Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Ferry Ride to Orcacoke Island!

After a good night's sleep and another flax pancake breakfast, Ken and I left Waldo around 8:15 to drive south and get on the ferry at the tip of Hatteras and ride over to Ocracoke Island.  The only way to get to the island is via boat, and only 950 people live on the island year round.  As soon as we got to the ferry they ushered us aboard and we were on our way within 1 minute - good timing. It is a free ferry through the North Carolina Ferry Service and it takes about 50 minutes to get to Ocracoke.  We were amazed that it was FREE! 

Looking back on the docks to a similar ferry as we were on
our way to Ocracoke Island!

This ferry was returning to Hatteras from
Ocracoke Island!

We were out of the car the entire ride and talked with a gentleman from North Carolina who was on a Harley!  He was an interesting older dude who has traveled 300,000 miles on his motorcycle in 12 years!!  Several years ago he decided to make it an annual event to ride on an interstate that has the same number as his age - what a hoot!!!!  He travels solo but does meet up with many friends across the country where he can sleep for the night!  He was very interesting and fun to talk to!

Once we arrived on the island, we headed towards the end where there is a small village with many unique restaurants and shops.  We did make 2 stops - one to walk over the dunes and walk along the beach in search of shells (really didn't find anything special)

So many people to contend with!!!!!!

and then to see the Ocracoke ponies.  They are actually horses descended from Spanish mustangs and can be traced back to 1730's.  In 1959 the National Park Service completed a pen that was large enough to house all of them for their protection.  Out of the 300 or so that were estimated to be on the island at one time, only 17 remain of the original Spanish herd.

Upon arrival in the town of Ocracoke, we stopped at the National Park Visitor Center for some info on the area and Ken bought a T-Shirt.  We were so thankful we had brought our bikes with us for the town is 2 square miles and there are very few cars, mostly golf carts.  

At this point we didn't know what a fun-filled and informative
day we would have on the island!

1st stop was the British Cemetery where 4 British soldiers are buried, the only bodies found from the German sinking of the British boat, Bedfordshire, during WWII, and only 2 of them were identified.  There were 34 on board and the entire British crew was lost when the Germans torpedoed the boat.  The US Navy had no ships suited to anti-submarine control.  Britain offered assistance, sending 24 royal navy vessels with their crews to patrol sensitive areas along the east coast, including the Outer Banks.  What a tragedy!

 A list of the British solders that died!

Yesterday that had their yearly ceremony honoring these sailors
with a 21 gun salute, taps, and a special service!

Next stop was the Ocracoke Lighthouse which is another very well maintained property.  You can't go in it, but you can get "up close and personal". The lightkeepers house is also there.  It is North Carolina's oldest lighthouse in operation and the 2nd oldest still in operation in the US.  As 65 feet tall, it is the smallest lighthouse on the Outer Banks.

Quite a setting and all the buildings in such good repair!

That little white "shed" held the whale, porpoise,
or kerosene oil, depending what was used at the time
for lighting!

Well, Ken, that is a unique shot!

We stopped at a couple unique gift shops and then decided we were hungry.  A local shop owner said we should go to Jason's for delicious pizza.  We had packed our lunches, but pizza sounded too good to pass up.  So we rode to the edge of town and enjoyed a delicious pizza. 

Then it was off to Springers Point where the pirate, Blackbeard was supposed to have been beheaded and legend says his headless body went around the ship 3X (some say 7) before drowning!  Who knows????  While there we saw a small cemetery plot where a man and his horse were buried.  (More to come!)

Just a little history for you!

A nice trail! 

Looking out over the Atlantic!

From there we rode passed The Castle, an 11 room successful Bed and Breakfast.  The Castle was built in the 1950's by Sam Jones, a prominent developer and builder of the times.  He was very unique gentleman who did not follow a blueprint but sort of built as the "project developed".  He would entertain guests in the evening with sing alongs and his horse, Ikey D was often standing by the piano enjoying the singing.  When Sam died in 1977, he was not buried with his 1st or 2nd wife, but in a plot next to Ikey D.  

This is The Castle - very beautiful and large!

This is the 2 plot graveyard at Springer's
Point for Sam Jones and Ikey D!

We rode back to our CRV, loaded the bikes, and were on our way back to the ferry.  We did make a stop right near the ferry dock to take one more time to look for shells.  When we arrived at the ferry at 5:10, they had us board immediately and park sideways on the back almost against a van and within a minute we were moving.  It had gotten very windy today but the ferry ride was wonderful.

We decided to make one more stop when we got back to the Outer Banks at Burger Burger, Chuck and Melissa's all time favorite place for a hamburger and sweet potato fries.  So, we had to try it and they were exactly right.  The food was delicious.  Wow, pizza and burgers all in one day!  That is a special treat for these folks.  

We were back to Waldo by 7:30 and I walked to the beach while Ken drove across the road to view the sunset that never really happened.  It was behind the clouds.

To me it looks like a warship.  Okay, so I have a good
By 9 we were both tired and ready to call it a day, but what a special and fascinating one.  We are loving are time on the Outer Banks!

1 comment:

  1. We never made that trip while we were in that area. Sounds like something that we may like to do some day.