Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lighthouses of the Outer Banks of North Carolina

During the week before Scott shipped out he wanted us to see the Outer Banks of North Carolina. He knows how much I love lighthouses so two must-see sights of the day were the Cape Hatteras and Bodin Lights. Of course, there was plenty of ocean to see along the way. Well, there was a lot of sand in the form of high dunes so most of the time we were driving we didn't see any water except on the graphics of the GPS! Never fear, I do have photos of the ocean, too!

The day was perfect! The sky was so blue and clear we could see for miles! It was chilly and breezy but the sun was warm.
Our first stop was the Bodin Lighthouse. Here we had the great pleasure of meeting John Gaskill whose father was a keeper at Bodin during John's childhood. The day we met him he was one day from his 93rd birthday and as mentally and physically vital as a much younger man. He has written a book about his life which, of course, I bought. With tales of growing up at the lighthouse, and his Navy career which included assignment to the first true aircraft carrier, Scott and I had a great time visiting with him.
One of the stories Mr. Gaskill tells is of him and his brother racing up and down the spiral staircase in the lighthouse. Try these several times a day:

On to the Cape Hatteras Light, one of my favorites! I have figurines of this light, but this was my first visit and I was like a little kid seeing Santa! This light and the keepers' houses were in serious danger of falling into the sea as the current was eroding the beach at a very rapid rate. Called the "Move of the Century" the light and the houses were moved 2,900 feet to safety in 1999. The light tower itself is 9.6 million pounds of unreinforced brick and was rolled in one piece to its new location. Amazing!

Isn't it beautiful!!

Now, on to the beach! The water was a beautiful blue and the surf crashed leaving foam as thick as an over-dose of soap suds! And the dunes from the ocean side were magnificent! I fell in love with the Outer Banks --- but then, I haven't been there during a hurricane!

But if I could be in more than one place at a time, wouldn't this be a nice place to be......

A scary and sad part of the day was as we were heading back north toward Virginia we saw smoke in the distance. As we got closer we could see that it was a grass fire starting at the roadside and moving quickly to the west. In the photo below, on the left, is the Bodin Light which we had visited just a couple of hours before. It was not in the path of the fire, but an out-of control blaze was a definite threat. Our guess is that an errant cigarette started the fire. Let me rephrase that.... our guess is that an inconsiderate smoking motorist tossed a lit cigarette out of the window. As we passed the blaze we could see close-up that it was being contained. Thank God!

Thank you for stopping by! I welcome your comments and please share your stories and photos of your favorite places.


Myrt said...

Oh Barb, what magnificent photos. There is something about lighthouses isn't there? I love the shot of the lighthouse through the window.....awesome! You write such a nice story along with all of the pictures and makes it such a pleasure to read and look at. Thanks for sharing, Barb.

Leigh said...

Barb, Your photo's are magnificent. Just Beautiful!.
I read where you met John Gaskill who told you about his being assigned to the very first aircraft carrier. We have original pictures of that ship being fitted as an aircraft carrier. My Grandfather took them. He was one of the first two photographers in the Navy. I wonder if they ever met...hmmm

Mojo said...

The move was a fascinating (and slow!) endeavor and I still don't know for sure how they pulled of part of it. The light was actually rolled from its old location to its new one on a crawler brought up from Cape Canaveral that was normally used to move Saturn V rockets. I forget the exact speed of the transport, but it seemed like it didn't move more than a few feet per day for fear of a bump in the road knocking the thing off balance.

What I never figured out was how they got it on and off the crawler! And I keep forgetting to look it up.