Pier Pressure

Throughout the years staying on Hatteras, I’ve gotten to expect coastal storms. At times it feels as though I’ve been living on a ship at sea. It’s both thrilling and humbling at the same time. The latest event was no different.

On the morning of November 6th the seas were getting stormy yet still moderate. But by 3 o’clock that afternoon the ocean rose up dramatically. It was blowing a gale with rain pelting from the northeast. As I walked halfway up the Rodanthe pier, the wooded structure vibrated and swayed . The waves were almost as high as the pier. I took several quick shots then turned back. It would have been crazy not to.

Gales continued into the next day while shifting out of a more northerly direction. As the ocean washed over the highway in the expected locations, I wondered about the fragility of the pier with such heavy seas.

At high tide the morning of the 8th, waves still battered the pier and damage was evident.

About a quarter way from the end, the deck had collapsed. It’s been said that a boat is a hole in the water and you throw money into it. I suppose a wooded pier is much the same. As of this morning, highway 12 is still closed to traffic as NCDOT works to clear debris and rebuild dunes. The coastal storm of November 2021 was deja vu all over again.

 

 

Manx on the Banx

About 1964 Bruce Meyers popularized dune buggies with his innovation of a fiberglass body that fit over a shortened Volkswagen chassis. The Meyers Manx was sold as a kit and could be assembled by most anyone with a knack for mechanics. Other companies were later spawned from the same concept. In 1969, I built a buggy from a spinoff produced by Empi. It was so much fun and honed my interest in cars, especially VW’s. That was more than 50 years ago. 

Earlier this month an Outer Banks tradition that began over a decade ago, returned with 84 registered participants. Manx on the Banx is a gathering of folks with a common interest. That interest is dune buggies. In the past, I’ve enjoyed watching and listening to them buzz through town. This year we were invited on the Hatteras Island drive in a loaner buggy, courtesy of our friends and neighbors at Island Cruisers.

 

On the first day in Nags Head, an introduction was held for registrants and their guests.

Raffle tickets were sold for a quilt made from t-shirts belonging to Bruce Meyers. It was particularly poignant in that Meyers had passed away in February at the age of 94.

Buggies of all descriptions were assembled, each one individually custom built.

They are powered by a variety of motors, but mostly modified Volkswagen engines.

They came from all around the country. Many were personally autographed by Meyers.

This one is powered by Honda.

A Manx from Ohio was built using a Corvair chassis and motor.

I was intrigued by the different exhaust systems.

Another entry from Ohio sports a VW power plant with a metallic red finish.

I don’t know what was behind this, but it looked exotic.

From the front, Meyers Manx buggies have a classic look.

By the afternoon we were gathered at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

One paint job really caught my eye.

Driven to the Outer Banks from California, this beauty has competed in the Baja 1000 several times and one year took top honors in its class. Known as a Dual Sport Baja Edition, it uses a water-cooled Subaru motor.

Like many others, it pays homage to Bruce Meyers.

This buggy reminded me of my bright yellow Empi Imp.

One Hummer-style buggy was there from New York. The body was manufactured in Washington state.

Eric and Damon Stump are two thirds of the Island Cruisers crew. At their invitation our day was well spent.

 

 

 

Larry

There are 3 kinds of hurricanes, good, bad and somewhere in between. The good ones stay far offshore as did Hurricane Larry most recently. As a beachcomber, I have always loved watching the power and beauty of waves. That fascination has been a constant subject for my photography since beginning life on Hatteras nearly 50 years ago.

Traveling from several hundred miles away, Larry’s waves arrived as a south swell, with a hefty current sweeping northward. Most of the surfers left the island for points north where conditions were smaller and more approachable.

I hadn’t worked a beachscape in a few years, and felt I was in the company of an old friend. It was just me, my camera and Larry’s pulse.

The outside bars were breaking nicely.

The inside bars were hard and hollow.

I was entertained by an occasional wave rolling back into an oncoming one.

Larry put on a show and was good to stay well off the coast.

Jug Handle Bridge

For a couple years I’ve been driving past the construction site of Hatteras Island’s newest bridge. Called the Jug Handle because of its shape, it bypasses a section of highway 12 that’s been constantly washed out by the ocean. Like most bridges, construction began from two terminal locations, to ultimately meet in the middle. For me, it’s a chance to shoot some interesting pictures.

Ten days ago as the north terminus was nearing its south counterpart, I took a photo from the dunes across the highway.

A week later I shot a similar photograph from a closer vantage point along the sound side shoreline.

The cranes are enormous.

Water depth along the route is only a few feet deep, too shallow to work from a barge, so a trestle system was built along each side to accommodate machinery. This is the south end working its way northward.

Giant pilings are delivered on the north end where workers bridle them to a crane for lifting.

On the lower end, the 150 foot pile is secured in a pivotal yoke as it’s lifted.

It is transferred to a towering frame where it’s driven precisely into the sandy bottom.

A pile driver is placed on top to pound it the desired depth.

It looked like each impact drove the piling several feet. The two bridge ends will soon be connected. The 2.4 mile roadway is scheduled for opening early 2022.

 

 

Pound Nets

A pound net is a fish trap that corrals fish into a pen where they are kept alive. They swim in the enclosure until they can be bailed out. In 1977 some commercial fishing friends of mine were setting up a pound net. 

Eddie O’Neal, Ed Corley and Asa Gray were partners in this venture. They worked under the name Easy Money Fish Company, and constructed their net in an area of the Pamlico Sound, known as Scott’s Reef. 

On a calm day, I rode out with Ed to check it out. They weren’t catching much at the time, but I photographed the basic layout shooting Panatomic-X, a fine grained black and white film.

The fish follow a portion of the net called a lead, which channels them into a pound where they cannot escape.

They’re penned in until the fishermen come to get them. Any unwanted or protected species are then released alive into open waters. Despite the labor intensive work to set up, a pound net is an efficient way to catch fish.

Thirty-five years later I photographed another net near Ocracoke Island. With commercial fishing getting to be a more difficult livelihood, there doesn’t seem to be as many as there used to be.

Years ago, Eddie O’Neal (1982) and Ed Corley (1985) died in separate weather-related commercial fishing incidents. Asa Gray passed away in 2018 after many decades as a waterman. How those guys loved to fish!