Category Archives: Piers

Watching and Waiting

Years ago, before there was cable television and the internet on Hatteras Island, I relied a lot on weather radios. I also had my dad, a career meteorologist, for tracking and updates of tropical systems. With an approaching hurricane my dad would look at surrounding pressure systems and could plot a course using his protractor and a set of parallels. He had an uncanny sense of predicting where the storms were headed, and a detached calmness even about a major hurricane bearing down on one of his sons.

Today of course, we have the world wide web of information. And that’s a good thing, because my dad is gone, and it’s helpful to know what we’re in for. Hurricane Earl is forecast to head our way and veer off slightly to the north northeast just south of the Cape. And that would be a good thing. Hopefully we can dodge this storm, like many others.

Yesterday morning I drove up to the S-Curve to check the swell, and it had definitely picked up. There were a few brave souls playing near the shore break, and even some body boarders getting some thrilling rides. From the beautiful weather, you’d hardly know that there was an approaching storm.

Rodanthe oceanfront on Wednesday.

Playing close to the shorebreak at S-Curve.

Body boarding on a big glassy face.

Evacuees leaving town through Mirlo Beach.

Making the most of the last day of gorgeous weather near Rodanthe Pier.

The end of Wednesday with swirling high clouds.

Next morning, after a restless sleep, I wonder what the next 24 hours will have in store. It’s hot and humid, and light northeast winds. The house is boarded up with plywood that I bought 28 years ago.

All boarded up and ready to move vehicles to higher ground.

Thursday brings in rough surf at Rodanthe Pier.

The artificial dune at S-Curve on Wednesday morning.

Same location on Thursday. Hurricane Earl will pass in several hours, and like many hurricanes, at night. I can’t tell you how hot and humid it is, and I’m worn out from all the preparations. It’ll be a long night.

I intend to expand this blog entry as time goes on. So stay tuned.

Jennette’s Pier

In 1990, I was privileged to be appointed to an advisory committee for the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island. I believe in the power of public education, and have remained with them ever since.

The North Carolina Aquariums are unique in that, North Carolina is the only state in the country to have 3 different and distinct facilities dispersed along the coast. Last week we hosted a joint advisory committee meeting, including advisors from Pine Knoll Shores and Fort Fisher. On a blustery Saturday morning, the group went to see the new Jennette’s Pier under construction. It is an amazing feat of engineering, and will be owned and operated by the North Carolina Aquariums.


For folks that love fishing piers or aquariums, it will provide a special one-of-a-kind experience, when finished. At 1000 feet long, it will have a 2-story pier house and alternative energy support. Ground breaking was in May of 2009 and completion is scheduled for May of 2011.

More information can be found at

A concrete piling rests on the south trestle, ready for installation.

This photo shows the pier house going up and piling arrangement from the work platform, or south trestle. 

This view of the pier construction from the 2nd floor of the pier house, shows the south trestle to the right. It is a temporary work platform, and will be removed.

This is the view from the pier house, facing west toward Sam & Omie’s Restaurant. Beyond is the bridge to Manteo.