Tuesday, May 27, 2008

OBX Revisited - Memorial Day weekend

My family and I met our friends, Cary and Julie and their two kids, on Hatteras Island for Memorial Day weekend. Our friends, former neighbors who now live in Phoenix, returned to NC for a week to visit with everyone in our neighborhood and joined us for a taste of the Outer Banks. We stayed a couple of nights in an oceanfront house in Avon, then took the ferry down to Ocracoke Island on Sunday and stayed there one night, then ventured on the long ferry down to Cedar Island and on to Beaufort on Monday, then home.

It was a relaxing weekend for me with no activity since I was still recovering from my hernia surgery. It was tough to sit by and wishing I could be on the water windsurfing or SUP'ing. But I didn't miss much. There was a little bit of sailable wind for a couple of hours each of the first 2 days and the surf was flat. I took advantage of the situation by taking in the sights, spend time with family and friends, and doing a few things I might not have otherwise done.

Our oceanfront house was in south Avon almost at the very end of the beach houses before heading to Canadian Hole. The house had a very cool kitchen backsplash...check it out...

On Friday, I went to SailWorld Hatteras and Hatteras Island Boardsports and saw Andy and Drew. Andy and I were lamenting about our respective ailments (his broken hand and my recent hernia surgery), when Stu walked in and showed off his broken ankle. Andy and Stu can at least claim their injuries were the results of windsurfing to the extreme....definitely not the case for me. I happened to mention that maybe this will be it for everyone since bad things happen in threes. Wrong! That night, one hour after our friends arrived at the house, their son Ian broke his foot on the stairs. Doh! They spent the night until 4:30am in the Nags Head ER. I have to hand it to Ian and his cool parents...they didn't let it ruin the weekend and Ian stayed in great spirits the whole time. He hopped his way around or got rides on his dad's back. Cary got a workout over the weekend carrying Ian around. Great attitudes all around....blame it on the OBX perhaps?

Unfortunately, Ian did miss out on the next day's surfing lesson with his sister and my daughter. The girls had a great time learning from Crew, one of Drew's surfing instructors. Even though it was a little chilly and rainy on Saturday morning, the girls didn't let it ruin their fun. It definitely helped that Drew and his brother Kevin were able to dig out some wetsuits for them to use for the lesson. Thanks guys!

One sour note is the amount of trash I found on the stretch of beach in front of our house in south Avon. This was not where Off Road Vehicles are allowed either. I am convinced that most of the beach going populace are good citizens, care about the beaches, and don't litter. But there will always be the bad apples in the bunch. My three kids and I picked up a small trash bag's worth of garbage, including a condom (unopened in its wrapper and unused by the way). I was quick on my feet and explained to my kids it was a pack of mustard....whew. Anyway, it was a good learning lesson for the kids and we did our good deed for the day. Another side note to this - while watching the girls in their surfing lesson, I saw a plastic bag blow away from a fisherman off the pier into the water. A few minutes later, another fisherman was able to cast his line, catch the bag on the hook, then reel it back in. Nice catch!

Ocracoke did not disappoint. I was pleasantly surprised there wasn't a long ferry line in Hatteras for the ferry over. I had heard stories of 2 hour ferry lines last year since Ocracoke was rated as the best beach in the US by "Doctor Beach". The high gas prices must have kept people home because we showed up and got right on the ferry with no waiting (the price of gas on the Outer Banks by the way was $4.15....ouch!). Ocracoke Village and the area around "the Creek" (Silver Lake) always makes me feel like I'm in the Caribbean. Sitting there enjoying my fish sandwich and a beer with a view of The Creek made me think this must be what Jimmy Buffett had in mind when he wrote half those songs.

We saw dolphin from both ferries, and from the long ferry to Cedar Island, we watched two different groups of dolphin swim directly to the bow of the ferry then peel off and swim away.

I always love driving through Cedar Island and going through the towns of Sea Level, Atlantic, Davis, and Stacy. These are fascinating fishing villages that are in the middle of some beautiful country that resembles more of the Louisiana bayou lowlands and marshes than anything else in North Carolina. Beaufort was a fitting end to the weekend with brunch on the waterfront boardwalk and a stroll along the boardwalk to watch all the boats coming and going.

About the only other stuff we did was check out the Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke Lighthouses, did some shopping, spent some quality time on the beach, and ate some good seafood. It was great to be back on the Outer Banks even if I couldn't get on the water...definitely good for the soul.


Andy said...

Hey Mac, glad you guys had fun! and believe me, I feel your pain when it comes to not being able to hit the water... Luckily, just being at the beach is plenty of fun!

James Douglass said...

Cool vacation report, Mac. Looks like you had the right attitude and right company to make the most of your injured downtime. :)

Catapulting Aaron said...

Mac, as always a great report and great photos. Unfortunately after reading this my mustard has been tasting awful odd.