An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

July 18, 2010

Ocracoke Island - On Loan From The Sea

Like many Virginians, the week of July 4th we loaded up the car and headed to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We made our way south on Route 12, past McMansions built on sand, miniature golf courses and all-you-can-eat buffets to the very end of the road. Our destination was Ocracoke Island, which can only be reached by boat or plane. We took the 45 minute ferry ride from Hatteras Village, over impossibly colored water, to what feels like to me to be the end of the world and delightfully so.


Boy and Birds

Laughing Gulls

Red and Green Buoy in a Blue Sea

The majority of Ocracoke is protected as part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and the much smaller remainder is occupied by Ocracoke Village. The island is skinny, 15 miles long by about half a mile wide with marshes and a few low forests on the Pamlico Sound side, and dunes with some of the most pristine Atlantic beaches on the ocean side. Behind these dunes was where we set up camp, and unlike the mountains (thinking every nightsound could be a bear), it was soothing to hear waves crashing throughout the night. The stars were amazing, and during the day we were treated to shows put on by the ever-changing skies.

Friday Morning

Friday Afternoon Storm (2)

Friday Afternoon Storm (6)

Pirate Flags

Saturday Morning (5)

Saturday Morning (8)

We did have several opportunities to enjoy the beach without threat of storms. Saturday afternoon the beach started to get crowded - by Ocracoke standards.

Blue Sky Beach

This was the sunrise on the day we had to leave, and I believe the best was saved for last.

Sunday Morning

We will head to Ocracoke village in my next post, but if you want to see the rest of this set, click here.


  1. Awesome pics...I love Ocracoke! There are some pretty gardens tucked here and there too!

  2. Great photos Les! Love the sunrise photo. Looking forward to your continuation post.
    We are headed to the Outer Banks next month for a week. Can't wait!

  3. What beautiful blue skies. Your shot of the seagulls is amazing and I love the reeds against the storm clouds.

  4. If anyone can make me homesick, Mr P, it is you. Thank you for this one and give your family my very best.

  5. Wonderful! Shows you don't have to go to Hawaii to get pictures of paradise. Once again your photos are outstanding. I always get nervous about taking my good camera to the seashore...

  6. Hi Les.

    Wow, what an amazing trip, place and really do have an amazing technique and talent for those wide and deep long shots! My sort of coastline, pity it got so busy!
    There is nothing like (or more relaxing) to me then falling asleep to the rushing sound of the of the few things that really breaks through my psyche and makes me catatonic...zzzz.

    I really wanted to do some surf casting when I saw your pictures.


    PS. Survivorman? Les!

  7. Beautiful photos Les, thanks for sharing your mini vacation with us. I've never been to Ocracoke Island, but we use to go every summer to Nag's Head. The beaches were so clean and the water so blue. Remember when that shark attack took place years ago? We were 2 miles up the beach playing on that same sandbar. That was some scary stuff...

  8. Les, Fantastic photos(the sunset makes my heart flutter) and I am consumed with envy, not one of my better moments either. We passed on a beach vacation and I am very sorry now~

  9. It looks like a wonderful get a way.

  10. Incredible place! Magnificent photographs!

  11. I love that image of the terns and the boy (your son?) The surf against the sky could be a turn of the last century painting. The dune grass against the stormy sky is magnificent as are your sunset/sunrise photos – wow! I like how you focused more on the blue sky than the beach in one shot. You make me want to visit this stunning island. I enjoyed the link to the slideshow too. Your landscape photography posts are my favorite posts.

  12. Your sky pictures are amazing. The people's eye view of seagulls in the sunshine looks like an artist's conception of something not quite real. I could almost hear them screeching.

  13. Les, I'm going to share this on my FB page for NCers who follow. Love your laughing gulls. You are so gifted and it's a pleasure to read your thoughts. More than a pleasure to view your photography.

  14. Garden Goddess,
    I found some of those gardens, but the few pics I got were not that good.


    The seagulls were an unexpected bonus. They have the tourists well-trained and will actually take food from your hand.

    Mr. P.,
    U bent zeer welkom. Ik weet hoeveel u van dit eiland houdt.

    I know what you mean about the camera. I went to the camping store and got some waterproof bags to keep it in and am very careful.

    There were indeed many people surf casting, although I did not see any fish. It always makes me think twice about swimming in the ocean where there are people fishing.

    I do love the beaches down there as well. I bet that shark attack made you think twice.

    It is not too late to make plans for trip to the shore. I am gald you liked the photos.

    It certainly was.

    Yes, very incredible.

    Yes that is my son feeding the gulls. Thank you for the comments on my photos. The shots always seem to turn out better when you like the subject.

    Screech they did!

    I really appreciate the Facebook mention as well as the nice comments.

    Little Doctor,
    Thanks for stopping by.



  15. I especially love the 9th, 10th and last picture -- wow. Gorgeous.

  16. Les,
    I’m just speechless… I’ve been trying to catch up on your blog. I’m way behind on my reading. You have such a TALENT when it comes to capturing beauty in a photograph. I’m am just absolutely amazed at some of the photos. Truly I am… --Randy

  17. Sweet Bay, Randy and Jamie,
    Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments. It is a lot easier to take good pictures when you really like your subject.