very big ocean indeed -- has the appearance of a settled permanence. Stand anywhere beside it, and stare across its swells toward the distant horizon, and you are swiftly lulled into the belief that it has been there forever. All who like the sea -- and surely there can be precious few who do not -- have a favored place in which to stand and stare...."

My favored place, and perhaps yours as well, is right here on Ocracoke.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous7:49 AM

    Philip, NC Mainlander just told a friend yesterday that I think about Ocracoke Island so much that I believe I smelled the salty air "in my mind" even though I am 200 miles away in the Piedmont of NC. When I need my "Ocracoke fix", there is simply no place in the world where I feel so at peace.

    I regret not moving there when my late husband & I could have...before the days of MS.

  2. Anonymous10:11 AM

    Amen, Philip.

  3. Anonymous11:16 AM

    Always interesting

  4. Anonymous1:46 PM

    I agree.

  5. Anonymous4:00 PM

    You'd probably be the one to ask about Portsmouth island trips. I know you know who provides tours there. I believe I heard that they were ATV tours or all cross country segways. Anyway who can I ask about the details for a upcoming trip. Thanks Philip!

    Greensboro NC

  6. Anonymous4:53 PM

    Ocracoke is truly a magical place! Hopefully one day I will be able to stand and admire the vast Atlantic Ocean and call this place my home!

  7. Anonymous5:59 PM

    is everyone on this site a freakin; philosopher?...get over it.....anon 4:00 sounds down to aligning you stars with the cosmos for this guy, no words of wisdom here...he just wants to have some fun, wish I was with you tearin' up some sand, have a cold one for me buddy.

  8. Julie S.8:45 AM

    The Austins have run a ferry to Portsmouth for years 252-928-4361 and Portsmouth Island ATV Excursions 252-928-4484. DON'T FORGET IN SECTION REPELLENT AND WATER!!!

  9. Julie S.8:48 AM

    Oops darn auto spell! Meant INSECT repellent! !!!!

  10. Anonymous4:45 PM

    thanks for the info.....