The highlights of the year on the islands
….WITH SLIDE SHOW
Island Free Press photographer Don Bowers has put together his view of
the year on Hatteras and Ocracoke through his camera lens.
The photos cover events large and small that are basically very
And that’s what life is like every year for islanders and our regular
The slide show begins last year – New Year’s Eve of 2009 – when the
folks at Conner’s Supermarket in Buxton wound up
anniversary celebration by raffling off a 2009 Chevy
Customers had been entering with their receipts all year, and the
winner was Dennis Waters of Taylorsville, N.C.
An interesting event last winter, especially for anyone who spent any
time on the beach, was the U.S. Geological Survey’s scientific study of
processes. For weeks, beach goers could see boats,
and amphibious vehicles at work.
And, of course, the main event of the winter was the move of Serendipity, the beach
became famous in the feature film, “Nights in Rodanthe,” starring
Richard Gere and Diane Lane.
The iconic house was built in 1988 and was the northernmost cottage on
Hatteras Island. However, erosion had seriously threatened
and it was condemned by Dare County after a 2009 northeaster.
Ben and Debbie Huss, huge fans of the movie and Hatteras and Ocracoke
islands, came to the rescue. They bought the house the first
in January and hired Expert House Movers, the company that moved the
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in 1999, to jack it up, load it on a flatbed
trailer, and move it about a half mile south to another lot with a
spectacular ocean view but less threatened by the ocean. The move
happened on Monday, Jan. 18.
After about four months of repairs and renovations, Serendipity was restored to its former glory
looks just as it did in the film.
The Bodie Island Lighthouse has been
much-needed and long-awaited facelift. The $2.8 million
restore and refurbish the lighthouse got underway late in 2009 and is
expected to take about 18 months.
When the restoration is finished, sometime in 2011, the Park Service is
planning to allow the public to climb to the top.
The Lady Hurricanes basketball team had
bang-up season. In late February, the team became
champions after several exciting games. The Lady Canes
to the state tournament, but, alas, lost their first game in early
The Hatteras village shipwreck at the end of
Road has continued to fascinate locals and visitors for many
The very large, old, and interesting wreck is periodically uncovered by
coastal storms and then covered again by sand, and much more of it has
been visible in recent years because of winds and tides that take sand
off the beach.
Don Bowers photographed the wreck on a stormy day in March.
And an Island Free Press reader, Helen Pannell of Salvo, sent us
terrific photos she took of the wreck in late October after Hurricane
Earl and several other storms brushed the coast. They comprise our
second year-end slide show.
A new Dare County Department of Parks and
and Hatteras Island Babe Ruth Baseball field was dedicated on April 17
in Buxton and named for Maurice “Dick” Burrus, a Hatteras
native who played baseball for the major leagues.
Throughout the winter and into the spring, work continued on Clam Shoal off Hatteras Island to restore an
reef there. The funds, which provided jobs for several
came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Portsmouth Island’s Homecoming
this year was April
24. Every other year, descendants of island families and visitors who
have come to love Portsmouth gather for a church service, singing, and
dinner on the grounds.
In May, a 32-foot juvenile humpback whale stranded
itself on a
shoal in Hatteras Inlet and caused quite a stir and various
and wildlife officials tried to save it. In the end, the
The two major issues on the islands this year were, as they have been
for some years now, the replacement of the aging Bonner Bridge to
Hatteras Island and the future of beach access in the Cape Hatteras
The third annual “Stand in the Sand” was on June
this year and raised money for the groups that are fighting for beach
In July, what might be the oldest shipwreck in North Carolina was moved
from Corolla on the northern Outer Banks where it was discovered to the
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras village. The overnight move on a flatbed trailer
smoothly, despite stormy weather.
July 4 fireworks displays were cancelled on
and Ocracoke islands this year in the wake of a tragic explosion last year that killed four
for a pyrotechnics company and injured another. After the
explosion, the state wrote new regulations for folks who handle the
fireworks, and the organizers of the three displays on the islands
couldn’t get workers certified in time or didn’t want to spend the
money in tight economic times.
In late summer, Jeff Johnston of the Greystone Project in New York
traveled to Hatteras with employees and colleagues to film a video on the beach access issue on
It was entitled “Piping Mad” and it got wide exposure on YouTube. It
was later made into a full-length documentary that has not been shown
Hatteras and Ocracoke were lucky this year during a busy hurricane
season. A few storms passed offshore and brought heavy seas,
only one – Earl in early September – got close enough to do minor
damage. The fishing pier in Frisco, which
has been in bad
shape and closed for several seasons, took a major beating from the
And several regular fall events were major undertakings for islanders
and attracted good crowds. They included Day at the Docks: A Celebration of Hatteras
Watermen in September and Bike the Light and Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation’s Fun Run
And December brought some movement on two issues that have plagued the
islands for decades.
On the same day, The National Park Service and the Federal Highway
Administration issued Records of Decision that will affect our future.
Park Service signed off on an environmental study that will be the
basis for off-road vehicle regulations next year.
And the Federal Highway Administration signed
off on a
much-studied, discussed, and delayed replacement for the Bonner Bridge.
A few other notable events happened this year.
On Dec. 7, voters in the villages of Buxton, Frisco,
approved a referendum on selling mixed drinks in restaurants
And University Health Systems of Greenville, N.C., announced it would
close one of its two medical centers on Hatteras. HealthEast Family Care in Hatteras village
on Dec. 30. Villagers are making other plans to
offer health care in the building, which is owned by the county.
And, finally, the day after Christmas, a northeaster moved past
Hatteras and Ocracoke with a promise of some snow. To the
and west, there was plenty of snow. But our islands saw only
dusting of the white stuff – and plenty of wind.
Happy New Year.
HERE TO SEE A SLIDE SHOW OF THE YEAR IN PHOTOS: 2010
HERE TO SEE A SLIDE SHOW OF THE HATTERAS VILLAGE SHIPWRECK