Monthly Archives: October 2012

A Walk Through Mirlo

Storms are unique experiences, and it’s a relief when they’re over. This time around, we had the luxury of having all our utilities in tact. Other than a little apprehension and loss of conceptual time, life here was not too bad.

The tide was down this morning, so we got the truck and drove north for a walk through Mirlo. I started taking pictures there over 35 years ago, long before the subdivision was developed. I’ve seen the road moved, destroyed and rebuilt multiple times. It has become a wonder and curiosity for me. I hardly ever get bored observing it. Walking it after a storm, I get feelings of deja vu.

It’s a battle of man against nature. Nature is winning and Mirlo Beach is washing away. The sign at the entrance to the subdivision  reads: “Dare to Dream the Impossible Dream”.

An occupant of this house didn’t heed warnings, and had to be rescued during the storm. The hawser supplied by the rescuers is still tied in place.

Here is what’s left of the victim’s pick up truck.

This is Mirlo’s last stand.

Utility rooms under some Mirlo cottages were destroyed .

A leaner stands second in line from the north end.

The cottage on the very end was recently moved back and new piles installed. Ten feet of sand and renovations to the property were washed away. The house is condemned once again.

Pools at Mirlo Beach oceanfront are not a good idea.

The sign at Seagull Street succumbed to the ocean’s power.

Here’s that guy’s truck again. No free parking here.

Recovery will take some time. There’s miles of roadwork, and our only physical link to the mainland is by ferry, again. It’s an island and always will be.

Sandy Waves

Yesterday the hurricane surged sound tide, flooded our town and streets. We waited it out with our vehicles stowed on higher ground, unable to drive anywhere. My vehicle of choice became a pair of chest waders. I walked to the ocean front to take in the spectacle of hurricane surf. The center of the storm was passing to our northeast, and the winds were howling from a westerly direction.

The beach was strewn with debris. There were pieces of houses and decks.

And there were pieces of Rodanthe Pier. This is the end, complete with rod holders. Lumber is a precious commodity, and I wish I could take it home with me.

After seeing powerful storms for most of my life, I’m still in awe with the experience.

Hurricane Sandy

This has been one of the most unusual storms that I have been through. All seemed normal as Sandy came up offshore. We see lots of systems doing this. Northeast winds are fairly typical with those types of storms. Most of the time they recurve out to sea, and go away.

Last night as Sandy came more abreast of Hatteras, winds became more northerly. Then in passing further northward, we got the expected winds of north west and kicking in a little harder.

This morning the wind direction went more west. Coupled with high lunar tides, we began to see the waters of Pamlico Sound rising. By about 10am, the water was a little over a foot deep in the yard. At 11, I noticed a slight drop in the water depth.

Yesterday everyone picked spots of higher ground to park vehicles. It seemed most folks chose the parking lot at the strip mall in Waves.

The Pamlico Sound tide didn’t drop as much as I had expected, but I knew darn well it would get higher. It rained all day Sunday, with my rain gauge registering 9 inches.

Last night I brought in my friendly felines. Here Grey Guy relaxes with Big Foot. At 2 years old, this is their third hurricane.

The sound tide began coming in about 6 o’clock, and kept rising until 10 or so.

The water was all around my studio, and seemed to level off by 11am.

We heard a home at Mirlo Beach fell into the sea, but this won’t be the only loss, by a long shot.

I’m hopeful that this will be the extent of our dealing with Sandy, then we can begin putting our lives back together.

North Rodanthe Aerial

North Rodanthe is on the edge. From the late 70’s through the late 80’s, I lived in a small house on highway 12 where I set up business selling my prints. The town had eluded much development. There was very little infrastructure, no cable tv, no central water, power outages and flooding were relatively common.

At the time, I was young and more resilient. The locality was my oyster, so to speak. I ate waterfowl, seafood, surfed my brains out, and made photographic prints for a livelihood. I enjoyed the relative isolation of Rodanthe, and reveled the stormy conditions as occasional photographic subjects.

I made these aerial photographs of the north end of Rodanthe around 1980. There were very few beach cottages at the time, and Mirlo Beach subdivision wasn’t even a pipe dream yet.

North Rodanthe in 1980. The “Rodanthe Creek”, where the current ferry terminal is located, is on the lower right.

The view looking east shows Rodanthe Creek and Chicamacomico property all the way to the beach. My house at the time is located in the center of the picture, right on highway 12.

Those were the days!