The Vacation

IMG_2213Sunday afternoon our family arrived on the Outer Banks, Corolla area, while Hurricane Joaquin swirled far off shore. Curious to see what a stormy sea looked like, we headed for the ocean.IMG_2203

We climbed to the top of a beach access stairway and looked out. No sandy beach existed. Only a sea of roiling waves, at least six to eight feet high, crashing against a wall of sand dunes built to protect beachfront vacation homes. Impressive power.

IMG_2230On Monday huge waves still commandeered the ocean. Although the sandy beach had begun to make a comeback, red flags warning of rip tides fluttered from every beach access area.

Hubby and I were astounded to see four or five tween girls playing far out in the waves while their parents watched from the narrow sliver of beach and occasionally hollered for them to come toward shore a bit – words swallowed up by the wind and crashing waves.IMG_2222

On Tuesday morning comfortable temperatures and sunshine returned. Again we headed to the beach and found a calm ocean edged with its usual wide beach. Perfect for a hike along the shore.

IMG_2223While walking along we noticed a rather large dark object stretched across the beach a short distance ahead. Soon we came across the remains of an old shipwreck uncovered by the storm.

Rotted wooden ribs curled out of the sand. Timbers at least twelve inches across and fastened together in bundles of three formed the keel.

IMG_2276Some folks thought this ship was the Metropolis, a steamer that went down in 1878 on her way to Brazil. We did some research and discovered that underwater archeologists had verified that a steam boiler, boat davits, and masses of iron sitting about 100 yards off shore did come from the Metropolis.

IMG_2261But were these wooden remains also from her? No one seemed to know for sure. Whatever the ship’s identity, finding the huge wreck added a new and unusual dimension to our vacation.

Opposite the ocean side of the Outer Banks is the Albemarle Sound. Our rental home bordered the sound and had its own pier.

IMG_2236The grandsons gathered their crab traps and fishing poles and headed for the pier with the return of sunshine and warmer weather. At the day’s end, they had caught enough fish and blue crabs for a hearty seafood dinner.

Although the largest fish caught was a carp and not edible, it put up a good fight and made a great ‘big fish’ photo.

IMG_2252In the Corolla area it’s not unusual for streets to stay flooded for several days after heavy rains. One guy had a great time plowing his truck through one of the submerged roads several times.

He saw me snap a picture, stopped at the end of the street, rolled down his window and hollered, “Boys need their fun!”

IMG_2246Wildlife abounds on the Outer Banks. Turtles basking in the sun and osprey’s in flight are common sights along with seagulls. Unfortunately, poisonous snakes also inhabit the sound side.

IMG_2281The grandsons spotted three cottonmouths beside our pier and snapped pictures with their phones before coming into the house with their news. I grabbed my camera and hurried to the pier, but the snakes had already slithered away to parts unknown.

The topography of the Outer Banks is rather flat which makes for easy biking and hiking. Most days we enjoyed walking or biking for miles.

IMG_2266However, all the exercise did not quite counteract the continuous snacking on goodies seldom indulged in at home.

All too soon the time came to pack up and head home. Our vacation had come to an end. But the pleasant memories of being with family will always stay with us.

About Kathie Mitchell

Kathie enjoys country living, time with family, playing cornet in community bands, crafts, gardening, and writing.
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