Thursday morning, a team from Good Morning America landed on the new
island off of Cape Point to shoot live segments for the day’s show with
Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee.
the new island has certainly been covered by multiple media outlets,
this was the first time that a major network conducted a live broadcast
on this now famous formation.
“I saw that a couple other outlets had done stories on it,” says Zee. “…But [I thought] I would love to do it live.”
doing a bit of investigating, Zee was drawn to the island story because
of several pieces of misinformation that were floating around. “The
reporting didn’t match the research I had been doing,” she says, noting
that she talked to Dr. Stan Riggs of East Carolina University, who
pointed out that despite several reports, the island didn’t form
because of the offshore Gulf Stream or Labrador currents.
“That immediately changed everything,” she adds. “[We wanted] to share the real reason why Shelly Island formed.”
A whirlwind trip to Hatteras Island soon followed.
and her team got to their local hotel at 11:45 p.m. on Wednesday night.
By 5 a.m. on Thursday, they were climbing aboard a boat at Oden’s Dock
- courtesy of Jake Dempsey of Team Dempsey Guide Service - which
shuttled them to the island.
at roughly 6 a.m., the team set up on a mainly deserted Shelly Island
to provide live broadcasts for Good Morning America throughout the
early morning hours.
the segments, Chief Meteorologist Zee pointed out that the island was
not formed because of offshore currents, but because of persistent
weather patterns. North Carolina had a mild winter, and high pressure
systems that rotate clockwise provided a southwest flow, which in turn
built up the sandbar. A lack of nor’easters in the winter also helped
move the process along.
also discussed the dangers of reaching the island during the broadcast
– which has resulted in a number of rescues over the past couple of
there were very few people on Shelly Island during filming, the
broadcast did have its share of surprises. At one point, a fisherman
who was casting a few feet away from the crew reeled in a shark – a
moment that was caught on camera.
saw 15 sharks in a group on the way there, and a fisherman caught a
shark right before went on [air.],” says Zee. “It definitely let us
know that there was a plethora of wildlife there.”
The island itself was also a bit of a surprise, according to Zee.
island was bigger than I expected,” she says. “When I read a lot of
other reports, they said it was a football field wide… Well, that is
not a football field wide.”
“That threw me a little, but to see the width of it was really impressive.”
weren’t many crowds flocking to see what was happening on the island at
the crack of dawn, but the Hatteras Island Rescue Squad was stationed
nearby on Cape Point, just in case.
more beach-goers trickled in, word finally started to spread on the
Point that Good Morning America was filming on the not-so-distant
right over there,” said one beach visitor pointing to the island. “I’d
go over, but I didn’t expect to be on TV today.”
crew wrapped up at roughly 9 a.m., and almost immediately had to head
back to Norfolk to catch a flight to their New York home base.
even though Zee had been to the Outer Banks area for storms before, she
says that this trip in particular would certainly inspire her to return
my type of vacation,” she says. “There’s people on the island, but it’s
still obviously [quiet.]… I most definitely would want to bring my
family back and do a real vacation.”
Several segments from the morning broadcast have already been posted online, and can be viewed here: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/exploring-shelly-island-island-formed-off-north-carolina-48461644 and here: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/island-emerges-off-north-carolina-coast-48467997.
Zee says the combination of the scientific nature of the island - as
well as its inherent beauty – makes Shelly Island worth the media
attention, and worth the whirlwind trip.
it’s fascinating,” she says. “…I loved learning about how much the
island has changed, and loved teaching others [about it.] That was a
special part of doing this piece.”