Category Archives: Weather

Parting Shots

Some of my first memories living on Hatteras Island involved surfing next to the Salvo shipwreck. Locals referred to it as the Richmond. It was, and still is an iconic feature of the village. Over the years, even surrounded by tumultuous seas, it has held fast and never budged.

According to state records it is the remnants of the Pocahontus, a Civil War transport steamer that wrecked during a storm in 1862.

I go to it regularly, sometimes checking the waves, to meditate, relax or take some pictures. Last Saturday I did just that. It was a beautiful day, waves rolling in with four cormorants perched on it.

Early Sunday morning an approaching front brought gale force winds. Anxious to see the transforming ocean conditions, I drove out on the beach to see how it looked. Hunkered in my truck, I photographed the wreck through a windswept downpour. 

I shoot impulsively. So could these be my last photographs of 2021?

Maybe not!

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.

 

 

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.

Crossing the Bar

December of 1985 I went on a three day fishing trip with Captain Terry Saunders aboard the 80 foot trawler, Richard Wayne. Based in Wanchese, he was going offshore, dragging for winter flounder. For two days, productivity was moderate with calm seas.

That night, lying in a forepeak bunk I felt changes in the tempo of the waves. By early morning the wind had freshened from the northeast making for some choppy conditions.

Stevie Daniels’ Bailey Boy fished nearby.

The captains discussed navigating the narrow shoaling channel at Oregon Inlet before conditions deteriorated further.

They decided to cut the trip short, head back and not take unnecessary chances, crossing the shallow bar into the inlet. I shot Bailey Boy heading over the shoal as it followed us home.

Thanksgiving Past

Thanksgiving spawns memories of togetherness. A fond recollection for me took place 5 years ago. Members of my family rented a vacation house in Avon, and a Thanksgiving meal was planned around 6 o’clock. What made this one so special is that my 91 year old mother was there.

As Denise and I headed south to join them, the sun was beginning to set. We were just approaching beach access Ramp 25 when I noticed a tinge of color in the clouds, so I pulled over and watched one of the best rainbow displays I had ever seen. Normally gone in a few minutes, this one stayed bright and brilliant for nearly twenty minutes.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was to be the last Thanksgiving that I shared with my mother…. and it was a good one.