A photo a day from Oriental, NC, the surrounding Pamlico County area, and nearby rivers, creeks, bays and other waterways of coastal North Carolina.

Oriental Daily Photo is a member of the City Daily Photo blog network.
See daily photos of other towns and cities around the world at:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

8.27- Stranded on Shackleford Banks

Some of Shackleford Banks' wild horses grazing ocean-side
(click on images for full size)

Today's pictures actually are from two days ago... My father, my oldest brother, my youngest nephew and I went down to Shackleford Banks, one of North Carolina's outer-banks islands, on a borrowed 19 foot "Carolina Skiff."

The Shackleford Banks horses are wild horses that have been stranded on the island for several hundred years... According to the Nat'l Park Service, genetics testing shows they are descended from Spanish horses.

As we learned on our trip, horses aren't the only ones liable to be stranded on the island...

Our original travel plan had been to boat down to visit Beaufort, but the Captain (me) decided to visit the nearby Shackleford Banks first.

The trip from Oriental to Beaufort had only taken about an hour, so I kinda figured we could visit nearby Shackleford for a bit while working up an appetite for lunch in Beaufort.

Unfortunately, due to command failure (my bad,) we ended up stranded on the island for about TEN HOURS.

Boaters visiting Shackleford Bank are well-advised to pay attention to a warning posted outside the restroom cabin on the island:

"Boaters should be aware of tides - you may become stranded"

A valuable warning which I saw several hours too late:

My dad and brother ponder at the high-and-dry Carolina Skiff
(click on image to enlarge)
My dad and brother had remained at the boat, chatting away, while my nephew and I walked across the sand dunes to the ocean side of the island for some body surfing in the Atlantic Ocean (at right.)

After we had swam around and followed some horses for an hour or two, we were headed back to the boat when my dad called my cell to inform me that there was a problem with the boat... as seen above.

Tides come in twice a day, so we were facing a good number of hours until we would have a chance to get the boat back off. And of course we had no food, since we had planned to lunch at Beaufort.

There are, however, much worse places to be stuck for ten hours.

My brother and I hiked back across the island so he could get a chance to swim in the ocean surf, and while I watched from the shore a herd of Shackleford Bank horses came lolling past, stopping here and there to graze, so I got a lot of nice pictures I wouldn't have had we not been stranded:
(click on images to enlarge)

After more swimming and horse-watching, my brother and I crossed back to the sound side of the island, and I began gathering dead wood along the way, seeing as how we were going to be stuck on the island well after dark.

As twilight and the tide fell, there were two to three hundred yards of sand between the skiff and the water (see picture at left... black area between boat and lighter colored water in the background is sand... lights of Beaufort near the horizon).

I continued gathering firewood until sundown, and gathered up some of the plentiful oysters and mussels that were poking up all around the sand flats, just in case we got really hungry.

I built the fire on the beach about one hundred yards away from the boat, right at about the same elevation as the bow of the boat.

The wood lasted just about the perfect amount of time, and when the tide rose to within inches of the fire (around midnight), we were able to pull the boat into the water.

While we were all relieved to finally be able to get off the island, my dad and I knew our work was just beginning - navigating at night through an unfamiliar harbor and about 30 miles of rivers, creeks and ICW ditches to get back to Oriental.

What had been a one-hour trip down turned into a three-hour trip back, with dad as navigation officer constantly checking the charts with a jury-rigged blue filter on the flashlight (to preserve night vision) and calling out the upcoming marker lights, ranges, and bridges while I manned the helm and a spotlight (thank goodness the boat owner had left one in stowage aboard!) to look for unlighted navigational markers and other potential collision hazards.

Ah, well, stuff happens. One can avoid this sort of thing very simply... by never going boating... too high a price.

My nephew (with shirt on head to ward off bugs), my brother (background, left) and myself enjoy a fire and attempt to cook oysters and mussels while waiting for the tide to roll our way

Google map showing boat stranding location on Shackleford, and the route back to Oriental:

View Shackleford Banks in a larger map


Saturday, August 22, 2009

8.22- Tiki-Bar Reunion

Saturday night at the Tiki-Bar
(click image to enlarge)
Shrimp boats (left, background) and a live band (background, near colored lights) provided the backdrop for Saturday night on the Tiki-Bar deck at Oriental Marina and Inn on Raccoon Creek and Oriental Harbor.

The Oriental Marina and Inn is situated in the heart of Oriental, and offers itinerant boat slips, laundry and shower facilities, rooms for rent, the Toucan Bar & Fresh Grill, as well as the popular Tiki-Bar.

I was told that the class of 1979 was having a reunion tonight... but I didn't hear what school it was, probably Pamlico County High School.

Friday, August 21, 2009

8.21- Offloading Shrimp

(click image to enlarge)

A bucket of shrimp from the hold of "Lady Barbara" being poured onto the sluice leading into the Point Pride Seafood fish-house.

Friday always brings a lot of activity to Raccoon Creek as the shrimpers come back in to the harbor for the weekend curfew, and to unload their catches.


Monday, August 17, 2009

8.17- Goose Creek boat house

Little Red Boat House on Goose Creek
(click on image to enlarge)
I drove down to the end of Goose Creek Rd. for the first time today, and found this small private boat house and boat ramp at the very end of the road.

A sign posted on a utility pole reads "Use Only By Permission" (see picture below) ... I guess you just have to know who to ask.

Off in the distance (above) you can see some small commercial fishing vessels (click on image to enlarge.)

Here is another view (from the end of Goose Creek Rd.), followed by a map of the location:

(click on image to enlarge)

View Goose Creek boat house in a larger map

Thursday, August 13, 2009

8.13- Fūjin takes a rest

Anglers casting on a bait ball
(click on image to enlarge)

More storms and rain this morning, but by late afternoon the waters of the river Neuse showed nary a ruffle... except the ruffle caused by the menhaden school these anglers sneaked up on to gather some bait.

A number of other sports fishers were cruising about, and two or three shrimpers were visible, including the one in the background (left) drifting between Garbacon shoal and Adam's Creek on the far side of the river.

Surprisingly, the many sailors who normally (and mysteriously) crowd the river when Fūjin slumbers, were completely absent.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

8.12- Foulies, shorts and sandals

Eight to ten inches of rain mean "foulies" for some itenerants returning to their boat at Oriental Marina and Inn on Raccoon Creek, at the heart of Oriental.

Classic, never out of style.

Monday, August 10, 2009

8.10- Tobacco Rows

A John Deere tractor and pendant machinery rest until tobacco harvesting begins again tomorrow


Saturday, August 8, 2009

8.08- Bonza on the Billabong

Some Aussie visitors get a souvenir photo taken during a sail on the river Neuse

These young ladies from Australia took advantage of one of their few days off from working at Camp Seagull for to go out sailing on the river Neuse today.

A lot of young men and women from around the world come to work at the local camps during the summer. They receive minimal pay for long hours and few chances to get off of the camp grounds.

These ladies didn't seem to mind, but were glad to have a day away from the camp grounds... two of them will be off to further adventures in New York and Europe when their work at the camp is over in a couple of weeks.

Monday, August 3, 2009

8.03- View through the clew

Setting sun peeking through the clew during a sail on the river Neuse
(click on image to enlarge)


Saturday, August 1, 2009

8.01- Rumble in Dog Town

A vehicle applies the brakes as it crosses the new rumble-strips on Midyette St.
(click image to enlarge)

The Town of Oriental laid down some "rumble strips" and put up more visible "Slow Children Playing" signage on Midyette St. last week.

The street leads down to the popular "Wildlife Ramp," a free public boat ramp anglers and recreational boaters use to put-in at Smith's Creek...

Because the street bears off at a slight angle from the main highway leading into town, many vehicles veer off onto Midyette without slowing down, causing understandable consternation and concern for children on the part of the street's residents.

Neighbors were particularly concerned with trucks hauling heavy fishing boats to the Wildlife Ramp... The ones pictured at right going over the rumble strips were not speeding, but Midyette residents report that similar vehicles often journey down this narrow asphalt at 30-50 mph.

Town officials are testing the rumble strips and sign placement to see if they help slow things down.

Dog Town History

This stretch of Midyette St. was first developed as a residential subdivision in 1916 by the Roper Lumber Co., which owned a large lumber mill on the site of the current Wildlife Ramp, a little over half a mile down the street.
(see Google map at bottom of this post for locations)

Roper Lumber Co. named it's subdivision "Dog Town." (see Roper Co. plat, below)

In 1919 Roper Lumber began selling the subdivision lots to African-American employees of the company...

I am guessing that it was at that time (and a long time thereafter,) the only place within town limits where blacks were allowed to live.

To this day the vast majority of African-Americans living within Oriental town limits live along this stretch of Midyette St.... Many of the homes are owned by descendants of Roper Lumber employees who moved their families into Dog Town during the 20's and 30's.

As early as 1954, property deeds for Dog Town lots additionally described the subdivision as being "known as White City."

According to local lore, the rather ironic "White City" moniker for the town's only black neighborhood came about because all of the houses in the subdivision were painted white.

Below is the Roper Lumber Co. subdivision plat... It was apparently filed in the County Register of Deeds office by G.P. Midyette (?grandson? of town founder Robert P. Midyette) who purchased Roper Lumber's mill property and its un-sold Dog Town lots in 1948. I say this because the filed plat (which notes that it is a 1942 copy of the original plat) bears some ghostly annotations of payment schedules and payments made by persons to whom G.P. Midyette is on record as having sold the annotated lots:

(click on image to enlarge)

Map showing Hwy.55, Dog Town, and Boat Ramp /Former Roper Lumber Mill:

View Dog Town and Roper Lumber in a larger map