Category Archives: hunting

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

I’ve always liked the Andy Warhol quote that “everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” I suppose there’s a lot of truth to that. It reminds me of Robin achieving some of his notoriety. He got much more than his 15 minute share, after a photograph of mine appeared in Volume 7, #2 Summer 1998 edition of The Surfers Journal.

Ever since then, it was brought up in conversations, frequently tongue in cheek. It was taken one misty Fall morning in 1977, when the goldenrod was blooming. Robin had just killed a deer that hung behind him, under the porch. His black lab, Susie looked up beside him. At the time, Robin and I were partners in crime, so to speak. Together we checked the surf every day, or had coffee and breakfast on the porch. Our houses were right across highway 12 from each other, just far enough apart to have our own personal spaces. It was a great relationship, and the lifestyle we had will never be repeated.

We did  a lot of things together, and despite not being brothers in blood, we were brothers in spirit.

Many wonderful friends have been in my life. If there was one to choose. Robin was my best.

prints available on request

More Soul Surfers

Soul surfers ride waves for the sheer pleasure and experience, not to prove themselves through contests or competition. It doesn’t matter if someone has an ability better or worse. It really all comes down to one person, one wave and the interaction between the two.

One of my best friends in life has been Robin Gerald. We arrived on Hatteras in the early 70’s, exclusively to surf. Others came and went, but we have remained to this day. In the process we found ourselves a way to earn our livings that would permit us to drop everything when the waves got good. In our heyday, if the surf came up, one of us would know and alert the other. For years, it was sort of an unwritten pact of loyalty.

Robin is shown here dropping into an overhead wall at the old S-Curve site, October of 1976.

This 1998 photo shows Robin on a nice fun wave on the north side of the fishing pier at Rodanthe.

Robin was very adept at waterfowl hunting. He would often provide friends with hearty meals of fish or fowl or both. He was affectionately known as Marshman. Here in 1987, he retrieves a nice black duck from a fresh water pond in Buxton.

Another friend of mine was Ed Corley. He already lived on Hatteras when I arrived, and was an outsider, turned local. A short time later, he was involved in a horrible truck accident that landed him in a coma for 2 weeks. His recovery was slow, but he eventually gained most of his former self back. Ed and I bought 2 of the original Boogie Board kits and did a lot of body boarding together. It was good therapy for him in his recovery.

This photo of Ed was taken in the Fall of 1974 during a swell breaking near the ruins of the original Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton.

Ed Corley surfing the S-Curve in 1976.

Ed on a nice left at Salvo Shipwreck, 1974.

Ed chose commercial fishing as a way of life. Like many of the locals that fished for a living, he did it more because he loved it, than the financial rewards. This is a shot I made in 1977 when Ed, holding a sturgeon, was gillnetting in Pamlico Sound. He later went to work on offshore fishing trawlers, and relocated to Coos Bay on the Pacific coast. It was there that the boat he was working on sank on a stormy new years eve, taking him down with it.

to be continued….

Gull Island Gunning Club

You often hear about how people in the arts have to survive early on in their careers. Some work in restaurants or construction. I’ve been there… done that, but I also had some other interesting lines of work to make ends meet.

Back around 1975, when there was still considerable waterfowl hunting here, a neighbor asked if I wanted to earn some extra money. It turned out that they needed another waterfowl hunting guide, with no experience necessary. Uneasy at first, I quickly learned to emulate what the experienced guides did. They prepared boats, blinds and decoys among other things.

The work was tough, cold and wet. Hunting trips required 24 hour service, plus awakening at 4 AM to get hunters ready. But as with many things in retrospect, it was a pretty valuable and unique experience. I was a licensed guide at Gull Island for 5 years.


The lodge at Gull Island had four bunk rooms, a mud room for gear and guns, a kitchen and dining area, a rec room with television, and a separate privy with generator room on the north side. It was a particularly comfortable building, especially considering its location, miles out in the Pamlico Sound.

The interior was equipped with heaters, wall lamps and a refrigerator all run on propane. In the above photo, I am at the head of the table in red shirt. We were treated to some first-class hearty meals out there.

Raymond Midgett was one of the hunting guides that I worked with. Here he runs the 24 foot skiff, that used a reliable 4 cylinder air-cooled Wisconsin engine for power. It was slow, but got the job done. Thus it was named Anytime. It was built in Avon by Willy Austin.

Here Anytime tows one of the decoy skiffs to pick up a hunting rig.

Mark McCracken and Burt Hooper pick up after a day of hunting. Burt amazed me with his sharp vision. He could spot a flock of ducks a mile away and tell you what type of fowl they were, before you could even see them.

Raymond Midgett throws out a stake blind rig, while I drag the skiff through the thigh deep water.

This image was made of the same stake blind, taken from the north deck of the club house. I used a Nikon F2 with a Century 650mm lens attached. It shows shot hitting the water while the hunters fired at the “cripples”.

Michael Peele is a native of Hatteras, and was a regular hunter at Gull Island. Here he poses with a skiff full of redhead decoys that I painted and rigged with lines and lead weights. Gull Island is where I learned to tie a bowline knot.

Manson Meekins of Avon was also a regular visitor to Gull Island.

The sink box, also called a battery box, required a lot of work to install, maintain and rig. We hunted three different sink boxes around the island. They lured waterfowl and worked extremely well.

Alex Kotarides (standing on deck) was the owner of Gull Island Gunning Club. He also owned a huge bakery in Norfolk. Here he stands with nephew Chris (far left) and bakery employee Fred Keitch (far right). Alex was a very generous man. Every Christmas he would bring some local villagers turkeys and hams for the holidays. He also loaned me $1100 so that I could buy my first high quality telephoto lens. 

This is a shot of Gull Island Gunning Club taken during it’s glory days. I used the 400mm Novoflex lens (mentioned above) mounted to my F2 while standing in the marsh of Bay Landing on Hatteras. Gull Island is two miles away. Around 1990 while being renovated, the house accidentally burned to the ground. Today all that remains is the island, an old dock and a lot of memories.