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Instructions

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sat, 05/17/2014 - 04:39
In 1921 the US Government Printing Office published "Instructions for United States Coast Guard Stations." The duties and responsibilities of surfmen included the following:

"A surfman on lookout...shall not sit down, lie down, sleep, read, entertain visitors, or do anything else that will tend to interfere with the proper discharge of his duties... He shall not take into the lookout any book, paper, pamphlet, or other reading matter, or any chair, stool, bench, or other seat, nor shall he permit any such article or articles or any person not connected with the service in the lookout while he is on watch."

US Coast Guard Station, Portsmouth Island














Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

The Atlantic

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 05/16/2014 - 05:10
Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008, science fiction writer, past Chairman of the British Interplanetary Society, a member of the Academy of Astronautics & the Royal Astronomical Society) is purported to have said, "How inappropriate to call this planet Earth, when clearly it is Ocean."

Living on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, as we do here on Ocracoke Island, does not always impress us with the true immensity of this vast body of water. Our daily lives are centered around the village, and only a few of us venture off-shore. Those who do, generally go to fishing areas in the Gulf Stream, about 25 miles from land.















Simon Winchester, in his 2010 book, Atlantic, reminds us how "incalculably large the Atlantic happens to be."

Winchester observes that "A big ocean -- and the Atlantic is a very big ocean indeed -- has the appearance of a settled permanence. Stand anywhere beside it, and stare across its swells toward the distant horizon, and you are swiftly lulled into the belief that it has been there forever. All who like the sea -- and surely there can be precious few who do not -- have a favored place in which to stand and stare...."

My favored place, and perhaps yours as well, is right here on Ocracoke.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.

Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Decoys

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 05/15/2014 - 05:08
Waterfowl hunting has been a part of island life since the arrival of the first settlers. Of course, hunting is a fall and winter activity. But even in the warmer months you can see evidence of hunting if you look closely. These decoys hang on a fence on Howard Street.














Only waterfowl hunting is permitted within Cape Hatteras National Seashore...and only those species which are in season may be taken. For more information please click here: http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/waterfowlhunting_2013b.htm.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Spider in the Shower

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 05/14/2014 - 04:08
Lately I've had a tiny creature accompanying me in my outdoor shower. At first I didn't notice him; then when I turned to dry off I saw the web glistening in the morning light.

Follow Directions on Right to Enlarge


















I'm not sure how long he intends to stick around, but I'm careful not to disturb him. As long as the rest of his family doesn't move in with him I am happy to share the space.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

USLHE Line Post

Ocracoke Island Journal - Tue, 05/13/2014 - 04:38
On your next visit to the Ocracoke light house, keep your eyes open for the line marker.




















The marker has the letters, US LHE carved on it. The line post is on the edge of the marshy area a short distance from the end of the boardwalk. The letters stand for United States Light House Establishment.

The U.S. Light House Establishment was created by the First Congress in 1789 to manage the twelve colonial lighthouses that were put under the care of the federal government. The Light House Establishment was also empowered to oversee construction of new lighthouses.

Ocracoke light house was built in 1823, and is the oldest operating light house in North Carolina.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Blue Bloods

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 05/12/2014 - 04:24
According to Ronald G. Hellman and Janis A. Roze, in their paper, The Resilient Horseshoe Crab: Guardian of Time, "On one of his expeditions to the New World, Sir Walter Raleigh came across strange creatures on the coast of North Carolina, and named them ‘horseshoe crabs’" (http://web.gc.cuny.edu/sciart/0102/rhsc/page.htm).















Horseshoe crabs (in spite of their name, these creatures are marine arthropods, not true crabs) spawn in the spring. According to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, "Spawning usually coincides with the high tide during the full and new moon. Breeding activity is consistently higher during the full moon than the new moon and is also greater during the night."

Although Delaware Bay hosts the largest spawning population of horseshoe crabs in the world, North Carolina has its fair share of these "creatures from the past."

The April 14, 2014 issue of The New Yorker has an informative article titled Blue Bloods about horseshoe crabs. The author, Ian Frazier, writes, "Horseshoe-crab blood is blue. I had never seen it before; unless the heart is pierced, the structure of the animal's anatomy generally keeps it from serious bleeding. The blue comes from hemocyanin, a copper-containing protein that transports oxygen in the blood, like the iron-containing hemoglobin in red blood."

Fascinating creatures, these horseshoe crabs! Take a few moments to appreciate these amazing animals the next time you spy one washed up on the beach...or encounter one in Pamlico Sound.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Onions

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 05/11/2014 - 05:08
Look at vintage photos of Ocracoke yards, and you will see well-tended gardens. Nearly every house had a garden. Many also had chickens...and several had pigs. It was the custom years ago for houses to have two fences around their property. The outer fence kept the wild horses from tromping through the yard, and the inner fence kept the chickens away from the garden.

Nowadays there aren't quite as many vegetables grown on the island, but you will still see a number of beautiful, well kept gardens throughout the village.

A few days ago Michael brought a fistful of fresh onions for Amy & David. The aroma was heavenly!



















Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Clamming

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sat, 05/10/2014 - 04:09
Spring is here...the water in the Sound is warming up...and clamming season is upon us. All you need is a clam rake, a clam basket, and access to the clam beds!



Last month I shared information about Marcus Lawson and his new venture -- Clam Digger, Flounder Gigger Charters. Check out his web site for more information: https://www.facebook.com/clamdigger.floundergigger.

Clamming is a great way to experience the tranquility of a few hours in Pamlico Sound...and to gather supper for you and your family.

You can contact Marcus at clamdiggerfloundergigger@gmail.com or by phone at 252-921-0279.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Shards

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 05/09/2014 - 06:57
Lately I have noticed certain areas of the beach covered with pieces of broken seashells.This photo may not look terribly impressive, but I find it fascinating that ocean currents deposit so many shards in one location, and, just a few steps away, hardly any.


















If I had the time and talent, I would consider fashioning a mosaic from these shell fragments. As it is, I will simply enjoy nature's art work.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

British Cemetery

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 05/08/2014 - 05:10
Tomorrow, May 9, at 11:00 am visitors will join island residents, representatives of the British and Canadian embassies, US Coast Guard dignitaries, Ocracoke school students, and others to remember those who gave their lives as they patrolled and protected the east coast of the United States during WWII.

Specifically remembered will be the crew of the British armed trawler, Bedfordshire which was torpedoed May 11, 1942. Four of the crew members are buried on Ocracoke.

British Cemetery, 1942
















You can read more about the British Cemetery here: http://www.outerbanks.com/british-cemeteries.html.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Stone Statues?

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 05/07/2014 - 05:02
Several days ago I shared a story from a book written in 1895, The 48th in the War, Being a Narrative of the Campaigns of the 48th Regiment, Infantry, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, During the War of the Rebellion.

The author, Oliver Christian Bosbyshell, describes his experiences on Hatteras Island. Below are his observations about burials on the Outer Banks.

"Directly opposite the [Methodist] meeting house is an old graveyard, wherein reposes the dust (if it is dust) of the ancient Hatterasins ; a lonely old place, with some curious inscriptions on its tombstones.

"Here’s one as a sample.

"In memory of Thos. Austin.
Died 1845. Aged 70 years.

"Thos. Austin. Was. His. Name.
Heaven. I. Hope. His. Station.
Hatteras. Was. His. Dwelling. Place.
And. Christ. Was. His. Salvation.
Now. He. Is. Dead. And. Buried.
All. His. Bones. Are. Rotten.
Remember. Him. When. This. You. See.
Least. He. Should. Be. Forgotten.

"The author of that epitaph was not familiar with the peculiar virtues of that old burying ground. Thomas, rest in peace; your bones are not all rotten, old boy—oh, no; listen! Diehl, of Company G, was buried in this graveyard. The authorities refused permission to send his body home.

"It is not the mere burying that makes the soldier’s funeral so inexpressibly solemn, it is the thought that there is no one near to mourn for him; none but the moaning wind and the ever roaring surf. It was a doleful funeral, tramping through the sand, up the island to this old graveyard. Digging the grave was not difficult. It was tedious to make it as deep as it should be. Two feet below the surface developed water, and the balance of the depth attained was through a constantly increasing volume of water. The coffin was lowered into the grave, and by the aid of sticks was pushed down under the water and held there until a sufficient quantity of the wet, sandy soil had been thrown upon it to prevent it from floating.

"Diehl was buried in December. The following May his body was disinterred, placed in a lead coffin, and sent North. But what a metamorphosis had taken place in the short time it had lain in this old graveyard. Through some chemical action the work of petrifaction had begun, the forehead had already turned to stone. A longer stay in the grave would have undoubtedly completed the change. This incident causes doubt as to the 'dust' of the old Hatteras folks reposing in this out-of-the-way graveyard, probably they are all stone statues, as it were. Had it been supposed that this was the case with the bodies silently resting here it would not have been remarkable, judging from the known tendency of some of the sojourners on Hatteras for practical jokes, to have discovered, on most any bright morning, all the old worthies unearthed from their salt, sandy, wet bed, and standing up as guardians over the places so long occupied by them."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Bare Feet

Ocracoke Island Journal - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 04:00
Summertime means bare feet on Ocracoke. When I was a boy I liked nothing better than running through soft sand on the island (except when the sand was so hot it scorched my feet...or where the sand was covered with sand spurs!).

Lachlan takes his shoes off at every opportunity. When I saw him with his bare feet propped up on my porch swing a few days ago I knew I had to take this photo.















Lachlan's feet were so dirty! They reminded me of when I was a teenager. I walked the village lanes with friends until after dark. My feet would be filthy dirty. When I returned home I was usually too tired to wash up properly (we had to fill a galvanized tub for bathing), so I just pulled on a pair of socks before I got into bed!

I have taught Lachlan that trick, but most of the time he is responsible, and cleans his feet before turning in for the night.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

An Unexpected Discovery

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 05/05/2014 - 04:30
On Saturday, as I was walking along the beach, I stumbled upon a cache of seashells tossed up by King Neptune.















The first item that caught my eye was the large, bright white sand dollar. Just a few steps away was a large area covered mostly with broken shards of seashells.

Upon closer inspection I noticed a couple of sturdy lettered olive shells. Within a very few minutes I had gathered a dozen and a half olives and a small piece of coral, as well as the sand dollar.

I left more shells for the next person who happened by. Keep your eyes open as you stroll along our beach (but don't ask me to tell you where I found these shells!).  

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

"Blackbeard" Costumes

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sat, 05/03/2014 - 04:56
Julia Howard's musical, A Tale of Blackbeard, was performed on the island 9 summers between 1974 and 1994. This well-loved play with lively action and catchy tunes (who, of those who have seen the musical, doesn't remember "Avast, Avast" & "Hey Diddle Honey"?) will be back this season. Performances are scheduled for May 15, 16, 17, & 18...and every Monday evening from June 9 to August 11.

1987 Performance, courtesy, Amy Howard













This Monday afternoon (May 5), from 3:30 until 5:00 the company, in cooperation with the Ocracoke Preservation Society, will have former "Blackbeard" costumes on exhibit at the museum. Pirate fare, including biscuits, beef jerky, and grog (non-alcoholic...sorry), will be served. The exhibit will remain up through the month of May.

As a special treat, the current cast of village girls and pirates will provide a sneak preview of several of their songs!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm


Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Latest News Re. Lifeguards

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 05/02/2014 - 04:59
According to the Ocracoke Current, "The National Park Service issued a notice of intent to contract for lifeguard services on Ocracoke for five days a week (Monday – Friday) this summer." The NPS is hoping Hyde County will ante up the money to fund lifeguards on the weekends.

Of course, islanders think it is the Park Service's responsibility to provide lifeguards seven days a week during the season.

Click on this link to learn more about this issue, and what you can do to make your voice heard:
http://www.ocracokecurrent.com/86888. Be sure to read the last paragraph!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm. Be sure to read the last paragraph!
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Wind

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 05/01/2014 - 04:18
I recently discovered a colorful chapter entitled "Hatteras" in an 1895 document...The 48th in the War, Being a Narrative of the Campaigns of the 48th Regiment, Infantry, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, During the War of the Rebellion

The author, Oliver Christian Bosbyshell, Late Major, was with Union troops when they attacked Fort Hatteras and Fort Clarke on Hatteras Island in 1861. The following excerpt in which Bosbyshell describes the windy conditions on Hatteras will be familiar to any resident or visitor to the Outer Banks, especially campers.


Flags of the 48th Reg."Generally it was not a difficult matter for a soldier to pitch a tent. It would not have been difficult at Hatteras if the wind could have been subdued. Wind! Speaking of wind, do you remember how the wind blew at Hatteras? What a dreadful draft it was! Hark! its [sic] snapping the tent-fly now. It is a mighty, rushing torrent of air, sweeping continuously in furious blasts, with irresistible force—keen, sharp, penetrating, unrelenting in its terrific power, unabating in its fury—driving the sand into mouth, nose, eyes, ears and hair. ’Twas such a wind greeted the pitching of the tents around Fort Clarke. The more the boys tugged and pulled to keep the tents upright, the more the wind seemed to howl, 'You can’t! you shan’t!' then it would come along with such a whack that every muscle had to be strained to keep the tent in place. Under these circumstances the ordinary Yankee got his blood up, and wind or no wind the tents had to go up, and at last, at last, they were secured. It was night, however, and an early retirement after the day’s hard labor was deemed advisable. To the sound of the flip, flap, flopping of the tent-flys, and ever roaring of the breakers, forgetfulness crept over the 29 camp as each tent lodger snoozed calmly as a summer morn, when flop, whiz-z-z the corner of the tent blew up! Misplaced confidence in a sweetheart teaches the lover to sigh at the fickleness of woman, but, oh to have a tent prove false upon 'a lone, barren isle,' and, in the midst of a terrific rain storm, be obliged to face a Hatteras wind, with scant protection against its fury, frantically holding fast to the frail canvas house, waiting for a lull in the blast (vain hope) to afford an opportunity to repeg, is so overpoweringly harrowing to the feelings, and so indescribably uncomfortable, that it is only those who actually experienced it who fully understand its supreme misery."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Fire House

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 04/30/2014 - 04:17
The dedication of our new Fire House took place Sunday afternoon. A crowd of folks showed up to listen to a few short speeches (the best one was by our fire chief, Albert O'Neal -- "We couldn't have done this with you all. Thank you!"), and for the unveiling of the bronze dedication plaque. There was time to tour the facility...and to partake of homemade goodies. Here are a few photos.

Neighbors gather to listen to the Presentations













Many Folks arrived on Bikes
Tommy & Julia Hutcherson
The Dedication Plaque
Turn-out Gear
Our Shiny Red Firetrucks












































































Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Portsmouth

Ocracoke Island Journal - Tue, 04/29/2014 - 04:44
The theme of this past weekend's Homecoming on Portsmouth Island was a celebration of the 100 year old Methodist Church. Because of a recent minor back injury I decided not to risk the boat ride over. However, my friend, Jim, from Manteo, went. It was a beautiful day with clear skies, a gentle breeze...and very few mosquitoes. Nearly 500 people were in attendance. Jim graciously offered some of his photos for me to share with our readers. Click on any one to view a larger image.

Washington Roberts House
US Life Saving Station Dormitory
Henry Pigott's Skiff (Surfboat in Background)Island Cemetery
Opening of W. Roberts House
Interior, W. Roberts House
View Through a Window
View of Doctor's Creek from Henry's Kitchen
Dinner on the Grounds (Methodist Church in Background)
Pot Luck Dinner Fare!
























































































































































Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Annie Lou Gaskill Gaskins Exhibit

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 04/28/2014 - 04:25
This Wednesday, April 30, the Ocracoke Preservation Society will be honoring the family of Annie Lou Gaskill Gaskins with a special exhibit from 4 - 6 pm.

Annie Lou is the grand-daughter of Ocracoke native, William D. ("Captain Bill") Gaskill (1869-1935) and Annie Belle fulcher (1879-1941), also of Ocracoke.


Capt. Bill Gaskill













Capt. Bill was lost at sea in 1935. Captain Bill and Miss Annie owned the Pamlico Inn. The Inn was destroyed in the 1944 hurricane.
The Pamlico Inn










Come out to the museum on Wednesday to chat with Annie Lou and her extended Ocracoke Island family. Snacks will be served.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Sandals

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 04/27/2014 - 04:27
Amy stopped by Saturday morning. "What are those sandals doing over there in the corner of your yard?" she asked.




















"Oh, Katie was walking by last night, on her way to Zillie's," I said. "She wanted to go barefooted, and asked if she could leave her sandals here. Of course, I said she could. So Katie plopped her footwear over the fence, and continued on her way."

After giving Amy the explanation, I thought...what a unique place this is. It is not every community where neighbors leave their shoes in your yard so they can enjoy walking barefooted to meet friends and enjoy a glass of wine.

Who knows, the sandals may still be in my yard the next time you walk down Lawton Lane, a subtle symbol of a great community.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs
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