This is what John Lawson wrote in his 1709 account, A New Voyage to Carolina; Containing the Exact Description and Natural History of That Country: Together with the Present State Thereof. And a Journal of a Thousand Miles, Travel'd Thro' Several Nations of Indians. Giving a Particular Account of Their Customs, Manners, &c. (London, 1709):
"Ocacock is the best Inlet and Harbour yet in this Country; and has 13 Foot at Low-water upon the Bar. There are two Channels; one is but narrow, and lies close aboard the South Cape; the other in the Middle, viz. between the Middle Ground, and the South Shoar, and is above half a Mile wide. The Bar itself is but half a Cables Length over, and then you are in 7 or 8 Fathom Water; a good Harbour. The Course into the Sound is N. N. W. At High-water, and Neap-tides, here is 18 Foot Water. It lies S. W. from Hatteras Inlet. Lat. 35° 8″."
The above photo of Oregon Inlet [this photo was initially mislabeled Ocracoke Inlet; see comments below] was made by Garrett Fisher in 2014. Click here to see more stunning photos, and lean more about his book, Sea of Change: Flying the Outer Banks.
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a brief history of Howard's Pub. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082117.htm.