Hatteras, NC Day 5

It was another beautiful day! How did we get so lucky? Bob was feeling better today, so we did our morning routine and made plans to go to Ocracoke. We drove to Hatteras Village to hop on the 10:00 ferry.

 
 
Traffice was light so we had no trouble getting on. As we motored in Pamlico Sound, we saw people in the water raking for clams and fishing for crabs.

 
 
We arrived over on the island just before 11:00 after the 45 minute ride.

 
 
We took the 14 mile drive from the ferry dock to downtown Ocracoke along the sandswept highway lined by dunes.

 
 
As we approached town, the island widened and became more wooded.

 
 
We arrived in Ocracoke just after 11:00 and proceeded to the center of downtown.

 
 
 It was early enough that things were still pretty quiet.
 
 
Our first stop was at the Working Waterman’s Exhibit.

 
 
The exhibit explores the traditional and daily lives of island watermen. Inside were all sorts of artifacts related to fishing and preserving the last fish house in Ocracoke.
 
 
Looking across Silver Lake Harbor, we got our first glimpse of the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse.

 
 
We took a look in the Community Store and discovered it to be a Cooperative Art Store.

 
 
We drove to the Welcome Center and found a display of a Right Whale Skull. Very cool!

 
 
We walked over to the site where Fort Ocracoke once stood sentinel at the Ocracoke Inlet. Remnants of the fort lie submerged in the inlet.

 
 
From there, we visited the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum located in the David Williams House.

 
 
The rooms let visitors glimpse island life in the early to mid 1900’s and are decorated with period furnishings. 

 
 
 We stopped for lunch at the Jolly Roger–Ocracoke’s Original Waterfront Restaurant.
 
 
It was located right on Silver Lake where we had a good view of the harbor.

 
 
We drove around to the other side of the lake and got a look at the town from another direction.

 
 
We followed Lighthouse Road to…..you guessed it…..Ocracoke Island Lighthouse.

 
 
It rises about 70 feet tall and is the shortest of the 4 Outer Banks lighthouses.

 
 
The white-washed tower is surrounded by a white picket fence and a keeper’s cottage.

 
 
Built in 1823, this is the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina and second oldest in the nation. Its beam can be seen 14 miles out to sea.

 
 
The skies darkened a little and it started to rain lightly as we made our way back to the ferry. Our final stop was to see the Ocracoke Ponies.

 
 
There are many theories as to how the ponies got here, but they roamed freely for 200 years. The local boy scouts rode them at one time making them the only mounted troup in the country. There were once 300 ponies in the late 1950’s. The Islanders fought for their protection and now the National Park Service provides for a 180-acre pasture area that houses 24 ponies. These ponies have distinctive physical characteristics: 5 lumbar vertebrae instead of 6, 17 ribs instead of 18, greater bone density, wide foreheads, and strong, short necks. Just beautiful…..
 
 
The sun came out as we neared the ferry to make our ride back.

 
 
The ferry was very empty on the ride across the Hatteras Inlet in Pamlico Sound.

 
 
It seemd to take a little longer for the water trip back which was due to the boat traffic—multiple ferries, charter fishing boats returning, and pleasure craft out for a day on the water.

 
 
As we neared land, I could see a lineup of over-the-road vehicles on the beach doing some surf fishing.

 
 
We pulled into the ferry dock around 2:30 right next to the Hatteras Marina.

 
 
We enjoyed our day in Ocracoke and looked forward to a quiet, relaxing evening. Bob’s appetite returned, so we would have an early dinner, take our evening walk, and watch some TV. On our walk, we could see some unusual cloud formations in the sky. We watched for quite awhile and it was just beautiful.

 
 
Tomorrow, we are moving north up the island to a campground near Rodanthe. From there. we’ll be able to explore the northern towns and sights on Hatteras and Bodie Islands.

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