Fleeton Year of Adventure travel blog

The Ocracoke Lighthouse (under repair)

British Sailors Graveyard at Ocracoke

Part of a flock of juvenile White Ibises on the grass at...

Did I mention - this has been pirate territory too?

Shallow North Carolina coastal ferries - 7' draft, for going over 10'...

Checking out Mr. Sunseeker's roof from the second floor viewing deck!

Went right past a giant sand island covered with birds - ibises,...

A dredge working right as we sail past.

Because the water is so shallow the birds follow to see what...

Always my favourites - brown pelicans.

We got up early and did our chores, then found our way to the Ocracoke Lighthouse, the last one of the North Carolina chain of lighthouses we are going to try for. We got there at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning and found the update crew already working - in my photo you can see a little figure in safety harness at the top and at work, with equipment being hauled up by rope with an electric winch. Obviously we couldn't go see anything other then just the outside. We then drove back closer to the waterfront and found the graveyard where some of the English seamen were buried from a British ship which had been loaned to the Americans to help patrol the coast in WWII, and which was sunk by a German U-boat. We then headed to the ferry dock to make sure we got on the 10:30 sailing (sound familiar) to get off the Outer Banks islands and onto the mainland. We had time to wait, so I could admire the large flock of ibises feeding in the grass at the visitor centre at the ferry dock. Note my photo about Blackbeard - these islands saw much pirate activity in past centuries, and it's reflected in all the gift ships and tourist traps! Our ferry didn't seem very big for a 2 1/2 hour trip, but we learned why: all the ferry routes are only over water that's about 10 feet deep, so they have very shallow bottoms. Very exact routs are set out in the water with stakes, light markers and buoys, and the ferries just follow these paths. At one point we steamed right past a huge sand dune rising out of the water and obviously home to hundreds of birds, but I wasn't fast enough to go get the binoculars out. There was a sand dredge working right there as well, trying to keep our channel clear. We saw lots of bird-life on the trip - several types of gulls, cormorants, snow geese, and lots of my favourite pelicans. When we reached the mainland we just drove on to find a good campsite and had an early day of it. Tomorrow, we head inland from the coast for a while.

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