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Author Topic: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea  (Read 2463 times)

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Offline SawyerTed

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A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« on: June 26, 2020, 07:27:26 AM »
So the sawmill is buttoned up for a month or so.  The Doc and I are volunteering at Cape Lookout National Seashore in

 historic Portsmouth Village.  We are provided a free campsite for our camper in Ocracoke and stay in Portsmouth Village during the week. 

We greet visitors and look after the buildings and grounds during the day and have access to the beach in the late afternoon and evening. Over night we are the only people here. 

There are around 20 historic buildings here.  Some date back to 1850.  They took a real hammering by Hurricane Dorian. 

Ocracoke is struggling to get back to pre Dorian.  There are many houses and businesses that have been torn down.  There are a lot of businesses that closed due to COVID-19.  The school is being restored this summer.



 

 
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Offline WDH

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2020, 07:28:43 AM »
It is a special place for sure.  I am jealous.
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Offline Nebraska

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2020, 10:22:29 AM »
Looks like a tough assignment, I hope you can persevere and suffer through.

Offline Tom King

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2020, 11:06:22 AM »
Great way to spend a Summer!!!

When I was involved with our Boy Scout Troop, we used to take them to Portsmouth Island in the Fall.  I love that place, but it seems like it takes forever for us to get there, even though it's in the same state, and doesn't look that far on a map.

Great dark skies there some nights, since it's nowhere near to any city lights.

We used to stay at the Fish Camp.  My BIL, and his Wife, who live in Beaufort, spend some time there, several times every year.

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2020, 04:37:06 PM »
Looks like a brown trout, what's the deal?
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Offline jeepcj779

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2020, 04:53:20 PM »
That is a speckled trout. We catch them in the sounds and brackish rivers of coastal NC.

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2020, 08:02:02 PM »
Theres a speckled trout and what we call a gray trout, aka weakfish, in our sounds and rivers.  A speck and a brown trout look very similar. Where a brown really is bronze, a speck is iridescent black blue and purple across the back. 

Sea trout live a tough life sometimes, very quick frigid temperatures can kill them.  One more than one occasion Ive seen them chased out of the water by blitzing bluefish on the beach.  

Catching sea trout is one of my favorite kinds of fishing and eating.    Thankfully the fishery is on an up swing lately. 

We took our camper down Wednesday and are at home for the weekend.  Our son and DIL were coming in to visit but a death in her family has diverted them.  So we will tend garden, do the yard and head back on Monday.  Our duties start on Tuesday 
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2020, 08:19:48 PM »
Great way to spend a Summer!!!

When I was involved with our Boy Scout Troop, we used to take them to Portsmouth Island in the Fall.  I love that place, but it seems like it takes forever for us to get there, even though it's in the same state, and doesn't look that far on a map.

Great dark skies there some nights, since it's nowhere near to any city lights.

We used to stay at the Fish Camp.  My BIL, and his Wife, who live in Beaufort, spend some time there, several times every year.

Look at my website, and let me know if you need any help on what to do with any of the old buildings.
Tom you are closer than we are!  We caught the Ocracoke-Hatteras ferry at 8:30 this morning and pulled in the driveway at 5:30.  We did detour to Garner to Agri.Supply but that was 30 minutes. 
We usually go to Cedar Island to catch the ferry to Ocracoke.  It still is a 7-8 hour trip including the ferry trip. 
We do a ton of star gazing at night. Usually 4th of July we go to Ocracoke and enjoy an awesome fireworks show but its cancelled this year. 
This is one of the machines volunteers have to use to check the beach.  The road from the village to the beach is flooded most of the time so an Argo allows us to get out there.


 
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Offline Tom King

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2020, 10:13:32 PM »
I was a little surprised the first time I came off the ferry to Portsmouth Island that they had a small compressor there so you could put air back in your truck's tires after letting some out to drive on the beach, or really anywhere else on the island.

Are the old fish camp cabins still standing?  I liked the old ones better than the newer ones.

Offline Tom King

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2020, 10:16:21 PM »
The first time I ever went, I got a little balled up in getting to the ferry, even though I was pretty close.  I saw a Deputy Sheriff's car, so I drove up to it.  He was sitting there in uniform, with the door open, and feet on the road, holding an open beer.  He didn't even lift his head, and just pointed, " So straight, and take a right" in that Eastern Shore type drogue, before I ever opened my mouth.

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2020, 06:31:16 AM »
The Long Point Cabin Camp was updated several years ago. Those are the cabins across from Atlantic on the North Core Banks aka Portsmouth Island. Unfortunately Dorian cut a wash right through the middle of the camp. Cabins were heavily damaged.  The septic system was destroyed as well as the generator and water system. The Park Service has closed that cabin camp until the Island stabilizes some and when they have money to fix it. Dorian cut several washes across the Island with one becoming a new inlet about a mile south of Portsmouth Village. Ive not seen it yet but Im told its a quarter mile wide and 10-12 deep.  So theres no access to the village from the beach via 4x4.  In years past we had quite a few visitors from the Long Point Cabin Camp. 

The Great Island Cabin Camp on South Core Banks aka Davis Island has been repaired and is open. 

Portsmouth Village is only accessible by passenger ferry from Ocracoke or by private boat.  I suppose the old airstrip could be used, its mowed but not otherwise maintained.  
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Offline Tom King

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2020, 07:21:26 AM »
I figured it must have taken a hit.  I haven't been there for a little over 20 years.

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2020, 09:26:13 AM »
Last year we used my boat a good bit while we were at Portsmouth Village.  It stayed in the water a good bit of the 30 days we were there.  Marine growth on the bottom  really slowed the boat down after a couple of weeks.  We even scraped the hull twice while we were there. 

This year I decided to paint the bottom with anti-fouling paint. Yesterday I sanded and painted the bottom with two coats.  

While I was on my back holding to sander above my head I got to thinking who would know, besides me, if I just skipped some of the sanding.  The I realized the barnacles would know.



 

 

 
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Offline Tacotodd

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2020, 09:29:35 AM »
Yes, yes they would.
Trying harder everyday.

Offline doc henderson

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2020, 09:57:13 AM »
looks great.  what is the active ingredient in the paint.  may have to be careful next time you sand.  
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2020, 10:58:03 AM »
Copper is the active ingredient. 

Sanding gelcoat, epoxy, fiberglass or paint I always wear a mask.  I wear a mask for a lot of stuff - grinding, welding etc. Sometimes a VOC filter mask if necessary - it was necessary for painting since Xylene is the thinner and Im guessing other VOCs in the paint. 

A man doesnt get to be old very long taking unnecessary chances. I have allergy induced asthma so masks are a must. 

Probably should be wearing one for this Sahara dessert dust cloud. 

The bottom paint is Total Boat Underdog.  Its what Jamestown Distributors recommended for a trailer boat. 
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Offline WDH

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2020, 07:52:51 PM »
Barnacles don't lie.
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Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2020, 09:35:49 PM »
Looks like you are having a good time.  After I get done with planting, harvesting, and cutting and baling hay, plan to cut some trees down and make some boards.  But maybe someday I'll have time to go to the sea shore.

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2020, 11:28:39 PM »
The first time in Ocracoke  for me was in 1969 and the last was in 1980.  My family went to the Outer Banks for vacations. Lots of great memories!

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2020, 02:25:35 PM »
We  

 Emily caught a 22 flounder last evening jigging next to the pier pilings.  I caught 6 gray trout and one speckled trout.  All were about 20-22.

We came to Ocracoke on Wednesday to set our camper up.  Cape Hatteras National Seashore helps support the VIPs (Volunteers In Parks) even though we volunteer for Cape Lookout.  Cape Hatteras provides us with a campsite with full hookups.  We went home for the weekend and returned on Monday.  

Yesterday was our first day on duty In Portsmouth Village.  We played catch up with cleaning the visitor center since the last volunteers left a week ago. 

Today was a relatively cooler day and made for mowing.  I mowed for 5 hours and covered about 2/3 of the village.  The previous VIPs had rain that prevented them from extensive mowing.  Tomorrow Emily will mow and I will meet visitors to the village. 

 Here Emily is maintaining some of the displays in the visitor center.


 This is the water line of Dorian (beside the plaque) compared to some other recognizable storms in the last 20-25 years. Dorians line is just over elbow high on me (Im 6-0 yall) standing in the post office which is about 18 above ground level.  
 

This was Monday nights sunset - I have to say its as pretty as any in the Keys.
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2020, 02:27:33 PM »
Sounds fun. Nice pictures 👍

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2020, 02:40:45 PM »
 

 This building weathered Dorian relatively well.  It is the visitor center. It too had several feet of water inside.  NPS crews from across the US came and did clean up.  



 This is the Post Office and General Store.  



This house is among the oldest houses on the Outer Banks.  Built in 1850 this house and one other are the oldest here in Portsmouth Village.

Dorians waters came in and filled the buildings with water. Then the water receded so fast the buildings could not drain fast enough and some basically popped at the seams.  See the corner board, this corner and the opposite one are where this house popped.
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Offline Hilltop366

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2020, 03:19:14 PM »
Interesting.

Thanks for the tour!

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2020, 08:39:20 AM »
 The Life-Saving Station is one of my favorite buildings here in Portsmouth Village.  

The seven man crew would use this Mononomy type 26 surf boat to row out to vessels wrecked on the beach and shoals.  The crew here actually rescued over 400 people off of one stricken ship.  

 


 

When vessels were in the surf the crew would use a Lyle gun, a kind of cannon, to launch a line to the ship. The ships crew would use the light line to pull a heavier rope to the ship.  Men would be taken off the ship in a breeches bouy, basically a life ring with a seat in it suspended by a pulley from the heavy line.



Their apparatus was carted to the beach on wagons.  Men usually pulled the wagon but some stations used horses.

The light line fired by the Lyle gun was laced on a rack so the line would pay out without tangling.  


 

The motto of these Life-Saving Crews was We have to go but we dont have to come back.
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2020, 08:42:14 AM »
 

 

The Life-Saving Station. 
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #25 on: July 02, 2020, 08:45:31 AM »
cool.  and we all think we have tough jobs!
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2020, 08:12:35 AM »
Yes, thanks @SawyerTed for the tour - I was in Hatteras last week and it's one of my favorite places. Cape Lookout is next up on my fishing trip list, probably this fall.

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #27 on: July 03, 2020, 09:11:23 AM »
Emily and I feel very fortunate to be able to do this.  Many years ago we talked with a volunteer at Cape Hatteras, he made the idea of volunteering at National Parks sound appealing. A few years ago I saw a Facebook post looking for volunteers here at Cape Lookout National Seashore, so I applied.  We wanted to go to the lighthouse but those slots have a waiting list. The Ranger in charge of volunteers asked if would try Portsmouth Village and we fell in love with this place.

This village is a special place and was very important to the growth of NC as a colony and eventually as a state.  There are descendants  of residents here who come by for a visit occasionally.  Its interesting to hear their stories of visiting their grand or great-grand patents here.  

Rudy Austin is the main Capt that runs the passenger ferry from Ocracoke. Rudy is a native of Ocracoke and his father was a caretaker here years ago.  Rudy has many stories about the Village. , its residents and visitors.
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #28 on: July 03, 2020, 09:28:23 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to post the pictures and stories.  I am enjoying reading about y'alls adventures.  Hope folks are respectful of the location.  Be safe!  

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #29 on: July 03, 2020, 03:34:45 PM »
This young man is a descendant of Portsmouth Village residents.  He is also a member of the Friends of Portsmouth Island.

It was a pleasure meeting him and hearing his stories.



 
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2020, 08:00:44 PM »
The Outer banks are one of my very favorite places.  I make an annual Pilgrimage to Hatteras every Fall for surf fishing for red drum.  Only missed two out of the last 36 years. 
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #31 on: July 04, 2020, 08:58:12 AM »
The Life-Saving Crew kept a watch from the tower in the top of the station.   This view is of the village from the tower. 



 


 
Theres a variety of wildlife here and especially birds.  Of course a bird didnt make these tracks!  There is a resident bear.  

 
This is my view of Ocracoke on a quick run over to deliver some friends who came to visit. 
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #32 on: July 04, 2020, 09:11:33 AM »
Im really enjoying this topic SawyerTed. 

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #33 on: July 04, 2020, 09:18:12 AM »
Portsmouth Village was established by the colonial legislature in 1753.  Ocracoke Inlet was the only inlet to the Pamlico Sound at that time. Portsmouth was to be the main port for colonial eastern NC - Washington, Bath, New Bern and Edenton.  By the 1770s there were several hundred residents servicing the port and shipping. 

Heavy seagoing ships couldnt navigate the inlet, so they would anchor and be off loaded onto lighter boats.  The smaller boats would take trade goods to warehouses built on the back of the island. Other vessels that could cross the Pamlico Sound would carry goods to and from the colonial towns. Primary exports were cotton, tobacco, tar, pitch, turpentine and lumber.



 

Just prior to the US Civil War, over 500 people lived here.  In 1846 a hurricane cut Hatteras Inlet.  That inlet was deep enough for seagoing ships to cross and sail directly to colonial towns inland. Portsmouth began to decline.

Union troops took the Outer Banks without serious opposition, during the occupation most residents left.  Many did not return.
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #34 on: July 04, 2020, 09:39:53 AM »
Here is a more complete record of storms and their high water marks in the village.  The door is to the storage shed behind the Visitor Center 

 
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #35 on: July 04, 2020, 10:23:29 AM »
Im really enjoying this topic SawyerTed.
It has crossed my mind that some here may not be able to travel due to the virus.  I thought maybe some would enjoy a virtual visit here. 
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #36 on: July 04, 2020, 11:07:21 AM »
Those buildings by the water always seem to have a different look to them.
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #37 on: July 04, 2020, 11:30:43 AM »
Was that your boat? Can we see some more of it?

My wife and I stand by ready to help if you need it. :)
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #38 on: July 04, 2020, 12:09:41 PM »
Those buildings by the water always seem to have a different look to them.
There are three houses undergoing extensive restoration right now. Ill share some photos and info about them later on. 
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #39 on: July 04, 2020, 04:18:51 PM »

Was that your boat? Can we see some more of it?

My wife and I stand by ready to help if you need it. :)

Yes thats my boat.  Its a 21 year old Wellcraft walk around cabin. It has a 200 hp Johnson Ocean Pro outboard.  I use her frequently on the lakes around home and trailer her to the coast several times a year.  
The park service has a consessionaire contract with a fine gentleman in Ocracoke to provide passenger ferry service to Portsmouth Village and to the beach. We sometimes ride the ferry but use our boat because I like to fish.  
Today we ran back to Ocracoke to Celebrate Independence Day!


 
This is Diversion


 
We just beat the squall coming across the Pamlico Sound. The boat ramp is on the west side of the island so we wouldnt have been able to load in the chop coming on shore. 
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #40 on: July 04, 2020, 09:01:31 PM »
We are in Ocracoke for our days off.  We walked by the school and the church.  The people here are pretty strong but I can tell they are tired.  Right after Dorian there was lots of support, but that has seemed to taper off.  Now COVID 19 has  curtailed their tourism income. The mental and emotional toll must be heavy.  


 This is the inside of the school.

 More of the school. 


  Monday the church was 9 feet in the air on cribbing.  This week they lowered the church onto the pilings.  When we came by Monday, the pilings were in place and notched for the sills of the church.  Originally, the building was only a couple of feet off the ground.  
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #41 on: July 05, 2020, 07:44:45 PM »
Tonight we ate fresh caught sea trout, summer pickles, home grown cabbage (slaw) and French fries. We also had some homemade peach beverage. 



 

 

 
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #42 on: July 05, 2020, 07:58:49 PM »
Looks like the peach 🍑 beverage has some adult spirits in it. Like Jack 😂

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #43 on: July 05, 2020, 08:05:32 PM »
Yes homemade adult beverage made from sugar and potatoes...
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #44 on: July 05, 2020, 09:44:52 PM »
Is is tough to have to see you suffering so much :D.
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #45 on: July 06, 2020, 06:26:46 AM »
 :D :D 8)
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #46 on: July 12, 2020, 07:47:57 AM »
This is one of the houses here in PV. The first photo shows the house after Hurricane Dorian.  The following photos are after the Friends of Portsmouth Island and the NPS joined forces to restore the house. 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #47 on: July 12, 2020, 08:49:11 AM »
For those who have fished on North Core Banks/Portsmouth Island and stayed in the Long Point Cabin Camp, here is a photo of one of the cabins.  The cabins are closed and likely to be demolished.  The water is not potable but the bath house is operating,  All camping is in tents or truck campers.  

The good news is planning has started for new location for a new cabin camp.  


 
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #48 on: July 12, 2020, 09:26:00 AM »
The Babb house looks great!  Sad to see the cabins in this shape.  Mother nature can be harsh and unforgiving.

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #49 on: July 12, 2020, 12:04:22 PM »
Our family vacationed on Hatteras for many years every summer. Two weeks at the KOA. From when I was 10 to 18 yo . Lots of good memories. We usually spent a day on Ocracoke.
When my dad retired he volunteered at Sherando Lake Just over the mountain from Charlottesville VA. He would spend a month on his way to Florida in the fall and a month in the spring. He seemed to enjoy being a VIP. 
 Thanks for the thread and stirring up the memories!
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #50 on: July 12, 2020, 12:21:30 PM »
Enjoying, and appreciating your posting this, including the pictures!!!

Are any of the old, hexagonal fish camp buildings left?  I think they were just South of those "newer" ones now with feet in the water.  We used to stay in the old ones.

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #51 on: July 12, 2020, 12:34:09 PM »
Moose, becoming a VIP opens all kinds of doors.  Sounds like your Dad figured out a great arrangement.

Over the last three years Ive learned there are all variety of volunteering opportunities with state and federal agencies. Recreation areas managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, the US Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, National Forests and National Parks offer volunteer opportunities.  Many provide housing.  Just in Cape Lookout National Seashore there are outdoor opportunities, like ours, and indoor assignments (Air Conditioned). Some opportunities are short term, for a long weekend, and some require a 6 week commitment.  

Some places are desperate for volunteers while others have a waiting list. 

If any are interested, go to the website for the location you are interested in and look for the menu item Get Involved.  The volunteer opportunities are listed there. 
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #52 on: July 12, 2020, 12:36:30 PM »
Tom the old ones were replaced with more modern ones several years ago.  The hexagonal ones were heavily damaged by a hurricane- maybe Isabel but Im not certain which one it was. 
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #53 on: July 12, 2020, 04:34:48 PM »
Thanks for the postings, looks like a great way to spend a month on the oean front.
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #54 on: July 12, 2020, 06:08:26 PM »
Looks like great times. :) Nice fishing, boating and enjoying the scenery.

We have a different speckled trout up here, a brook trout. But every so many eggs there is a missing gene and the trout is more silver and runs to the sea for 3 years and then up river in the summers where it looses it's silver appearance and spawns. They call them 'salter' brook trout in New England and New York. We call them "sea run" up here. There is a small stream near here that rears brook trout to release in fall. Our government doesn't do any hatcheries and hasn't for 30 years.
Move'n on.

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #55 on: July 13, 2020, 04:00:05 PM »
Our days off are Sunday and Monday each week.  We stay in Ocracoke on our days off.

We went to the beach today.... 

The beach was as deserted as the road to the beach!

 

 
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #56 on: July 17, 2020, 05:49:22 PM »
 

 So this week has been HOT!   Did I say 🥵 hot and humid.  A couple of days have been still and humid with heat index above 100.

We cut some grass and did some trimming around the buildings and cemeteries.   

Today we had a family visit.  The couple in their 70s got married in the church in the village 43 years ago in November.  They told the funniest story about how they got here and the preacher they brought with them.

We have a bear on the island.  It has been roaming and tasting things.  It tasted the seat of one of our ATVs and the siding on one of the houses!

 
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #57 on: July 17, 2020, 06:52:20 PM »
Sounds like a bear that would taste good itself, since it seems to lack manners.

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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #58 on: July 17, 2020, 09:10:56 PM »
I bet that is a very hard place for a bear to make a living.
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #59 on: July 17, 2020, 09:20:34 PM »
Sounds like a bear that would taste good itself, since it seems to lack manners.
Im thinking its living on fiddler crabs and other scavenged stuff.   If a bear is what it eats, I wonder if this one would taste good.  
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #60 on: July 18, 2020, 06:47:34 AM »
Doubt there is such a thing :D. I'd bet he does have a rather tough life. At one time, years ago, someone said there are as many bears in the Dismal as in the Shenandoahs, I never would have thought that.
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #61 on: August 06, 2020, 10:54:10 PM »
@SawyerTed 
You ok?
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Re: A Month in a Little Village by the Sea
« Reply #62 on: August 06, 2020, 11:28:36 PM »
I was also wondering if you had left prior to storm.  We'll prior to storm evacuation.

We don't need live video of seam busting buildings.


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