Ocracoke will have a ringside seat to see almost all of a total solar eclipse Aug. 21

When the “Great American total eclipse of the sun” occurs on Aug. 21, Ocracoke will have a ringside seat to view it almost in its entirety.

According to news sources, barring a cover of clouds, the eclipse will be visible over a small portion of western North Carolina beginning at 2:33 p.m.  
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Purple Martins Return to Roost

Purple martins are beginning to return to their roost at the west end of the old Manns Harbor bridge. By the end of July the number of birds at the site is expected to be close to 100,000.

During the roosting season, N.C. Department of Transportation activates flashing lights and a 20 mph speed limit on the west end of the bridge at sunrise and sunset. The reduced speed limit, monitored by law enforcement, allows safe travel for both motorists and birds.  
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Surfing Scientists Develop Wave Forecast Tool

Surfing and science has always been a relationship of convenience, if not necessity. But when surfers are scientists who are wizards at interpreting ocean data, the art of finding good waves can be transformed into scientific certainty – or close to it.

A new surf-prediction model developed by a partnership of two coastal scientists and a computer engineer promises to revolutionize the accuracy and efficiency of surf forecasting, long regarded as notoriously challenging and unreliable. Known as AcuSea, the service crunches decades of publicly available wave and beach data with data on current conditions at different surf spots.  
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After Lightning Strike, Funds are Needed to Restore the Midgett House at the Chicamacomico Historic Site

Sometime during the night of Sunday, July 2, one of the favorite structures at the Chicamacomico Historic Site in Rodanthe – the 1907 Midgett House - was hit by lightning. 

The lightning strike connected with the original wiring in the home, which is not in use, but which still runs through the structure. From there, the effects of the strike trickled throughout the house – busting the original panel box, causing old paint to shake loose from the walls, and most noticeably, destroying the original chimney.  Read more

Numbers crunch: OBX license plates are out of space

Sometime in 2018 the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles will run out of numbers for the OBX license plates.

By our calculations, that should be sometime in September or October of next year.  
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Getting Crafty on Hatteras Island

Hatteras Island is well known for its exuberant art culture. Of course, with the mesmerizing sunrises, sunsets, and endless natural inspirations, who would think otherwise?

Whether you are an artist, hobbyist, or someone yearning to dabble into the artistic waters, there are options for you on Hatteras Island. There are so many art workshops, classes or just walk-in opportunities that are available throughout the different villages.  
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Island Watersports: A Primer on Finding the Best Surf Spots

Hatteras Island is a natural haven for some of the best, and most surf-able, waves on the East Coast. Indeed, Hatteras’ various surf spots are one of the major reasons the island welcomes more than two million visitors each year from all across the country.
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Night Sky: Saturn, Venus, Venus and Other Highlights for July 2017

June turned out to be a very poor month for astrophotography.  High winds and low visibility made things very challenging. My primary targets for the month were Jupiter and Saturn, but you can’t always get what you want!  
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H2OBX makes a splash on opening day

What is being billed as "the Outer Banks' wettest, coolest, wildest, splashiest and craziest new attraction" opened Thursday, June 22 to rave reviews from the visitors.

The much-anticipated H2OBX Waterpark attracted a "good size crowd" for its opening day, said Marketing Supervisor Leah Cribb, who said exact opening day numbers would be available soon.  
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Island son James Barrie Gaskill: 1943-2017

The island was saddened to learn of the death of island son James Barrie Gaskill, 74 on June 21.

Born in Carteret County on April 20, 1943, he was a son of the late Daisy Styron Gaskill and James Lumley Gaskill, Jr.  
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Island Living: Unenforceable Beach Crimes and the Guilty Parties Who Commit Them

There are obviously plenty of “Rules of the Beach” that are both good manners and are enforceable by law, but what about those other circumstances that aren’t necessarily illegal, but can nevertheless drive you mad? I couldn’t help but mull over those situations as well, and wonder if there could be a secondary set of guidelines that essentially say: “Yes, you technically can do these things… But you’re going to annoy a heck of a lot of people if you do.”  
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Discovering the Fish with a Ranger Program

When looking for a family-oriented activity to do this summer season, search no more. Just stop by and visit the local park service station and ask for information on the many activities they offer.

Among the multitude of activity choices, you will find the program “Fish with a Ranger.” This program is offered free of charge. They provide the fishing poles and tackle which are donated to the park service from local tackle shops including Red Drum Tackle and Frank and Fran’s. A fishing license is not required to be a part of this activity because they are covered under a “blanket fishing license.” All you need to bring is the bait, and they recommend blood worms, shrimp or squid. The program is offered every Monday and Thursday, at 8 a.m., weather permitting.  
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Thousands of Bees Relocated From Their Surf Shop Residence to a New Home...WITH SLIDE SHOW

On an otherwise normal June day, Carol Busbey and her husband Scott encountered an unexpected squatter in the shed behind their Natural Art Surf Shop in Buxton – or rather, they discovered a few thousand of them.

The first sign that something was amiss was the presence of quite a few bees buzzing in and out of a little hole in the shed. “Once you got closer, you could definitely hear the buzz of a ton of bees” says Carol.  
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2017 Avon Farmers Market Opens With Biggest Array of Vendors Yet

In 2016, the Avon Farmers Market had a banner year with more than 25 vendors lined up every week in the large grassy yard next to the Avon Beach Klub.

It was the highest number of vendors since the market was first established in 2010 in Buxton, and the summertime market was a big success locally, with many residences making weekly shopping trips to stock up on fresh produce, goodies, and a few splurge purchases of jewelry, homemade crafts and artworks. 
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Hercules Cluster, Saturn, Jupiter, and other Highlights for June

Jupiter and Saturn offer great viewing throughout June.  Jupiter starts the month fairly high in the sky towards the SE.  To the naked eye, it’s the brightest “star” in the sky.  You can use binoculars or a telescope to get a closer look at this massive planet. 
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Hatteras Island To Host 5th Annual Rock The Cape

Dare County Arts Council is partnering with local galleries and businesses to celebrate the artistic community on Hatteras Island at the fifth annual Rock The Cape Festival June 17-24.

The weeklong celebration features family-friendly, community-oriented activities including a self-guided gallery tour, an art show, live music every day at various venues on the island, and more. 
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70th Anniversary of NC Ferry System Celebrated This Summer

It all started with a single route linking Manns Harbor and Roanoke Island in 1947. Now, the North Carolina Ferry System will be filling the summer months with tours, contests and events celebrating 70 years of providing safe, affordable and reliable transportation across eastern N.C. 
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Researchers Reveal OBX Shipwreck Stories

Lights out, darkness settling in, Robert Carmichael’s eyes adjusted to the site before him at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

The German submarine U-576 was laying on its side about 700 feet below the water’s surface where it sank in 1942 after being pummeled by depth charges dropped by U.S. Navy air crews and a hail of gunfire from nearby convoy ships. 
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“Little Pink Houses of Hope” Pops Up on Hatteras Island

Last week, Hatteras Island had the privilege of being the host for a very special group of visitors who came to the beach for a much-needed and well-deserved getaway. 

These visitors were breast cancer patients and their families, and their island vacation was part of the Little Pink Houses of Hope’s annual Spring Retreat. 
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Beach manners -- a matter of etiquette and the law

Irene first wrote the following story as a blog entry for July of 2016. As she notes, she had a regular “Beach Manners” story for years, and after the success of last year’s entry, she planned on continuing the tradition in the years to come. Her tips on beach etiquette are still essential and important to keep in mind as another busy Memorial Day approaches, so we are re-printing her story for both the benefit of new visitors and folks like me who have awful memories and appreciate a reminder now and again.
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Wienermobile Takes a Trip to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands

Locals, visitors, and even NCDOT ferry personnel on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands were surprised on Tuesday when they encountered a vessel that’s even more famous than the ferry itself – The Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. 
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The Story Behind those Orange Boxes on the Islands

Travelers with a keen eye along Highway 12 may have noticed flashes of bright orange in the bushes, trees and beaches that line the road. Located from Nags Head all the way to Ocracoke Island, these small receptacles that resemble a mini-pup tent are part of the efforts of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCDA) and Consumer Services' Plant Industry Division to monitor and control the gypsy moth population.  
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Island Cooking: Creating New Flavors with Carrots

Without a doubt, carrots are the most common vegetables in anyone’s kitchen.  We all grew up eating carrots; first as pureed baby food, later as sticks in our school lunch boxes, and later still on a crudités platter with some sort of dip or spread.  Read more

Our Coast: Honoring British Allies of WWII

Since the early years of World War II, two cemeteries on the Outer Banks – one near Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the other in Ocracoke Village – have been a place of eternal rest for British soldiers, allies who sacrificed their lives while defending American shores when the United States didn’t have the resources to guard against German submarines. 
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New Entertainment Complex in Rodanthe Coming Together for a Summer Grand Opening

For nearly a year, residents and visitors driving along NC Highway 12 in the tri-villages have looked outside their vehicle window and wondered, “What the heck is that giant building in Rodanthe going to be?” 
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Wondering how much Hatteras Inlet has changed? Just take a look at Google Earth

It’s been well documented that Hatteras Inlet has changed drastically in the past 10-20 years or so, and thanks to the internet, there is visible proof.

Videos that utilize Google Earth’s Timelapse, (which creates a fast-moving series of images that chronicle how corners of the world have changed over the past 32 years), have surfaced on social media that show just how much the inlet has changed since 1984.
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Wait… Is it Summer Already?

It seems like only a day or so ago that islanders were shivering in cool temps and winds, or driving along a lonely NC Highway 12 past businesses that were closed for the season.

In reality, it was more like a week.  
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Island Cooking: Breaking Bread with Irene

Irene Nolan, recently deceased editor and co-owner of the Island Free Press, was a woman of many talents and varied interests and her friendships reflected that. 

She was a very good cook and enjoyed food, and she loved to entertain.  Of her many friends, the closest enjoyed dining experiences together for many years, both in their homes and in local restaurants. 
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New “Fixtation” is Stationed Outside St. John United Methodist Church in Avon

The grassy exterior and entrance of the St. John United Methodist Church in Avon village has a few enticements that make visitors take a second look. There’s the original church bell from the 1800s, the wrap-around bench near the towering oak tree that’s covered with colorful handprints, and the recently added food pantry that’s stationed next to Harbor Road. 
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How the “Rules of Beachcombing” can Carry Over into Everyday Life

So the other day I was trying out a new form of beachcombing that I had recently discovered, and which ties in perfectly with my inherent desire to be lazy whenever possible.

This method entails sitting yards - if not inches - away from the breaking waves in the minutes leading up to a low or high tide, and basically letting the shells come to you.
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The Lost Colony turns 80

When the 2017 season of The Lost Colony opens on May 26, the production at Roanoke Island's Waterside Theatre will aim the spotlight squarely on a milestone event: America’s longest running outdoor symphonic drama turns 80 this year. 
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Blue Mind Global Book Club Culminates with Local Event

On March 25, author Dr. Wallace "J." Nichols joined a group of roughly 50 island residents and visitors to celebrate the culmination of a global community read of his bestselling book, “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.” 
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Pipeline Could Pose Threat to Coastal Region

Thanks to Google Earth, it’s easy to see Eastern North Carolina’s rural versus urban dichotomy in the route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Loosely following the path of the Interstate 95 corridor, the pipe would cross 178 miles of mostly small farming communities that suffer struggling economies and limited opportunity. Wealth here is in land, history and culture. 
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Outer Banks Earns the Number #1 Spot in Southern Living Magazine

The Outer Banks scored the #1 spot in a recent Southern Living article that ranked the Best Islands of the South for 2017.

“The Outer Banks calls… to those who enjoy the convenience of a house-dune-ocean commute,” the article reads. “It’s popular with families who return each summer to tumble out onto the beach in the mornings to swim, collect seashells, and build sandcastles until dinnertime.”  Read more

Citizen Science Program needs your help observing the weather

Do you ever wonder how much rainfall you received from a recent thunderstorm? How about snowfall during a winter storm? If so, an important volunteer weather observing program needs your help! The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network, or CoCoRaHS, is looking for new volunteers across North Carolina. The grassroots effort is part of a growing national network of home-based and amateur rain spotters with a goal of providing a high density precipitation network that will supplement existing observations. 
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Federation raises more than $1,800 for Hatteras United Methodist Church's storm relief efforts

The numbers are in, and the North Carolina Coastal Federation’s 2017 Hatteras Island Oyster Roast raised more than $1,800 for storm relief efforts administered by the Hatteras United Methodist Church. 
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Remembering Eph O'Neal, an old-time Hatteras waterman
Hatteras Island writer and historian, Susan West remembers Ephraim “Eph” O'Neal who died on February 17, 2017.

Ephraim “Eph” O’Neal was a true Hatterasman – a scholar of the sea, humble about his accomplishments, and fiercely proud of his family and his hometown. 
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Wildlife Photo Project Expands Statewide

If you’ve ever wondered exactly what kind of wildlife exists in your backyard, a statewide photography project could help you discover those curious creatures living nearby.

Candid Critters, a collaboration between North Carolina Wildlife Resources, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and North Carolina State University, is hoping to get people more interested in the wildlife around them by providing trail cameras, or camera traps, to help survey wildlife across the state.
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