Ocracoke Island Journal

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An Occasional Journal of Daily Island Life.Philiphttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01572532603071469799noreply@blogger.comBlogger3881125
Updated: 20 hours 35 min ago

Hovercraft

Mon, 02/08/2016 - 06:00
Here is an idea that seemed promising at the time, but never "took off." In 1970 a Raleigh business, Variety Vacations and Sports Enterprises, introduced the new idea of using hovercraft on the Outer Banks. "Able to travel on both land and water," the hovercraft was demonstrated for the curious in Roanoke Sound. Hovercraft use blowers to produce a large volume of air below the hull that is slightly above atmospheric pressure, which lifts the vessel above any flat surface.

I couldn't find a picture of a 1970 hovercraft, but located this one of a recent hovercraft in operation in Germany.

Photo by Stoaberg (Wikipedia)
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode














Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about islanders who worked on the water, and lost their lives at sea. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012116.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Hunting

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 06:10
Waterfowl hunting has been a tradition on the Outer Banks for hundreds of years. Here is a 1960s photo of an Ocracoke hunter. Can any of our readers identify this man?


















For information about waterfowl hunting in the 2015-2016 season, click here: http://www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/Regs/Documents/Waterfowl-Late-Seasons.pdf.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about islanders who worked on the water, and lost their lives at sea. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012116.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

The Big Freeze

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 05:00
Thurston Gaskill (1902-2000) remembered "The Big Freeze of 1917." In David Shears' 1989 book, Ocracoke, Its History and People, Thurston recalls that winter:

"You could walk on the ice of Pamlico Sound. You didn't try to walk all the way across because it was anybody's guess as to how thick it froze. I've no doubt that you can't solidly freeze a body of water as close to Ocraocke Inlet as we were located, at our hunting camp on little Beacon Island about three miles west of Ocracoke. One could look out and see not just a flat sheet of ice but real mounds where the ice had skidded on top. My father and I and our companion named Bill Williams spent 21` days at the camp. For heating we just had our regular supplies for the plain wood stove. Wood was all we'd got. We had no radios in those days so we just sat it out."

For more about the Big Freeze of 1917, read our 2014 post: The Winter of 1917-1918

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about islanders who worked on the water, and lost their lives at sea. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012116.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Another Beach Find

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 05:43
It is always interesting to find starfish on the beach. Sometimes hundreds of them wash up at the same time (is it part of their natural life cycle, the result of unusual currents, or because of some other factor?). Normally we find colorful purple and orange starfish (Astropecten articulatus), or larger gray starfish (Luidia clathrata). Every once in a while these plumper specimens, sometimes just called common sea stars, wash up.















Can any of our readers provide the full scientific name for this echinoderm?

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about islanders who worked on the water, and lost their lives at sea. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012116.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

19th Century Schoolhouse

Tue, 02/02/2016 - 04:45
In the late 1800s a fierce storm brought tide into the village from the ocean side. A schoolhouse located "Down Point" was badly damaged. Accounts indicate that the sea tide swirled around the building and undermined the foundation piers. As the tide rose higher the schoolhouse was lifted up and washed across the road onto a lot owned by James and Laurette Bragg (today Leroy O'Neal has a home on this lot, not far from Albert Styron's Store).

In 1894 James and Laurette Bragg sold their property to the Schoolhouse Committee since the schoolhouse was already on the land. The schoolhouse was "moved by the hand of God" according to 19th century islanders.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about islanders who worked on the water, and lost their lives at sea. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012116.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Photos Anyone?

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 06:01
I was recently given a box of old copies of the Ocracoke Island News. In the March 31, 1983, issue I read about a Variety Show Fund Raiser.

David Senseney was the Master of Ceremonies. There were various skits and songs performed by local entertainers and musicians. The highlight of the evening was the "Miss Ocracoke 1983" contest. The contestants were Reggie Ballance (Miss National Park Service), Jim Strickland (Miss Coast Guard), Mark Wilkinson (Miss Hog Shoal), Henry Ballinger (Miss Pit Toilet), Chester Lynn (Miss Patties Holler), and Wylie Whitehurst (Miss Cat Ridge). Danny Garrish was the Master of Ceremonies for the "beauty pageant." Kevin Cutler, Jenetta Henning, and Marion Austin were the judges.

Second runner up was Miss National Park Service.
First runner up was Miss Coast Guard.
The new Miss Ocracoke 1983 was Miss Cat Ridge.

The Variety Show raised $534.04 for the Ocracoke Fire and Rescue Squad.

If anyone has photos of this event please send copies to me. I would love to print them! And...maybe we should have a Miss Ocracoke 2016 contest sometime this winter. Another fund raiser for the Fire Department maybe??

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about islanders who worked on the water, and lost their lives at sea. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012116.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Rough Delivery

Fri, 01/29/2016 - 05:34
As most of our readers know, Ocracoke does not have a hospital. Island women are often asked what they do when they are about to have a baby. Usually women leave the island a week or so before their delivery date, but sometimes nature has a way of thwarting their plans. Following is a newspaper announcement from January 21, 1971:

"Mrs. Dorothy Williams [1944-2005] of Ocracoke had what could be called a very rough delivery. A 30-foot Coast Guard Boat, which had picked up Mrs. Williams to take her to Hatteras to have her baby, was immobilized in heavy seas after running onto shoals. An open 17-footer tried but was unable to get along side the boat due to heavy seas and wind. Finally, an amphibious vehicle of the Coast Guard rolled aboard the Coast Guard boat, bringing Dr. Dan Burroughs who delivered the baby in knee-deep water."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about islanders who worked on the water, and lost their lives at sea. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012116.htm


Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Boat Building

Thu, 01/28/2016 - 05:30
Wooden boatbuilding has long been an important cultural tradition in coastal North Carolina. But nowhere has it had more of an impact than on Harkers Island. UNCTV, North Carolina's public broadcasting station is airing a documentary on this tradition tonight at 8 pm. Click on the link above to see various ways to watch this program.


Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about islanders who worked on the water, and lost their lives at sea. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012116.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

On This Date, 1842

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 06:30
 From The Republican(Carthage, TN) - Friday, March 4, 1842; pg. 2; column 1:

"The bark Astoria Mitchel[l], which sailed hence on the 16th of January for New York with a cargo of molasses, flour, whiskey, etc., struck on the Round shoal of Cape Hatteras on Saturday night, January 27th, at 9 o'clock and soon after beat over the breakers and at 10 sunk. The captain, crew and passengers were all saved. 

A bark (also spelled barc or barque) is a sailing vessel with three or more masts. The foremast and mainmast are square rigged (the sails are hung from spars [or yards] that are perpendicular to the ship's keel), and the mizzen mast (the aft mast) is fore and aft rigged (the sails are rigged parallel with the line of the keel).

Below is a Wikipedia photo of a typical bark.

By Unknown (Gift; State Historical Society of Colorado; 1949)
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons















The Astoria Mitchell is just one of many ships lost off the Outer Banks of North Carolina. 

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about islanders who worked on the water, and lost their lives at sea. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012116.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Oysters

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 05:57
In December I published a post about the annual Oyster Roast sponsored by the Ocracoke Working Watermen's Association. Unfortunately I missed this event. However, the day after I returned home I had the good fortune to join friends for oysters, beer, dip, chocolate cake, and congenial conversation.














Other than reuniting with Amy, David, & Lachlan, there is hardly a more fitting "Welcome Home" than a get-together with fresh steamed North Carolina oysters and close friends.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about islanders who worked on the water, and lost their lives at sea. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012116.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Ocracoke Take-Out

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 05:40
Ordering take-out food usually means dealing with Styrofoam containers and plastic knives & forks. Sitting down to eat can be more utilitarian than elegant. Not so the other day when I ordered chicken enchiladas and tropical tacos from Eduardo's.When he called me up to the window I was presented with my order artistically arranged on two beautiful hand-painted china plates. 














Amy and Lachlan were joining me for dinner (David was off the island with Molasses Creek). This feast called for a bottle of wine, pottery plates, and a candle.














What a delight to have Eduardo on the island. Excellent food even if it is presented in Styrofoam containers. Be sure to patronize Eduardo soon. You will be glad you did!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about islanders who worked on the water, and lost their lives at sea. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012116.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Art Auction

Fri, 01/22/2016 - 05:50
It is almost time for another Ocracoke Preservation Society Art Auction. This coming Saturday, January 23, from 5 to 7 pm, numerous original works of art by Ocracoke Island residents, friends, and visitors will be on display at the museum, and available to be auctioned. This is a silent auction, and bids start at $10. You can view photos of the offerings and read information about on-line bidding here).

Their are many items to choose from. The following three examples were created by Nancy Carlson (top), Bob Ray (middle), and Nancy Hicks (bottom):





















For detailed information and to see the art work please go to to the OPS Facebook Page.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about islanders who worked on the water, and lost their lives at sea. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012116.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

January Newsletter

Thu, 01/21/2016 - 06:02
We have just published our latest Ocracoke Newsletter. As most of our readers know, seafaring and fishing were major occupations for many islanders, and working on the water was often dangerous. This month we share a list of Ocracoke residents and others connected with our island who lost their lives at sea, from the early 1800s through the mid-1960s. For some we only have the briefest of information e.g. lost at sea"), for others we have newspaper accounts and family stories. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012116.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Blowfish, Puffer Fish, Sea Squab

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 06:17
I spotted this puffer fish washed up on the beach this winter.















Sometimes called blowfish or sea squab, many people refuse to eat them because of their reputation for being poisonous. However, blowfish caught in Carolina waters are generally non-toxic and delicious. According to the web site Examiner.com, puffer fish are perfectly safe to eat once the roe is discarded.

Here is a short video showing how to clean North Carolina puffer fish:


And here is a recipe. As islanders say, "they are good eatin'!!"

Breaded Blowfish

20 blowfish strips from 10 fish
½ cup flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 egg
½ cup milk
seafood seasoning
olive oil

Season blowfish with seafood seasoning. Break open egg and mix with milk, stirring until egg is beaten. Combine flour and cornmeal. Heat olive oil in a pan, just covering the bottom. Dip blowfish in milk and eggs then roll in flour and cornmeal. Sauté quickly over medium high heat until fish is golden brown, 7 to 9 minutes. Serves 3.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Capt. Horatio Williams and his schooner, the Paragon. You can read the story here: www.villagecraftsmen.com/news112115.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

1718 Brewing Ocracoke

Tue, 01/19/2016 - 06:17
Many of our readers were disappointed when one of the island's most popular restaurants, the Cafe Atlantic, closed its doors more than a year ago. If I remember correctly, the Cafe, owned and operated by Bob & Ruth Toth, opened in 1988. Amy recently found these photos of the building when it was brand new.



















This winter Garrick & Jacqui Kalna have been having the former Cafe Atlantic remodeled and expanded, and have plans to open a new venture there, the 1718 Ocracoke Brew Pub, in the spring.














I will publish more information about the 1718 Brew Pub as the grand opening approaches.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Capt. Horatio Williams and his schooner, the Paragon. You can read the story here: www.villagecraftsmen.com/news112115.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Tube Sponge?

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 05:52
As some of our readers noticed, I was off the island for a couple of months this winter (I was in Berlin, trying to improve my German). When I returned home last week I noticed that someone had left what looks like a tube sponge in my yard by my front steps.














The item is flexible, but not especially fragile. Can any of our readers provide a more precise identification of this marine specimen?

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Capt. Horatio Williams and his schooner, the Paragon. You can read the story here: www.villagecraftsmen.com/news112115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Spencer House Update

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 05:36
On November 30 of last year I published a post about the Spencer House on Lighthouse Road. 

Photo by Henry Raup












At that time I wrote "The house on the right, a traditional island "story and a jump," was built in the early 20th century by Andrew Spencer. The last resident was his cousin, Caswell Spencer (1886-1905).

An alert reader left this comment: " Philip - I'm wondering if the death date for Caswell Spenser, 1905 at age 19, is correct. The numbers don't add up. The story and a jump house was built in early 1900s, he was the last resident. That's a maximum of 4 years he lived there before dying, after which the house stood empty for 85 years before being torn down? A death date of 1965, plus or minus, would fit the numbers you have given."

I replied, "I think I did make a mistake, but I am not sure of the correct dates.... [C]heck back now and then [and I will try to find the correct dates]. Thanks for the keen observation!"

According to the National Register of Historic Places' list of Ocracoke's contributing structures, the house in question is referred to as "the Andrew Spencer House." It was built in the "early 20th century" on "land belonging to John Spencer." I am guessing the first owner of the house was Andrew Spencer, Jr. (1885-1947), who received the land from his first cousin, John [William] Spencer (1859-1927). 

I believe the last resident of the house was William Caswell ("Caswell") Spencer (1912-1979), grandson of John William Spencer (1859-1927). Caswell Spencer (1886-1905), whom I mistakenly listed as the last owner, was William Caswell Spencer's uncle. Neither Caswell nor William Caswell ever married or had children.

Many members of this extended family continue to live on Ocracoke. If I am wrong, I hope someone will correct me. 

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Capt. Horatio Williams and his schooner, the Paragon. You can read the story here: www.villagecraftsmen.com/news112115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Fish Camps

Thu, 01/14/2016 - 05:24
Occasionally in this blog I have mentioned "fish camps." In December a reader left this comment: "Where and what and when were the fish camps?"

In August of 2012 I wrote this: "Fish camps are part of a long tradition on Ocracoke. Primitive camps [constructed of bull rushes] were erected "down below" (that's the part of the island north of Ocracoke village) many years ago. More recent camp buildings from the early and mid twentieth century were simple wood frame constructions.

"Alton Ballance, in his book Ocracokers, quotes old timers who described the original camps. They were constructed from black needle rushes near the tidal creeks. Alton's source, Sullivan Garrish, says they were A-frame huts, but at least some of them were shaped more like yurts. Cooking was done outside whenever possible. If it rained they would cut a hole in the roof to let the smoke out."

An Early 20th Century Fish Camp












The photograph above is from "The Fishes of North Carolina," by Hugh McCormick Smith, North Carolina Geological and Economic Survey, plate No. 20, published by E. M. Uzzell & Co., Raleigh, North Carolina, 1907. The other structure is a net drying rack.

In his book, The Waterman's Song, Slavery and Freedom in Maritime North Carolina, David Cecelski comments on the integrated 19th century mullet camps at Davis Ridge in coastal North Carolina. Cecelski writes, "Out on those remote islands, black and white mullet fishermen lived, dined, and worked together all autumn, temporarily sharing a life beyond the pale of the stricter racial barriers ashore."

He reproduces an engraving of mullet fishermen at their camp on Shackleford Banks ca. 1880.

Engraving by George Brown Goode, ca. 1880











"Look closely," he writes, "and what stands out immediately are the equal numbers of black and white fishermen, their intermingled pose, their close quarters, their obvious familiarity -- one might say chuminess -- and the unclear lines of authority."

By the 20th century most fish camps consisted of small wood-frame buildings.

In December of last year I published a mid-1970s photo of two small rental cottages which I mistakenly believed were built from lumber salvaged from the old Navy Base. Ocracoke islander Charlie O'Neal made this correction: "They were moved from the fish camps by Stanley Wahab. There were a total of four moved there!"

"Fish Camps" moved to Ocracoke Village after WWII











Since the mid-1950s, when the National Park Service purchased most of the land outside Ocracoke village, the old fish camps have been demolished or moved. However, a number of small, current day "fish camps" with boat docks have been erected along a boardwalk on the marsh bordering a tidal creek at the end of Cuttin Sage Lane in the Oyster Creek area. They have been described as the original "man caves."

Ocracoke Fish Camps, 2016

















For a description of modern mullet fishing (not all that different from the 19th century method) read this paper from the North Carolina Maritime Museum (a "stop net," also called a "set net" is a type of seine): http://ncmaritimemuseums.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Stop_Net_Fishing_for_Mullet.pdf .

For more information about renting a coastal North Carolina fish camp, read this 1996 article on the web site of the Philadelphia Inquirer: http://articles.philly.com/1996-07-21/news/25621715_1_outer-banks-20-knot-winds-bait.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Capt. Horatio Williams and his schooner, the Paragon. You can read the story here: www.villagecraftsmen.com/news112115.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

24 Acres

Wed, 01/13/2016 - 06:00
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Coastal Land Trust acquires land on Ocracoke Island

The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust announced that it has recently acquired 24 acres of barrier island hammock and marshes on the east side of Ocracoke Village. Located between Cape Hatteras National Seashore and the Ocracoke Community Ball Field, its preservation is a critical conservation addition to the island. Conservation of the property protects habitat for bird species such as Seaside Sparrow, Saltmarsh Sparrow, Black Rail, Yellow Rail, and Painted Buntings, and also protects the scenic view from N. C. Highway No. 12.

The property was conveyed to the Coastal Land Trust by the Ocracoke Preservation Society, a community-based organization dedicated to Ocracoke Island’s historical and cultural heritage. Philip Howard, President of Ocracoke Preservation Society, said “We are delighted to be able to partner with the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust in preserving this significant tract of undeveloped land, both because of its environmental importance, and because of its potential to provide islanders and visitors with an appreciation for the beauty and significance of a pristine Outer Banks marsh.” The property was originally donated to Ocracoke Preservation Society by Ross Lampe and family of Smithfield, NC.

The Coastal Land Trust hopes eventually to construct a nature walkway and interpretive signage on this newly-acquired property to enhance its enjoyment by the community. An additional management goal will be eradication or control of an invasive plant species, Phragmites, along one boundary of the property. 
The Coastal Land Trust also owns and manages the island’s largest nature preserve, Springer’s Point Nature Preserve, located on the west side of Ocracoke Village. “Ocracoke Island is such a special place,” said Lee Leidy, Northeast Director of the Coastal Land Trust. “We are delighted to be involved in preserving one of the largest remaining tracts of undeveloped land in the village. This conservation tract will be a great asset to the community, especially because it adjoins the exciting new Community Ball Field, which is the island’s first sports field. We are so pleased to work with the wonderful residents of Ocracoke Island once again.” With this new tract, the Coastal Land Trust becomes the largest non-government land owner on Ocracoke Island.
The Coastal Land Trust received two grants that helped defray, in part, its acquisition expenses; one from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and one from the Conservation Trust of North Carolina; additional funds are being sought in the amount of $5,000.
About North Carolina Coastal Land Trust:
The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust works to save the lands you love at the coast, for the benefit of all North Carolinians.  A membership organization, the Coastal Land Trust has helped save 65,000 acres of land in 22 coastal counties of the state since 1992.  The Coastal Land Trust has offices in Elizabeth City, Wilmington and New Bern.
For more information on North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, please visit www.CoastalLandTrust.organd join the email list. 
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Capt. Horatio Williams and his schooner, the Paragon. You can read the story here: www.villagecraftsmen.com/news112115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Ocracoke Inlet

Tue, 01/12/2016 - 05:47
Ocracoke Inlet is the only Outer Banks inlet that has been continuously open since Europeans began keeping records. Numerous other inlets have opened and closed in the last 450 years. Because of its strategic location and navigable status Ocracoke Inlet saw considerable shipping traffic. In the early 19th century as many as 1400 sailing vessels passed through Ocracoke Inlet in a year's time.

Historic Inlets
From Place Names of the Outer Banks
by Roger L. Payne



















In 1846 the situation changed. In that year a hurricane opened Hatteras Inlet, and mariners soon discovered that the new inlet was less dangerous and more easily navigated. As shipping moved to Hatteras Inlet, so did many of the pilots from Ocracoke and Portsmouth who guided ships from the Atlantic into Pamlico Sound.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Capt. Horatio Williams and his schooner, the Paragon. You can read the story here: www.villagecraftsmen.com/news112115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs