The swimming is good here but it can be a little ruff, so watch the undertow. The water is cleaner down this end of the Outer Banks and the waves are bigger too. The only people you see are the ones that rented the houses on the beach.
I actually reached the point of the cape at Cape Hatteras. This historic point has many stories it can tell. From the days when Black Beard the pirate raided the shores here to the present this point has fascinated many people.
The Italian explorer Amerigo Vespoucci originally set foot on this beach in the 16th century. Perhaps right were I was standing. Then four hundred years later wreckage from German U-Boats washed up on the beaches of Hatteras. And today a man in a hat claims the area for his own personal memories.
Standing in the circle of the original location of the lighthouse I took this picture to show where the lighthouse was moved. In 1999 the light house was raised in its entirety and moved back to the location where it now stands. It was a major excavation and is documented day by day at the museum.
The Cape Hatteras light house was built much closer to the shore than where it stands today. The sea shore gradually eroded over the years and the lighthouses existence was threatened by the very waters if protected. Pictured here is the original site of the base of the light house.
Here is another view of the lighthouse keepers house. These brave men lived a rugged life and protected the coasts and the many ships that passed this way. You can learn of their story and hardships when you visit the museum.
The lighthouse keepers house has been renovated and is now a museum. The romantic idea of the lighthouse keeper living out on the cape tending the light was in reality a very harse and isloated life. The keeper was forced to live out here alone for many months isolated in cold windy weather. His family had to live inland where it was more protected.
This view is looking down at the parking lot below the lighthouse. We had to climb 268 steps to arrive at the top of the light house. If you look back at the opening picture on this page you can see me standing at the bottom of the stairs as they wind there way up the narrow lighthouse.
From the top of the lighthouse you can look out directly into the ocean and see the waves hitting the shore. There are so many legends about this area and so much history. We had a very clear but windy view the day we visited.
To me this was real exciting. To be able to actually see Cape Hatteras. This picture was taken from the top of the lighthouse. Why is this exciting for me? Let me explain.
Growing up my mother was a weather fanatic. She had a terrible fear of thunderstorms. So she constantly watched the weather channel on televsion to monitor the weather. So many times I saw the map of the east coast of the US on that channel and heard the forcasters talking about storms passing over Cape Hatteras. It always appeared to be such a distant point junting out into the ocean. And when you get here you can actually see the point from the map and see it sticking out at a right angle into the ocean.
So here we are. The two guys in hats without the hats. No we really aren't as bald as we appear in the picture. We were on vacation with a group of friends and had a little too much to drink one evening and we all ended up with bleached blonde hair. At the time we thought we looked cool. In reality we looked like a bunch of bald old men.
This picture was taken at the top of the Cape Hatteras light house. You can see the actual cape behind us. We had to take out hats off because of the wind. It was around 28 knotts the day we climbed the light house. The guides working at the light house told us they have to close down the tours if the winds surpass 30 knotts. So we were fortunate to make the cut.
The Cape Hatteras lighthouse has quite an interesting story. It remains today as the tallest lighthouse in the United States. It has a fourteen foot base. From the base the lighthouse is a towering 196 feet tall. Then when you include the top iron superstructure it is a total of 208 feet in height.
A tour of the museum is free but donations are accepted and go for a good cause. This is about some of the 600 ships that went down off these treacherous water which are some of the most treacherous in the world. The Hatteras Lighthouse was the 1st in the US to warn ships away from land not as an entrance to an inlet. Some ship that went down were not just victims of the waters or hurricanes but of pirates like Black Beard who set up camp so to speak just down in Ocracoke Island which was his favorite spot too. So check it out for some very cool history of these islands.
Now if you have plenty of time and can time the shoot just right, you might get lucky like I did! I have seen many times in the Outer Banks over the ocean there can be a lot of lightning activity, just thought I would see what the camera could do, no tri-pod.
You can take a short drive up route 12 to Buxton to visit the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. This lighthouse was the first lighthouse ever built in the USA to warn ships away from land. There were more than 600 ships that had gone down near the cape, this area was known as The Graveyard of the Atlantic. The first tower at 90ft was completed in 1803 but was named the worst lighthouse in the US by sea captains because the light was to dimm and not tall enough. After battling the ocean and elements for almost 60 years it was renovatedin 1854 with a boost to 150ft and givin a new lens, after the Civil War congress approved a new lighthouse, completed in 1870 the now standing 198ft tower could be seen for almost 20 miles out to sea. This lighthouse was moved back from the beach in 1999 due to the ocean taking more and more of the beach. You can climb this tower for a few dollars and 256 steps for some fantastic views at the top.
It's hard to descride how beautiful the clouds look at sunset over the ocean here. The clouds look like they are on fire and makes for a great photo op, bring your camera and lots of batteries!