Island Free Press photographer Don Bowers was back in the air yesterday with Dwight Burrus of Hatteras village to get new photos from above of the Mirlo Beach/S-curves area and Pea Island Inlet.
The photos from Mirlo and the S-curves show that the ocean has calmed down after days and day of northeast wind, but, even at low tide, the water is right up to the edge of the damaged Highway 12 roadbed.
The four-wheel-drive route has continued to be open from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m., but the North Carolina Department of Transportation has not estimated yet how long it will be before all vehicles will be able to use the highway.
The most striking of Bowers’ photographs yesterday were those of Pea Island Inlet, which was cut by Hurricane Irene in August of last year.
It shows the inlet shoaling up quickly on the oceanside since Hurricane Sandy brushed by the Outer Banks last month. It almost looks as if you could walk from one side to the other.
No one has ventured a guess yet on how long the shoaling will continue, but the area is indeed a good example of the dynamic changes that can happen seemingly overnight on these barrier islands.
The only other news today on access to Hatteras is that the DOT’s Ferry Division is cutting back on the emergency ferries between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe.
Beginning tomorrow, there will be eight runs each day from each side, instead of the current nine runs. The cutback is a cost-saving measure, according to DOT.
The new schedule is:
Departing Stumpy Point at 6 a.m., 8, 10, noon, 2 p.m., 4, 6 and 10 p.m.
Departing Rodanthe at 7 a.m., 9, 11, 1 p.m., 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m.
Click here to view a slide show of Don Bowers’ aerial photos from Nov. 26.