Ocracoke Island, NC
It had been several years since I’d been to Ocracoke Island, and with the National Park Service campground closing in a couple of weeks, I decided to head down for a bit of paddling and photography. After setting up camp, I hopped on the bike and rode down to the Village in time to catch the sunset over Silver Lake.
Although the calendar indicated that Sunday was the first day of Fall, no one bothered to tell the Outer Banks. Daytime temperatures were in the mid to high 80’s – not too bad. At night, however, it only dropped into the low 80’s with very little wind. Not exactly “good sleeping weather”. Combined with a torrential thunderstorm on Friday night and it’s safe to say that I spent a couple of restless nights. Even worse than the temperature, however, were the mosquitoes. Within seconds of emerging from the tent in the morning, you would literally be covered with them – especially if you were near any vegetation. Since everything arrives on Ocracoke via ferry, I’m sure that at least one is completely dedicated to bug repellent.
I hoped to paddle over to Portsmouth Island but the weather was still a bit uncertain on Saturday so I decided to stay nearby. Launching at the public launch site at the end of the Village, I paddled a couple of miles north. Other than stumbling onto a sandbar and having to paddle through six inches of water (quite annoying), it was a pleasant and relaxing trip.
Sunday morning was clear as a bell so I fought off the mosquitoes, broke camp, and headed back to the launch site for an early start. Heading south, I was being pulled by an outgoing tide and a bit of a tailwind. Making it almost to the end of Ocracoke Island, and seeing Portsmouth Island only a mile or so away, I decided to err on the side of caution and head back. Although the tide was starting to turn, I still had the wind to contend with. Stopping on a couple of nice beaches to take a break, it was nice 7.5 mile paddle.
I still want to get over to Portsmouth Island. I’ll do a little more research and chalk that up as a future overnight destination.
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