Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 19: Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

So after some light sleep, dreaming of fishing trawlers... oh wait, that wasn't a dream... we got up early and headed to catch the Cedar Island ferry over to Ocracoke Island, which is part of the North Carolina barrier island chain.  Ocracoke is also where the pirate, Blackbeard, was killed!

No better way to start the day than with a ferry ride!

It was a dreary morning but at least it wasn't raining and the ferry only cost $15. Much less than those Canadian ferries.

It took about 2 hours to get over to Ocracoke, which is a cute little tourist town but not terribly overrun since it can only be accessed by ferry.  The town only has a couple dozen streets (if that) and most visitors get around on rented bicycles...

...or golf carts.
When we arrived a couple of tour bus loads of teenagers were rampaging thru town, via rented bikes and golf carts, but they all loaded up and left by late afternoon.

Except for the town, most of the island is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore...

...and has beautiful, all but deserted beaches, at least when we were there...

...except for Stephen, and his 4 kids, on a cross country road trip in their classic VW camper van!  What a great family and they're having a blast.  They were constantly in motion and I couldn't get a group photo of them but that's Stephen scratching his knee.  He's an expert skier and Pedorthist in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  You can check him out at 

We'd been on the coast for nearly a week and hadn't had any seafood yet so we needed to take care of that before Angie's cravings took over and she had a nervous breakdown...

Shrimp to the rescue!
We ducked into Dajio and took advantage of their daily shrimp hour.

"Hey, what are those!?!"
Dajio was great but we weren't done so we headed down to the Topless Oyster for a dozen oysters...

...plus a little special treat, pea crabs!  These were inside a few of the oysters and about as big as your pinkie nail.  Never seen them before but we were assured they were pretty common and safe to eat.  They're tasty!

After the oysters, we were finally sated so it was time to head on to catch the next ferry to Hatteras where we planned to camp for the night.  On our way into the restaurant, a local had asked about the van. She had left by the time we were done with our oysters, but her companion, Robert, was still there and we paused to talk for a minute...

...and ended up drinking beer and camping in Robert's (and his dog, Bonz) driveway instead, oops!

Turns out Robert went to UT for awhile and lived in Austin, "back in the day", about the time Angie and I met.  We had a hilarious time trading stories, trying to figure out if we might have met before or had some friends in common.  I'm sure we probably do.  Robert is an interesting guy.  He's lived on the island for awhile, started the island's community radio station, works here and there, and plays a mean guitar.

These kind of happy accidents have become our favorite part of the trip.  The cities we visit and the natural beauty we see are fantastic but people, like Robert, that we meet along the way are what really makes it worthwhile!

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