Monthly Archives: January 2013

Holiday Interlude

Christmas is unlike any other time of the year here. I’m often torn between traveling to see my family or staying home on Hatteras, to enjoy the solitude and nature of this wonderful place.

Holiday business was down and other than the dump trucks pummeling highway 12, there was little human activity. I got caught up on everything, sent out greeting cards and finished a small photography job.

With some time on my hands, I decided to stay on the island, relax and look for things to photograph.

One of the last times I used the 4×4 section of highway 12, I took a shot to record the moment.

With new pavement in place, workers were busy installing a barrier of sandbags, in hopes of protecting the highway. Seas have since washed over it, and sand is constantly being trucked in, to maintain a beach buffer.

Asphalt rubble from the old road was stockpiled, until it could be taken away.

To allow for construction, the S-Curve has been open to one lane traffic only. During the holidays, this was the view heading north.

The view looking south didn’t look any more promising.

As long as the road is passable, we can receive essential supplies.

The “corridor” just south of Oregon Inlet has also been an ongoing battle. Heavy equipment removes sand blown onto the road, only to have it blown right back. One could hardly find a better example of a vicious cycle.

It was predicted that the world was ending on December 21st. I celebrated by driving out to Cape Point during a gale. I was all alone to enjoy the place completely enveloped by nature.

Leaving my truck in the distance, I walked out to the point.

The wind and waves coming together, gave me a spectacular show.

Surfers were calling this “The Doomsday Swell”.

The most interesting spot was right on the point looking east. This is where two powerful forces meet. The south bound Labrador Current collides with the north bound Gulf Stream. Due to seas washing over the beach, I had to walk a quarter mile with a rising tide, to access the point.

One nice thing about coastal storms is experiencing the aftermath of clearing weather.

Rainbows are common yet elusive.

On January 5th, the Old Christmas celebration in Rodanthe marked the end of our holiday season. Larry Midgett joined me in bidding adieu to Old Buck, led by John Edgar.

As caretaker, John Edgar will put Old Buck out to pasture until next year.

A House on Dean Street

Mirlo Beach isn’t the only area around here loosing houses. Over the years, dozens have gone in from Rodanthe Pier, all the way north through Mirlo. In recent months, the entire oceanfront has seen even more dramatic changes. The road at s-curve is an ongoing battle, and houses on the beach at Rodanthe are more at risk than ever. Nature has an uncanny ability to find a weak spot, and wash it away.

Years ago, when things were less developed, it wasn’t a big issue. But since then, Rodanthe has been significantly built up. Now it’s causing problems.

Right after Christmas, I walked south from East Point to Dean Street. It used to be my neck of the woods, my old back yard. Now many landmarks are gone, claimed by the sea, and I can hardly recognize the place by those standards any more.

Buildings that used to be three or four lots back from the water, are now derelict on the beach…. or even gone. They are getting caught in the grip of a geologic process that won’t stop.

A relatively new house sits precariously on the beach behind Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station.

A condemned yellow beach box is north of Dean Street.

Walking up to this structure at the end of Dean Street, I could tell it wouldn’t stand much longer. Tons of sand have been washed away, greatly compromising the foundation. I’m told that it was built about 5 years ago.

Viewing from the south, this has a “domino effect” look.

Two days later, it collapsed into the ocean.

Debris is strewn all over the beach, like a shipwreck.

The building continues to break apart.

The Graveyard of the Atlantic claims yet another victim.