I published the blog too early last night! Maggie, Richard and I went and sat on the veranda and looked at the stars. We saw fire flies flicking their lights on and off and also Venus and Jupiter shining very brightly plus lots of other stars. But the best bit of all was watching the International Space Station going over. Apparently it travels at 17,150 mph and it's at 250 miles high. It sees a sunrise ever 90 minutes! Maggie took this photo using the Star Walk app.
We had thought about going to Cape Lookout today but the round trip was far too long really so we decided to go to Ocracoke instead. There is no bridge joining the islands but instead there is an hour long ferry crossing. It is so long as there are some very large sandbanks which have to be avoided - these are also a crab spawning area. There seem to be ferries running all the time and at odd times - I think about four passed us and this photo shows two crossing over believe it or not.
Orcacoke is yet another long thin island with the village at the far end. The island only has one road going down (actually it's the same road going up too!!) which has a variety of vegetation. One minute it is sand dunes then shrubs and then pine trees. The village is small but interesting with a lovely atmosphere. We parked the car and walked back taking in a small fish dock where we saw some Pelicans before stopping for a couple of drinks at McNallys Bar right on the harbour side. The men had beer but Maggie and I had Mimosas which are sparkling wine with juice - delicious they were too. It was then back to the car to collect our picnic and eat it along with a couple of duck families. We then drove to the British Cemetery where four seamen from HMS Bedford are buried after their boat was destroyed by a German U Boat in 1942. 37 sailors perished but only four bodies were ever recovered and only two of those were identified. It was then out to the lighthouse which is perhaps one of the most boring of lighthouses. I love lighthouses as they are usually nicely painted but this one is plain white and isn't open to the public. After the lighthouse we drove back up to the ferry and drove home via a fresh fish place with the two Richards bought some swordfish to BBQ.
Today we went up to Currituck. Here is a map of the Outer Banks to give you some idea of where we are and where we are going each day. We are staying in Frisco.
During our drive we decided to stop for a coffe and the next place was called Duck. The locals have really made the most of the name with places like Duck Duck Burgers, All Ducked out and The Duck House. But we all loved the tshirts and things with Shut the Duck Up on them - I bought a sticker for the boat! We did want to see the wild ponies but to see them we found that we really needed to go on a "pony trek" in a vehicle but they wanted $49 for adults and $39 for seniors and we decided that we didn't really want to see the ponies that much! We found a lovely park at Currituck Lighthouse to have our picnic - again we were joined by some ducks. Eddie has invested in a 12 volt fridge which plugs into the cigarette lighter in the back of his Ford Explorer so our picnics are always nice and chilled which is just as well as the temperature is still at least 28 degrees Celsius. After lunch Richard and I wandered to the lighthouse but fortunately we had decided not to climb it as they closed it as we arrived as they could hear thunder rumbling in the distance. The lighthouse is 165 feet high and was built, in 1875, of bricks - 1 million of them! The walls at the base are 5 foot 8 inches - I am 5 foot 8 inches! As we drove home the storm broke though we didn't have any thunder or at least we didn't hear any.
We stayed locally today going firstly to Hatteras lighthouse. Hatteras is the tallest lighthouse in the USA and the current structure is the third on the site. However it wasn't built where it is now as in 1999 it was moved 2900 feet as it was then only 150 feet from the shore. It was moved over a period of 23 days of on huge rollers
The lighthouse is 198 feet high and was built in 1870 and was the first warning lighthouse - previous ones had been welcoming lights. We heard an interesting story about the town of Nags Head - apparently wreckers used to walk a horse up and down the beach with a light attached to it, when sailors saw the light they would think it was a safe harbour but would then run aground and end up on the shore - wrecked.
We just had to climb the 257 steps up to the top where we had wonderful views all around. In fact we were very lucky as they had to close the lighthouse after us as thunder had been heard. Apparently if thunder is heard they have to close the lighthouse for 30 minutes then if more thunder is heard the 30 minutes has to start again.
After our climb we listened to a Ranger telling us all about hurricanes. I found it fascinating and certainly know a lot more about them now. It seems that the Outer Banks get more hurricanes than anywhere else in the world because of their location.
We went back home for lunch before going to the Graveyard of the Atlantic museum. It was very interesting but I think a lot more could have been done. Because of the Diamond Shoal about 500 ships were wrecked but to be honest I didn't think they made enough of this. What I did find interesting though is that the first MayDay call from the Titanic was heard by a coastguard on Hatteras. He informed his head office in New York but they said that the Titanic couldn't possibly be in difficulty and to ignore the message! So I blame the Americans for the loss of life on the Titanic!
We got back to the house and Eddie made one of his wonderful paellas for dinner - they are legendary 😀