Onto Pea Island

Soon enough though, we crossed a bridge onto Pea Island, a rather long causeway that led to the more undeveloped areas. All along the drive, there were towering sand dunes to the east, protecting the road from the surf, and blocking the view – and with good reason too, since we reached one spot where the dunes had been breeched by the previous day’s storm. Here Pops got out to take a few shots as the wind howled hard enough to take your breath away, and made him take his hat off. Surf watchers – I hesitate to call them surfers – were crowded on a broken dune admiring the waves. Here you could see massive sandbags, each larger than a car poking out like huge white sausages from the sand, trying to hold back the sea.

The town beyond it had water in the middle of the road, just shallow enough to drive through. The town was filled with wooden buildings growing up like weeds on stilts, most three, perhaps four stories tall, with decks and towers clustered near the roof to provide a view of the raging ocean beyond. This is the nature of most buildings we see along the central portions of the outer banks, where tourist needs appear to have taken over from practical considerations.

On the other hand, since this is the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” with 600+ known shipwrecks (compare this to the sandy shoals of the Merrimack River, with only 100 shipwrecks) some of these may have evolved from wrecker’s towers like they have in the Florida Keys. Either way, with such brutal winds blowing, it is hard to comprehend why some are not just blown over on their sides when a hurricane hits.

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