Friday, September 15, 2017

Hatteras Jack

In his book, Legends of the Outer Banks, Charles Whedbee opens his chapter on a famous North Carolina dolphin (also called a porpoise on the Outer Banks), with these words: "For as many years as there have been deep water sailors, man has been fascinated by and strangely drawn to porpoises."

According to legend, in the late 18th century a remarkable albino dolphin  made it a point to greet sailing ships as they approached Hatteras Inlet. Captains soon discovered that the dolphin was poised to guide their ships through the inlet, making sure to navigate in the deeper channels and to avoid the sand bars that made the inlet so treacherous.

You can read a condensed version of the legend here:

Also, a regular reader of this blog, Robb Foster, wrote the following poem about Hatteras Jack:

Hatteras Jack 

When chatting with other old briny blokes 
Folks, who rarely have sailed this way 
I sense their undeniable fear 
They dread the inlet that’s north of here 

I once, was one who held such dread 
Pled to Poseidon “Keep us us safe to the quay” 
Passing along this oft shoaling coast 
When safely home, we all offered a toast 

One day a dash of white was spied 
Eyed one single point in the low of a sway 
He danced in the water and was marking a path 
To save us all from the inlet’s wrath 

We mariners talk, and the word spread quite fast 
Last were the few who infrequent this caye 
 “Follow this dolphin, from the sea to the sound” 
“Jack knows the safest of routes to be found” 

Rare are the days, but I still find those folks 
Blokes still reluctant when anchor’s at weigh 
These days, I explain, we’ll be sure on our tack 
Now that Neptune protects us with Hatteras Jack

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a brief history of Howard's Pub. You can read it here:    


  1. Anonymous8:40 AM

    Now we're talking Legends like this. Hatteras Jack Tee shirts, aprons, mugs, hats, boy scout merit badges, posters, stuffed animals, songs, better yet a boy scout sea chant. Do you see where I am going with this-- a Boy Scout merit badge generated by the history of OI. St Augustine Fl has a Girl Scout encampment each year and the early history of St Augustine is "lived" during that lovely week in the Spring.. Soo -- the ponies, the ocean, the Ports Mouth Island scene, boating, fishing, Holy toasted marshmallows Batman sounds like a, wait -- sounds like a great deal of work ---to make scouting great again.......

  2. Anonymous8:46 AM

    Hmmm Eagle Scout project looks good on college application as does essay topic How I sent my summers helping to Make Scouting Great again

  3. Anonymous9:44 AM

    Lord have Mercy. As a child growing up in the fun and sun capital of the world Miami-Dade county-- The miami seaquarium had an albino dolphin. As I did an internet search for Carolina Snowball the horror-- of the animal's fate --being snatched from the waters off Beaufort SC.. but then it (the internet) also offer up a recipe for Carolina Snowballs - rice balls stuffed with, well- I did not read the recipe in its entirety so who knows --- tasty leftovers I suppose. Anyway I wanted to mention this thanks!

  4. Very enjoyable read.
    Loved the picture too.
    Thanks for your wonderful blog.
    I never miss a day.

  5. Anonymous5:39 PM

    I always enjoy Robb Foster's poems. Please keep printing them.

    1. Thank you, so very much! I'm not sure if you know, but I have a book available at Amazon called 'Lyrics and Poems from the Shenandoah' that has a few more and I am working on a new one (this one will be in it) called 'A Pamlico Romance'. I absolutely love the beaches of North Carolina and have been heading down to the sea and the sound for my entire life. I have a very special love for Ocracoke and come to this blog nearly everyday. I was otherwise detained this past Friday, however. Thank you again, so very much!

  6. Thank you, so very much, for posting my poem!!! I really, really appreciate it, a lot!!!

    For those wishing to find more, here's a link:

    I priced it inexpensively so follow your impulses and get a copy. :-) I'm also working on a new one that will be titled 'A Pamlico Romance'.

    1. There's even a free preview... :-)