Saturday, October 29, 2011

Last morning in Frisco

Over Vic's protests that, without a shirt, he was not photography material, I snapped this pic of him on the porch after an overnight rain. There was lightning, which is wonderful -- we were feeling like we would see no storm action while we were here.

And speaking of storm action...the trip home will be interesting. Words like dangerous are being tossed around, regarding travel over this first-Nor'easter weekend. Even words like blizzard.

Vic doesn't have to work at all on Monday, and I don't have to work until 4pm, so we can take our time.

Rolo's wins

We went back for our last lunch to Capt'n Rolo's (I spelled it completely wrong the last time I mentioned it). Their fish basket was heavenly: essentially fish and chips, it featured the freshest flounder I've ever tasted. It was dusted with a flour-and-salt mixture, other seasonings in there I'm sure, and presented with fries that were crispy and neither too wide nor too stringy.

On the table were three red sauces: ketchup (blecch), seafood cocktail sauce (mmm), and hot sauce. I combined the last two for my fries.

I'm pretty sure that Rolo's is a place that locals frequent. We got "looks" both times we entered. However, the sign above the door conveys that at least some travelers are expected!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Kitesurfing in Frisco

When the wind is blowing just so, the kiteboarders flock to the south-facing beaches. I was on my daily stroll and got a few pictures.

We're staying in one of the last houses on the beach before the airport, and we think the house line (houses stop, miles of vegetation/airport begin) is a marker for the surfers. Twice now we've seen their multi-passenger vehicles parked outside. After the boards zoom in, their riders apparently think they have to clamber over fences to get to the cars -- unfamiliar with the dune overpass that would be a lot more direct for them?

Good eats

Though it was hurried, a menu was assembled for this trip. We haven't fallen in love with a lot of the items therein, but a few -- including two breakfasts -- stand out:

Scrambled eggs with lemon cream & smoked salmon
Breakfast burritos with andouille (recipe called for chorizo)
Clams with andouille
Pesto, olive, and roast-pepper torta
Southwest chipotle corn

If you come to stay in Gloucester, be sure to request one of those breakfasts! Recipes for each of these to follow in coming days. We'll modify a couple of recipes to try again, such as Zucchini cakes with smoked trout. Something about them just kinda misfired. And, of course, we still have today's items to sample.

As far as eating out goes, we've been to lunch at
Cafe 12 (yum)
Hatterasman (amazing fries)
Top Dog (always good)
Dijalo (Ocracoke; truly inspired food)
Captain Rollo's (best fish)
and Buxton Munch...
not sure where we're going today, but maybe to repeat Cafe 12. The tortilla-bottomed Flat, with it's 4" edge of fritelle-style cheese and fresh toppings including sushi-grade tuna, is hard to resist!

New kite

Well, not new, but different. Vic says he thinks he has done more kite flying this trip than on any other trip we've taken. He does love to fly his kites!

Frisco at the pier

'North Carolina's Ocean Fishing Piers' states that the Frisco Pier has stood for my lifetime, since 1962. It has not been open since 2008. The book calls it "the only south-facing pier on the Outer Banks," and we can testify to that. I truly enjoyed fishing there the single time (2007) we were able to do so.

The current owner of the pier has said that "considering the economy," he does not see it as "worth it" to repair and reopen the pier. It sits on federally owned property, so temptation to cash in the real estate is not a factor, and its pier house is in good repair. Anyone interested?

Avon at the pier

Action at the pier at Avon was in swing, if not in full swing. This week I picked up a book on the fishing piers of North Carolina. Called 'North Carolina's Ocean Fishing Piers from Kitty Hawk to Sunset Beach,' it asserts that early November is the prime fishing time for red drum, a species associated with the Outer Banks. So there's still time for pier action this year.

Its author, Al Baird, says of the 1964 structure: "The Avon Pier now has the distinctive look of an old wooden roller coaster, complete with banked turns." I would agree!

Champion sheller

Vic's skill at finding whole shells exceeds mine. He has found a whole olive (tubular shell, top left), a whole Scotch bonnet (bottom left), and a whole whelk (bottom center).

I did find a very nearly whole Scotch bonnet, but I have yet to come across anything like a whole olive or whelk. I also found a weird, shell-hard egg case (center, top). Still love beachcombing, though.

Cape Point

We went to Cape Point yesterday, and there my legs failed me. When the Point was in sight (it's about 1.5 miles from where you have to park), I had to turn back. My calf muscle had knotted again. I was pretty angry about it! Cape Point is such an unusual spot, where you can practically touch the Gulf Stream and where land suddenly banks right at a quicksand intersection.

I returned to the car, while Vic walked on. Vic snapped the pelican surrounded by seagulls at the Point. (Did I say already: no Laughing Gulls?) I snapped the lone sea bird closer to Cape Hatteras Light.


One of these I might want to try to paint: The one at the port in Ocracoke, with the upright logs.

The other was taken at Buxton, where two British navy men (one unknown) washed ashore in 1942. This tiny cemetery is maintained by the British Commonwealth. Ocracoke also has a British cemetery -- the U-boat campaign resulted in much loss of English life off the NC coast.

A trip north

When we went north a few days ago, we stopped to see whether the sunken boat and untidy boathouse, which we photographed on our spring trip, had survived the storm. The answer was, Yes and No. The boathouse has been severely damaged, but it stands. The sunken boat appears untroubled, perhaps because it was already securely 'anchored' in the water.

Further north, at Oregon Inlet, the same jelly die-off that's happening in Frisco appeared to be occurring. This was one of several dead jellyfish littering the shore.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fishing without us

We seem to *see* a lot of fishing, without participating in it. We did bring poles. We'll see whether I can get Vic interested today. The pier at Avon is open.

Gorgeous Ocracoke

It was pretty windy when we got to Ocracoke. The feel of the island is so unlike that of Hatteras. Hatteras feels hardscrabble, pocked by aggressive incursions of money on the shoreline. Its news is full of controversies and tragedies. However, it's as beautiful as it is unkempt.

Ocracoke feels like the Florida Keys, laid back and indulgent, without concern for achievement or wealth. You get the sense that a fisherman and a Rockefeller could chat over beer, without money ever coming up as a topic or an issue. Pelicans, the seabirds who seem most unperturbable, hang out here. You'd expect to encounter Jimmy Buffett, wasting away.

In October Ocracoke still has pink and purple flowers in bloom, trailing along the roadways and popping up beside the eateries. Vic and I lunched at a place called Dijalo, where the hot crab dib and the tempura-battered (spicy) bluefish were heavenly.

Frisco on the beach

From our strolls back and forth. A large number of horseshoe crabs and jellyfish met their ends this week off Frisco, their remains washing ashore, sometimes in pieces. We have encountered few other creatures; birds, but scant humans.

The pier can be seen way off in the background. I purchased a book on NC piers, their histories and ultimate fates. The Frisco Pier has a questionable future.

Staying here is fantastic. The lulling noise of the ocean nicely complements bathing in the sunshine and the hot tub. Not to be associated with the deaths of water creatures, piers, or even parents.

Wreck ashore?

A friendly female nonresident property owner told me that this washed ashore in the hurricane. It came in with a number of other beams, some with brass attachments, that were carried off by persons unknown. In her opinion, these are part of a shipwreck, probably a Spanish one. This piece is, by her reckoning, part of a rudder or steering mechanism. Sounds promising.


Mom's urn got a place of prominence in the front room here in Frisco. Yesterday, I distributed about a half-cup of her ashes on the beach, across from the ponies, at Ocracoke.

Late Festival Pics

Just got an email citing the NASGA 2011 Festival page. These two pics -- the top one a much better photo of the Glosta stopper than mine was -- are found there:

The pottery shard is very cool. I had taken one to submit that was a stylized partial bird -- not nearly as arresting as this boy is.

Here's a link to the pics (including those above) of all the winning pieces this year:
-- And here's a link to a piece of Mackinac Island glass. I spoke of Mackinac Island at my mother's funeral, as one of her most beloved places. This was during the part of the ceremony when people were asked to take with them a piece of sea glass. Well, here's an amazing piece of sea glass found there -- read the interview!

New New = Pea

The Island Free Press has just decreed that, from now on, the inlet that for two months has been called "New New" will now be called "Pea Island" -- as in, Pea Island Inlet and Pea Island (temporary) Bridge. I'm fine with that designation, though the editor of IFP is, she writes, disappointed. (She liked "New New.")

IFP, an online news service, surveyed Hatteras residents (and visitors, perhaps) to determine the best name. Fewer than 60 people responded; fully 30 of those respondents wanted 'Pea Island Inlet.' Sadly, I couldn't snap a pic of the inlet itself because the sidewalls of the bridge are too high and too bulky. But the pictures here are of the area immediately surrounding the bridge, where new pools abound:

I like it that the name 'Pea Island' may be more in circulation. The tale of the Pea Island Lifesaving Service certainly deserves greater prominence. I have a DVD documentary about the crew, should anyone be curious and want to borrow it! I am told that the Discovery Channel is going to run the program in the next year or so. It's both little-known African-American history and lifesaving history.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Run aground off Hatteras Island: Us!

Yes, as I mentioned below, our ferry ran aground yesterday. We decided against going to Ocracoke, since we would have been about 3 hours later than planned.

The ferry we were meant to take developed mechanical problems, so they brought in this other, larger ferry:

We're not Mann's Harbor but Hatteras Inlet. Our ferries do not have a row of seats on the car deck! And, BTW, here's our car riding aboard:

The boat had to apply side propulsion to get out of a sticky situation at the halfway point, but on we pressed. Until we were spitting distance from Ocracoke, where we grounded. One engine got dangerously hot as the ferry tried to extricate itself, by report of a crewman. I guess the channel got no deeper closer to the dock, as a decision was made to return pretty much the whole 40-minute distance to Hatteras.

More on the hurricane

We went back up to the Tri-Village area (Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo) on Monday. The KOA campground has been devastated. The little rental cabins that used to be all lined up on cement pads are no longer.

Taken at the 'New' New Inlet, where the temporary bridge was erected, this is a shot of what used to be a Coast Guard building:

You can see the sound's tide line on the ocean side of the island. For perspective, the sound doesn't tend to rise to more than a couple of feet outside its typical mass. This tide line is at least a few hundred yards outside sound territory, if not more: