Like so many recent hurricanes, Irene seems to have caused far more damage to our neighbors up the beach and across the sound than to Ocracoke. Remarkably, there was no flooding on Ocracoke and, although there was a lot of wind for quite a while, there was very little damage. The worst result for us here on the island is the damage to N.C. 12 and to the power line (both on Hatteras Island) which has necessitated closing the island to visitors through the Labor Day weekend. Rumors abound and I'm not sure how much to trust much of the information I'm getting, but I've heard that the restoration of our electricity may permit reopening to tourists early next week. It appears that the damage to Highway 12 may not be repaired enough to allow traffic from the north for several weeks to come, however, so our only access will be via the Cedar Island and Swan Quarter ferries.
In an effort to make the best of an unfortunate situation, our family (complete with dog AND cat!) took a little "evacu-cation" to visit inlaws in Columbus, Ohio. It was fun and we drove through the night on our return in time to catch the 10 a.m. ferry at Swan Quarter on Tuesday. All three kids resumed school on Thursday but only for half days Thursday and Friday.
I took the older two kids on a little sailing cruise across the sound. We left Friday (I know, I know, but I'm not a superstitious sailor!) at 1 p.m. and sailed over to a beautiful anchorage in the lee of Judith Island. Saturday morning we sailed up the Pamlico River and when I gave the kids the choice between visiting Bath or Aurora, they chose the latter. We docked up, and walked up the street, not knowing what to expect in a town alleged to have recently experienced serious flooding. To our surprise, the place was fairly well cleaned up and the Fossil Museum was even open, as was the Piggly Wiggly and a surprisingly good local restaurant. We cast off at 5 p.m. and motored down stream to an anchorage off the village of South Creek.
There was no wind this morning, so we had to motor all the way back to Ocracoke, arriving at 2 p.m. It's nice to put up the sails now and again and just keep on sailing over the horizon!
While all of us here on the island wish we could still be in the peak of the season with cash registers buzzing away, it's nice to kick back a bit and take a breather. Philip Howard has put together a traditional Ocracoke square dance at the Community Center this evening. I've got to go shower and put on my dancing shoes!
Before signing off, I'd like to thank the many of you who phoned and e-mailed with expressions of concern and, in many cases, offers of refuge. One of the few really good things to come of these natural disasters is the reminder of how many really good friends we have scattered far and wide. Thanks!