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Outer Banks Guide > Outer Banks Blogs > Eve Turek's Natural Outer Banks Blog
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Monday, May 28, 2007
Sunrise in Sonag, Monday May 28, 2007

     Mother Nature is not making it any easier for Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. to leave for Maine tomorrow. The sunrise this morning was the prettiest in a long time and it looks like Memorial Day will be another perfect beach day just like yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.

     For those Outer Banks lovers who think they must have lost their minds to want to spend the next five months in Maine when they already live in paradise they can only answer "Maybe they have". They spent a few weeks in Maine back in September and went completely bonkers over what they saw and experienced. 

    Perhaps their motivation will become a little more understandable as the summer heat, humidity and traffic begin to turn Nags Head into a somewhat less than paradisical place than the one we are enjoying right now.  Uncle Jack will be blogging from the deck of their apartment overlooking Camden harbor from time to time and perhaps the appeal of Maine in summer will become more apparent as time goes by.

     He will resume blogging sometime after the first of June, as soon as he can get a broadband connection. In the meantime here's a link to a magazine called "Jewel of the Maine Coast" that the Chamber of Commerce puts out every year.  The cover picture is a shot of Camden harbor and if you scroll down a bit there is another full-page aerial view of the same. You will have to agree that Camden is not too shabby. And it's cool in the summer.


     See you in a week or thereabouts. 



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5:40 a.m.

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5:49 a.m. Official sunrise.

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Five minutes later.

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Happy visitors enjoy the wide, flat, natural beaches of South Nags Head on Sunday. Plenty of room for everybody including an incredible number of dogs on leashes who amuse themselves by barking at each other. Uncle Jack was not amused.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:06 AM

Comments [9]

Sunday, May 27, 2007
Sunrise and birdsong in Sonag, 5/27/07

     It is yet another spectacularly beautiful day on the Outer Banks.  Nuf said.

     For the past several weeks Uncle Jack has been serenaded on his way to and from the beach at dawn by a bird that he could hear clearly but could not see.  This morning that same bird blew his cover by alighting atop  a flagpole on the deck of a cottage on Whitecap street and holding forth in fine fashion for 90 seconds or so. If you enjoy listening to birds sing you will want to check out a short video Uncle Jack made of his performance which you can access by clicking on the YouTube link below.

     Every once in a while a reader sends Uncle Jack a tip about something he should check out on the internet that turns out to be so meritorious that he immediately wants everybody he knows to look at it, too.  This time it was Carrie McPhee in Colorado who put him on to a YouTube video by a singer named Tom Rush that left him weak with laughter.  If you, like Uncle Jack, are struggling with gradual memory loss, you will want to watch this hilarious three-minute performance. 


    Uncle Jack will be back tomorrow if he remembers to get out of bed. 


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5:40 a.m.

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5:50. A ghostly apparition appears.

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5:55. Here to stay and ready to fry sunbathers in their own oil today.

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Meanwhile Breeze sets her tennis ball aside long enough to pursue another crab.

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Some thoughtless fireworks fanatics forgot to clean up after themselves last night. The first mess of the summer in this vicinity but surely not the last.

link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVhnDr-P4E8

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:31 AM

Comments [13]

Saturday, May 26, 2007
Sunrise in Sonag, Saturday May 26, 2007

     Another in a long series of flawless days has dawned on the Outer Banks which should delight the host of visitors who have flocked to these islands for Memorial Day weekend.  The ocean is calm, the wind barely perceptible, the sky cloudless and the temperature will reach the mid-80's. Tomorrow and Monday are supposed to be exactly the same and nobody is going to want to go home---especially kids who have another week or two of school to endure.

     Uncle Jack perused the latest copy of the North Beach Sun newspaper yesterday and came across a noteworthy interview with Senator Marc Basnight in which, among other things, he puts forth an interesting proposal for restoring the beaches north of Oregon Inlet, to wit:

     "I kind of look at it a little bit different," said Basnight, adding that the answer to protecting local beaches lies beneath Oregon Inlet in the sand washed down from the beaches of the northern towns and into the inlet, where it hurts the fishing industry until it is pumped out".

      "I have always felt that we are wasting that sand," he said.  "I think that sand is avaluable resource and I would rather see it placed in a big pile. Individual property owners could then buy sand from the pile to build back the beach at their own properties.  And if they didn't want to they wouldn't have to.  I think there is some value there. That way the public does not have to pay the lion's share of the cost of beach renourishment, and the private owner pays what he wants to pay to replenish the beach."

     The interviewer said nothing about the location of the Senator's tongue while making this proposal but assuming that it was not firmly lodged in his cheek his idea will deserve serious consideration by the lawmakers of the northern towns whose beaches are steadily drifting southward into Oregon Inlet.  For Uncle Jack it has a kind of Forrest Gump-like simplicity that is very appealing.

    In fact he suggested something quite similar in a column he wrote several years ago, to wit:


Fellow Outer Bankers, as we stand at the (threshhold, brink, precipice: choose one) of another glorious Season in the Sun, let us pause for a moment to examine together the state of our beloved sandspit. Even the cynics and naysayers in our midst will agree that the past year was one of unprecedented growth, prosperity and progress and other good stuff like that. Consider the following economic indicators:

Foreign Trade. Never has the Outer Banks enjoyed a more favorable balance of trade with the outside world than it does today. Latest Chamber of Commerce figures show that our mainland visitors spent far more on T-shirts, lighthouse replicas and ceramic seagulls last year than Outer Bankers spent at Sam’s Club and Circuit City in Norfolk put together. While it is unfortunate that the resulting surplus had to be divided amongst so many deserving merchants and that many therefore find themselves in straitened circumstances, they should take heart from the fact that only a few dozen new shops just like theirs will be opening this summer.

The Environment. Last year saw tremendous progress toward the worthy goal of eliminating what is perhaps the Number One public health menace of the Outer Banks, namely flying sand. Uncle Jack is pleased to report that last year alone more than 27 square miles of unhealthy sand dunes, a major source of airborne particles, were brought under control through the copious application of asphalt and concrete. He is now able to predict with complete confidence that by the year 2020 the scourge of flying sand will be naught but an unpleasant memory in the minds of a handful of surviving senior citizens.

Uncle Jack must admit that in spite of the best efforts of our enlightened lawmakers a few environmental challenges remain. The Atlantic Ocean, of course, is one of them. Year after year the ocean continues to demonstrate callous disregard for one of our most cherished and fundamental principles---the basic human right of property owners to build fourteen-bedroom rental houses wherever they please.

Uncle Jack is sure that you will agree that it is time to take whatever measures may be necessary to put the ocean in its place and therefore he is pleased to reveal at this time his Master Plan to Stem the Tide At No Cost to the Taxpayers of Dare County.

Phase 1 of this simple but elegant strategy calls for the immediate replenishment of the South Nags Head beaches with sand from the unsightly pile known as “Jockey’s Ridge State Park” (presently located at the 12 milepost directly across the Bypass from Austin’s Fish Market.) This project will pay for itself through the sale of millions of dollars worth of oceanfront lots thus created.

Uncle Jack has calculated that if each unemployed person in Dare County next winter were required to carry one shovelful of sand from Jockey’s Ridge to South Nags Head before cashing his unemployment check the entire operation could be completed by the end of February.

Space does not permit further elucidation of Uncle Jack’s Master Plan at this time but you may rest assured that like our esteemed President he will stay the course until it is accomplished come hell or high water. Especially high water.

P.S.  Uncle Jack made a 90 second video of the sun and surf at 5:45 this morning which can be viewed by clicking on the YouTube link below the pictures. It's pretty.     

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5:40 a.m.

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Ten minutes later and right on time.

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As the world turns the sandpipers feed.

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A happy beachwalker treads the pristine sands of the newly refurbished beach at Surfside Drive where diligent workers have removed tons of detritus during the past several days.

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Piles of broken concrete (left) and shredded sandbags await removal, presumably right after the Memorial Day weekend.

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All that remains is for Mother Nature to push up a high tide and remove the ruts and bumps left by the heavy machinery that was employed to do the job.

link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2UFuR2DR2Y

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:49 AM

Comments [10]

Friday, May 25, 2007
Dead battery in Sonag, Friday May 25, 2007

     The good news is that Uncle Jack arrived at the beach in plenty of time to photograph this morning's lovely sunrise. The bad news is that the battery in his little Sony Cybershot was completely dead on arrival.  Fortunately this morning's sunrise was exactly like yesterday's sunrise so those who need a fix need only scroll down to yesterday's pictures to see what today's pictures would have looked like if there had been any.

     All indications are that today will be another in the long series of flawless days that began earlier in the week and will continue, if the weatherperson is correct, all through the Memorial Day weekend and deep into next week.  Not a rainy day in sight which will cause much wailing and gnashing of teeth on the part of many local merchants, of which he used to be one until recently so he knows how important inclement weather is to the bottom line.

     As anyone who has ventured onto the bypass lately knows, traffic has reached epic proportions even before Memorial Day weekend which once-upon-a-time marked the beginning of the summer season.  At some point in the dim past Uncle Jack penned the following observation on bypass traffic which he now exhumes for the edification of his new weblog readers who may not have already read it three or four times:

                                    Winnebago Blues

Dear Uncle Jack,

One night last week I was racing up to the ABC store to get some cough medicine for my baby but I got behind this big Winnebago with Kansas plates going 25 mph and by the time I got past them it was too late. The ABC store was closed so I had to turn around and go back home and explain to my baby why I couldn't get her cough medicine and she got sore and made the kids go to bed instead of watching "X Files" and she pulled the plug on me, too, if you know what I mean.

Needless to say this whole experience made me pretty disgusted and the reason I am telling you all this Uncle Jack is that I know you are the kind of person who has to get to the ABC store in a big hurry sometimes so you know how I feel. I thought maybe if you published this letter it would galvanize our lawmakers into action to do something about all the slow drivers on the bypass. Why don't they pass a law that would make it a felony not to drive as fast as the law allows at all times?

Junior Johnson

South Nags Head

Dear Junior,

Uncle Jack knows exactly how you feel and you surely have his sympathy. He, too, has spent many an hour creeping along behind large recreational vehicles on the bypass and wondering if he would ever get where he is going which is usually but not always the ABC store. He has to confess he does enjoy reading all those colorful travel stickers they put on the back of those RV's but he wonders sometimes how you could get to all those scenic and historical places such as Knott's Berry Farm in California and Tarpon World in Florida all in one lifetime if you never drove over 25 mph.

He is sorry to tell you he does not think there is much the lawmakers can do about this problem so from now on you should do what Uncle Jack does and plan ahead so you do not have to make so many emergency trips to the ABC store. One way to do this is to take out a home equity loan and stock up on

whatever you think you will need between now and the end of the tourist season. Uncle Jack is fairly sure you can deduct the interest from your income tax so that makes it a pretty good deal if you are careful not to lose your house.

On the other hand if you live in South Nags Head you are probably going to lose your house to the ocean sooner or later anyway so it might not make any difference.

Uncle Jack does not think it would be a good idea to make those Winnebagos go faster because if you ask him the only thing worse than being behind a large RV when it is going 25 mph is being in front of one when it is going faster than 25 mph. Anyway Uncle Jack knows that all those slow-moving people with the funny license plates are the ones who provide him with the financial wherewithal to live on the Outer Banks instead of just visiting once in a while so he is willing to put up with a slow trip to the ABC store from time to time.


Uncle Jack

P.S.  One of the main reasons Uncle Jack is still alive is that he stopped making left turns into the ABC store about 5 years ago upon the advice of his heartless cardiologist.





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This picture was left over from Uncle Jack's trip to Manteo yesterday. This is the pretty lighthouse replica that has replaced the ugly tanks which for many years were a visual eyesore on the Manteo waterfront.

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The harbor in Camden, Maine is starting to come to life again after a long, miserable winter.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:04 AM

Comments [7]

Thursday, May 24, 2007
Sunrise in Sonag, Thursday May 24, 2007

      Uncle Jack is pleased to report that the sun rose right on time this morning and he was there to watch it for a change.  It's going to be another glorious spring day on the Outer Banks.  It's probably a bit too chilly for the likes of some visitors who would like to show off their new bikinis but most residents, knowing what lies ahead in July and August, are wallowing in the refreshing air.

     Uncle Jack had an hour to wander about in Manteo yesterday while the Mini's tires were being rotated and he must say he enjoyed seeing all the sights of that burgeoning metropolis.  He can scarcely believe that it is the same town in which he began his journalistic career  back in 1980 when the offices of the Outer Banks Current were located in the abandoned Ace Hardware building on the waterfront.

     That decrepit structure, along with most of its neighbors, was replaced a few years later by the mammoth (by Manteo standards) but not unattractive condo/retail development which now looms over the downtown area.  The moldering, inaccessible waterfront is now graced by a handsome boardwalk and the refurbished town docks are filled with watercraft of all kinds.  Every town should provide a congenial place for visitors to sit down and eat an ice cream cone and Manteo has done it well. 

    Going to and from Manteo Uncle Jack was astonished to see the speed with which the new Lone Cedar restaurant is rising from the ashes of the old.  The devastating fire took place less than a month ago and already pilings are in place for the new structure which could be open for business by fall.  Anyone who has ever had dealings with the meticulous Planning and Development group at the Nags Head town hall will be mightily impressed with the efficiency and dispatch with which this particular project was handled.  God's creation of heaven and earth in only seven days comes to mind as a comparable achievement, but then again He didn't need a CAMA permit.  Anyhoo Uncle Jack is happy to see the Lone Cedar coming back so quickly and he is sure the restaurant's many employees feel the same way.

     He is further gratified by the fact that a major clean-up appears to be underway on the beach near Surfside Drive.  Kudos to the town for attending to this messy problem before hordes of visitors descend for Memorial Day weekend.


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5:40 a.m. A fisherman readies his gear.

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5:51 a.m.

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Who cares if the fish are biting?

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A wreck at Whalebone Junction caused this back-up. A harbinger of things to come as traffic builds up to fever pitch.

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Who says nothing ever happens in Manteo?

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This unprepossessing bungalow in downtown Manteo is on the market for $699,000. You've come a long way, baby.

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A picture perfect waterfront, slightly reminiscent of Camden, Maine.

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The new Lone Cedar rises.

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A serious piece of machinery tackles the blighted Surfside Drive beach.

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A never-ending process continues. Part of the high cost of oceanfront living.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:43 AM

Comments [13]

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
The Unblog, Wednesday May 23, 2007

    Uncle Jack seriously overslept this morning and the sun was well into the sky before he got up.  He is happy to report that it does look like another perfect day is underway. 

     He is planning a foray into Manteo today to get the Mini's adorable little tires rotated prior to their big trip to Maine next week.  Perhaps some pictures will result from that adventure for incorporation into tomorrow's blog. There is always something exciting happening in Manteo as the recent article in the New York Times showed.

     Anyway he doesn't want to fall into the trap of thinking he absolutely has to produce a coherent blog every day.  A workaholic he is not as he once explained in this piece he dredged up from the archives:


Uncle Jack read an amazing article in a magazine the other day about people called "workaholics" who like to work so much that they work all the time except when they are sleeping, and they don't sleep very much either because they would rather work than sleep.

The article said these people like to work so much they hate weekends and holidays and they think Monday is the best day of the week. Whenever their wives manage to drag them off on vacation somewhere they take along their briefcases full of work and they spend most of their time talking on the telephone instead of swimming and fishing.

You can probably see why Uncle Jack thought this was pretty amazing. He tried work himself once a long time ago and he couldn't see anything in it at all. It is very hard for him to understand why anybody would like work so much that they would want to do it all the time. At first Uncle Jack thought this writer made the whole thing up but now he thinks maybe there might really be people like that even though he has never actually seen one.

The people Uncle Jack hangs around with are definitely not what you would call workaholics. Some of them are "fishaholics" and some of them "sportsaholics" and all of them are alcoholics but not a single one of them even comes close to being a workaholic.

The article says you should not feel sorry for people who are workaholics, though, because most of them are very happy. They really do like to work all the time and as long as nobody tries to keep them from working they are happy as clams. The trouble is that the wives of workaholics are not always happy because they feel neglected, so one way or the other they make the workaholic feel guilty about having so much fun working all the time.

Uncle Jack has noticed that very often the same thing happens to fishaholics and sportsaholics and alcoholics. They would be perfectly happy if people would leave them alone but that is not the way it usually works out.

According to the article the really worst thing about being a workaholic is that sometimes they work so hard they wear themselves out and all of a sudden they drop dead of a heart attack or something. That is a good enough reason right there for not getting mixed up with work if you ask Uncle Jack.

You can be sure he will be keeping a sharp eye out for the "l0 Warning Signals" they give you in this article and at the first sign that he might be starting to become a workaholic he will head right for his rocking chair on the deck and stay there until he is sure he is out of danger.

For anybody who is reading this who is already a workaholic Uncle Jack will pass on a couple of suggestions that the article says will help you have better relations with your "loved ones", by which he thinks they probably mean your wife and children.

The article says you should volunteer to do household chores sometimes and also you should take your children jogging on weekends. The other suggestions are even dumber so Uncle Jack is not going to waste any more space on them. Besides he has been writing for fifteen minutes now and that is enough work for one day.



posted by Uncle Jack at 8:53 AM

Comments [2]

Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Sunrise in Sonag, Tuesday May 22, 2007

     Another beautiful day has dawned on the Outer Banks.  Uncle Jack got up in plenty of time this morning to enjoy some of the pre-sunrise sky show and it was awe-inspiring as always.  Again the beach is exceptionally wide, flat and hard making walking an effortless delight.  Dolphins were feeding in the surf close to shore but were too elusive to pixelate.

    It's going to be sunny but chilly again today.  Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. walked up to the beach at 5 p.m. yesterday to go for a stroll but discovered they were insufficiently dressed to cope with the icy wind off the ocean.  Short stroll and no pictures.

    Against his better judgment Uncle Jack volunteered to help Mrs. U.J. with some yardwork yesterday.  He immediately sprained his right thumb lifting a bag of mulch which has left him nearly incapacitated for the only work he is capable of doing any more---namely pushing a mouse around. Which will explain the brevity of this morning's blog entry.  He is in too much pain to bloviate about anything.

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5:40 a.m. Ten minutes before official sunrise.

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Ten minutes later.

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And ten minutes after that.

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Passing parade. Always a sight to gladden the heart.

posted by Uncle Jack at 6:39 AM

Comments [4]

Monday, May 21, 2007
Sunrise in Sonag, Monday May 21, 2007

    Uncle Jack overslept a bit this morning and had to hustle to get to the beach in time for sunrise.  He made it as the pictures below attest and he can tell you it was worth the extra effort.  Some mornings are nicer than most and this was one of them.

    Actually it's starting out like a carbon copy of yesterday and inasmuch as yesterday was perfect that is not a bad thing. The beach is incredibly wide and flat, the wind minimal and the air temperature is almost shirtsleeve even at dawn. What a pity you are not here, unless of course you are in which case you are very lucky.

    Uncle Jack was not entirely surprised when the proposed Nags Head ban on all fireworks fizzled out like wet Roman candle when it came to a vote last week.  A majority of the town commissioners expressed sympathy for local retailers who had already stocked up on fireworks for this season and would have to eat them (probably literally) if the ban went into effect now.  What puzzles Uncle Jack about all this is that the most offensive kinds of fireworks (the ones that explode or shoot up into the air or both) are already illegal in all of North Carolina.  You can't legally sell them or set them off anywhere in the state, including Nags Head. So why does Nags Head need a new ordinance and why isn't the existing law enforced?  If anybody out there knows the answers to these questions please help Uncle Jack to understand.

    He and Mrs. U.J. took advantage of the opportunity provided by yesterday's auction of the monster house in South Nags Head to go inside and look around.  (They forgot to bring their credit cards so they left before the bidding started).  He has to say that while he thinks the place is an abomination plunked down in a residential neighborhood only a few feet from the ocean it is beautifully done inside.  If you can imagine sharing a house with 30+ other people (which Uncle Jack cannot) this might be as good a place as any to do it (if you can't get the Taj Mahal). 

    He has no idea what the place sold for if it sold at all.  There seemed to be a paucity of potential bidders on the premises at the appointed hour of 1 p.m.  Uncle Jack probably lost out on another splendid opportunity to make a killing in Outer Banks real estate but after 40 years of doing the same thing he is used to it.



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5:45 a.m. In a pinch Uncle Jack could have used yesterday's picture which was almost identical.

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5:53 a.m. Ditto

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Add a few pelicans and a fisherman and a lovely tableau is the result.

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View from the rooftop deck of the mini-hotel. Are twelve garbage cans enough, one wonders.

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An interior hallway looking toward the rec room which has a pool table, a foosball game, a poker table and four televisions. A mini Slammin' Sammy's.

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Last time Uncle Jack saw this pool it was still under construction and half-filled with sand from Hurricane Isabel. Who needs the ocean? (And if you time your visit right the beach will come to you!)

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One of Nags Head's most oceanfront houses. Even the septic tank and drainfield are on the beach and have been for years.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:48 AM

Comments [12]

Sunday, May 20, 2007
Sunrise in Sonag, Sunday May 20, 2007

     Lucky are the Outer Banks vacationers who scheduled their annual visits for this week.  Today is already shaping up to be one of those idyllic beach days that makes people start to think seriously about quitting their jobs and moving here permanently. 

    Yesterday developed into one of those days, too, after a less than spectacular start.  Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. walked at least three miles on the beach in the afternoon and it was almost enough to make them think about cancelling their summer sojourn in Maine.  Almost.

    Two days of rough surf had scoured away another foot or so of sand since their last beach hike and the results were disconcerting.  Only one week before Memorial Day, the traditional beginning of the summer season, many stretches of beach in South Nags Head are in deplorable condition as some the pictures below graphically illustrate.  Some of this mess will probably be covered up again by shifting sand but not all of it by any means. 

    If vacationers stop coming to Nags Head because of the condition of the beaches as many proponents of beach nourishment seem to fear, it is more likely to be the unsightliness and even danger posed by the rubble covering them than their width at high tide.  Perhaps the worst example is the Surfside Drive area where the shredded remains of hundreds of huge sandbags put there by the Town of Nags Head still clutter the beach along with slabs of broken concrete, pipes and wires from long-departed buildings. Yuk.

    Uncle Jack made a two minute video of this morning's sunrise (the first one visible in the past three days) for folks who need a surf and sun fix. Click on the YouTube link below to see and hear it.

     A friendly reminder.  Tomorrow is Monday.




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5:40 a.m. Looks promising.

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5:53 a.m. A welcome sight.

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The East Coast Surfing Association's annual tourney drew a large crowd to the Jennette's pier area yesterday. The rough surf made things difficult for the competitors but conditions today should be more conducive.

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This was one of the few competitors who managed to catch one of the choppy waves. It was rough out there.

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More of the shattered remains of the Comfort Inn's original swimming pool have surfaced in recent days. Just when they had it looking so tidy.

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A beachwalker treads carefully around the unsightly remains of the sandbags which once decorated the beach house known as "KooKoo's Nest" near Sea Gull Drive.

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Could anybody use a good telephone pole? This one's on the beach near Tides Drive in South Nags Head. Excellent condition.

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This stuff has been on the beach at Surfside Drive for months. The wheels of the clean-up Gods grind slowly in Nags Head.

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This morning's beach oddity, a sea cucumber.

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The sandpipers are back. There were dozens of flocks scattered up and down the beach yesterday afternoon.

link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RHpMXkKa-I

posted by Uncle Jack at 9:38 AM

Comments [7]

Saturday, May 19, 2007
Unrise (again) in Sonag, Saturday May 20, 2007

     Uncle Jack braved some ominous black clouds moving in from the west to try to get some sunrise photos this morning but it was all for nought.  A bit of orange showed through the thick clouds on the horizon but nothing resembling the sun could be seen at the appointed time.  But for his sunrise DVD he would have forgotten what the sun looks like by now. (It's not too late to get one for yourself. See yesterday's blog for instructions).

      Yesterday was simply not fit for man nor beast on the beach.  A vicious wind out of the north piled up  big, bad surf and intermittent rain kept even the most determined beach walkers indoors.  Today is not supposed to be quite as bad but you would never know it from the way it is starting out.

      Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. will be heading for the Y after breakfast where a warm swimming pool awaits her and a wind-free basketball court will provide him with a half-hour of moderate exercise and significant ego-enhancement.  There is something profoundly satisfying about making 12 consecutive three-point shots as he did in a recent session. He should perhaps mention that much to his surprise he turned out to be the gold medal winner in the hoop-shooting contest (75-79 year-old bracket) in last month's Senior Games.  It turns out that the other two contestants in his age group were even more inept than he was under pressure.  This minor triumph entitles him to compete in the state-level Games in Raleigh in late September but he has decided to let somebody else have a chance at the gold. (It's a long way from Camden, Maine to Raleigh).

     Another interesting beach-related newspaper article  turned up in his inbox this morning along with the usual New York Times.  (This one is from the Myrtle Beach Sun News). It is a reminder that the state imposed deadline for removal of illegal sandbags from N.C. beaches is now only one short year away.  Here 'tis:

State seeks sandbags' removal along coast

Agency prepares for fight over use of erosion control

By Jerry Allegood - McClatchy Newspapers

The state is seeking a court order to force a Kure Beach condominium project to remove oceanfront sandbags and is preparing for a showdown on the removal of hundreds more sandbags along the coast.

The state Division of Coastal Management says sandbags allowed on ocean beaches as temporary erosion control measures have remained for years, virtually becoming permanent fixtures. Most of about 350 sandbags along the coast must be removed within a year, officials said Thursday.

The division is preparing to notify property owners of the May 2008 deadline set by the state Coastal Resources Commission. Forcing the removal of the bags that protect homes, hotels and roads is likely to be a contentious issue, commission members said at a meeting Thursday in Greenville.

"This is sort of a big wave approaching us," said commission Chairman Courtney Hackney of Wilmington.

Supporters argue that property would be damaged without them, but critics say sandbags are often unsightly and block access to public beaches. In some cases, houses and condos would have to be relocated to keep them from washing away after sandbags are removed.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources last month filed a complaint in New Hanover County Superior Court asking for an order requiring owners of the 48-unit Riggings Condominiums to remove bags originally allowed in 1985. State officials ruled last summer that the sandbags violate regulations.

Over the years, the coastal commission approved several requests to keep the sandbags in place while the homeowners association sought other responses to the erosion, including moving the four three-story buildings across U.S. 421 away from the ocean. Last year, the association rejected a plan that would fund the relocation with the assistance of a $3.6 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Federal agencies have turned down proposals for beach renourishment or pumping sand onto the beach in front of the condos because coquina rock on the beach was part of a natural heritage area.

Association officials are fighting removal and filed a petition last week with the Office of Administrative Hearings.

(Have a lovely weekend.  U.J.)

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5:45 a.m.

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5:55 a.m. Official sunrise. By 7 a.m. the sun had surmounted the clouds and made a full frontal appearance and it looks like it might be around for a while at least.

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Uncle Jack's medal. This and $4.50 will get him a small latte in any Starbuck's in the land.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:15 AM

Comments [4]

Friday, May 18, 2007
Unrise in Sonag, Friday May 18, 2007

 Uncle Jack got up extra early this morning so as not to miss the sunrise like he would have done yesterday if there had actually been a sunrise. To tell the truth he was awakened at 4 a.m. by the sound of rain splattering on the skylight but he thought it might stop by sunrise at 5:55.  He can tell you now at 6:15 that it didn't stop and it doesn't look like it's going to any time soon.  It looks like a very dreary day is in store and on top of that Uncle Jack has to go to the dentist this morning.  That should cheer everybody up.

   Every once in a while Uncle Jack Googles up an interesting item about beach renourishment that he passes along for the edification and/or amusement of his readers.    Folly Beach, the subject of this piece, is a barrier island near enough to Charleston to serve as a bedroom community for commuters as well as a recreational beach for people in the area.  Needless to say it is heavily developed with many structures built close to the ocean.  This is presumably not why it is called Folly Beach but it could be.

    Like all barrier islands on the Atlantic coast it is in constant jeopardy from storms as well as the long-term tendency for these geological formations to migrate westward.  Hurricane Hugo in 1989 destroyed 80% of the structures on the island but massive development since then has brought it back to pre-storm levels.  The name "Folly Island" has never been more appropriate.    (Click on the following URL for an excellent account of the devastation wrought by Hugo.  There are many other similar accounts available by Googling)


     The folly goes on at Folly Beach as the WCBD article indicates: 

A dredging ship three miles offshore of Northern Folly Beach is pumping a mixture of sand and water onto Folly Beach where it is being spread out by workers using bulldozers and other equipment as part of its latest “renourishment.”   In about 45 days, when the project is complete, 150 feet of additional beach will be added to about 2 miles of beach north of the Washout. The loss of beach in this area is not a new problem.

            In the 1890’s, The Army Corps of Engineers build jetties into Charleston Harbor. The jetties are stone canals that keep water moving through artificially narrow openings. When water moves into the narrow jetty, it moves faster so that the same amount of water flows through the channel. The effect of a jetty is like placing your thumb on the side of the water hose to increase the force of the stream. The faster moving water keeps its sediments in suspension, preventing them from settling to the bottom. The jetties keep the channel clear so that large ships can move into the harbor. If the jetties were not there, the harbor would have to be frequently dredged to remove the sediment that would collect.

            However, there is a negative consequence to the presence of the jetties. The normal erosion and deposition of sand and sediments in the area are disturbed and changes to the coastline are inevitable. As a result of the jetties, Morris Island and Northern Folly Beach continue to wash away. Because beach erosion at Folly Beach can be traced back to the presence of these jetties, the Federal Government is responsible for 85% of the cost of renourishment while the local government picks up the remaining 15%. 

            The last time sand was added to Folly Beach was 2005. However, Hurricane Ophelia washed much of that sand away. Normally, a renourishment project should be good for about 7 years. Since the 2005 renourishment was removed by the storm, this project is considered an “emergency” repair, and the total cost will be absorbed by the Federal Government. (End of article).


     Impartial observers like Uncle Jack could perhaps be forgiven for concluding that the best way to fund beach renourishment projects is to first get the federal government to do something really dumb which obligates it to continue to pay for its original mistake over and over again.


Here's the URL for the WCBD article if you would like to check it out:


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Homes on Folly Island before Hugo.

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Folly Island homes after Hugo.

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Folly Island restaurant before Hugo.

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And after Hugo. Thank goodness something like this could never happen here.

posted by Uncle Jack at 6:45 AM

Comments [4]

Thursday, May 17, 2007
Unrise in Sonag, Thursday May 16, 2007

     Normally Uncle Jack wakes up in plenty of time to get to the beach before sunrise but it didn't happen this morning.  His eyes remained firmly shut until 6:15 which everybody knows is at least 20 minutes past official astronomical sunrise in these parts.  He was somewhat chagrined until he looked out the window toward the ocean and saw that the cloud cover was so thick that the sun wasn't visible anyway.  The Lord moves in mysterious ways.....even for confirmed doubters like Uncle Jack.

      The weatherpersons predict a sunless day with intermittent rain---a good day for those lucky people who have purchased Uncle Jack's DVD full of incredible Outer Banks sunrises to stay inside and look at it over and over again.

      In case you are one of the many new readers who seem to have discovered his weblog in the past week or so Uncle Jack should explain that he has selected 105 of the prettiest sunrises he has photographed from the beach in South Nags Head over the past few years and put them on a DVD. You can acquire one of these inspiring disks by sending a check for $9.99 to Uncle Jack at Box 554, Nags Head, NC 27959 or by stopping by Yellowhouse Gallery on the Beach Road at the 11 milepost in Nags Head where Eve keeps a stack of them on the counter.

     There is still time to order directly from Uncle Jack before he departs for his summer sojourn in Maine on the 29th.  There won't be room in the Mini to haul a lot of DVDs up there with him so now is the time to order.  Today's pictures are actual samples from the DVD so you will have some idea of what you will be getting. Wouldn't it be nice to have a copy on hand when Father's Day rolls around in June? Of course it would.

     With this blatant commercial out of the way (in which Uncle Jack reveals why he could never make a living writing ad copy) he offers this tidbit from the archives as a palate cleanser.  It was inspired by his many, many long years in retail and is dedicated to the legions of long-suffering clerks who will man (and woman) the souvenir shops of the Outer Banks this summer: 

Don’t Touch Nothin’

A One-Act Play

By Pier Andello

Scene: A souvenir shop somewhere on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It is 11 a.m. on a typically hot and humid August day. The clerk hastily gulps her fourth Valium of the morning as three tow-headed children, ages 5, 4 and 2 burst through the door followed moments later by their tanned but haggard parents, mother carrying a small baby.

Clerk: (with feigned cheerfulness born of economic necessity) “Morning folks. Can I help you?”

Male Parent: “No thanks. Just browsing.”

Female Parent: “I don’t want you kids to touch NOTHING, understand? (Her eyes glazed, she is unable to perceive that her three ambulatory children are simultaneously touching 47 breakable objects as she speaks).

Clerk: (With grim smile) “Just let me know if I can help.” (She watches in resigned horror as children proceed to touch all 4, 738 items in the shop in two minutes and 51 seconds flat. Pretty good time, she notes, but not a record for three children under six).

Five-year-old: (Brandishing ceramic replica of Cape Hatteras lighthouse, exquisitely crafted by skilled Chinese artisans and authentic in every respect except for the mauve and yellow stripes). “Mommy I want one of these get me one of these I want one PLEASE.”

Female parent: “Rocky I told you not to touch anything. Now put that back where you got it right now and DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING!!”

Five-year-old: (Tosses ceramic lighthouse into barrel filled with pink sponge rubber porpoises) “I hate you. You never buy me nothing’ I want.” (Aims vicious kick at table containing 200 plastic replicas of Wright brothers first glider).

Four-year-old: “Daddy I has to go tee-tee.”

Male parent: (Deeply engrossed in study of poster displaying numerous deeply bronzed and oiled female torsos) “Huh?”

Four-year-old: “Daddy I has to go tee-tee real bad.”

Male parent: (To female parent who is unsuccessfully trying to quiet screaming infant) “Debbie has to go, hon. Can you take her somewhere?”

Female parent: (Shouting to clerk over screams of deranged infant) “You got a bathroom in here?”

Clerk: (Praying that the Lord will not strike her dead on the spot for telling a monstrous lie) “I’m sorry but the nearest bathroom is over at the Visitors’ Center in Kitty Hawk which is about 12 miles from here so you better get going before it’s too late.”

Two-and-a-half-year old: “Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh” (Having knocked over pyramid display constructed of 750 imported ceramic ashtrays inscribed “Fun in the Sun. Nags Heap, N.C. Summer 2006” which had taken the owner three slow days in June to stack).

Female parent: “Dammit Rambo, I told you not to touch nothing’. Now put those things back the way they were because we got to go.”

Male parent: (Still ogling oiled nudes) “Why don’t you take the kids out to the car, hon, while I buy this poster for the family room.”

Clerk: (Reaching for Valium bottle as first family departs and new group enters)

“Y’all come back soon, hear?”


Moral: Retail is not pretty.



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Sample sunrise photo from Uncle Jack's DVD.

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And ditto. (Plus 101 more)

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:58 AM

Comments [8]

Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Sunrise in Sonag, Wednesday May 16, 2007

     If the first hour is any indication this will be a magnificent day on the Outer Banks.  The sky is cloudless, the sea gentle, the wind calm and the beach wide.  What more could a beachgoer want?

     Uncle Jack read in the paper yesterday that the Nags Head commissioners are considering a total ban on fireworks in the town.  This is one initiative to which he is happy to lend his wholehearted support.  There have been nights in South Nags Head in recent years when he thought he was in Baghdad for all the explosions. And many a morning he has found the beach littered with the detritus of the previous night's fireworks.  Enough already.

      Uncle Jack has good news for "Wings" haters this morning.  He went by the newly cleared lot just south of the Brewing Station in KDH yesterday which has just sprouted a sign indicating that another strip shopping center will rise there--- not the rumored new "Wings".  This could fairly be called a mixed blessing inasmuch as we seem to have a bewildering number of strip shopping centers already.

     Should you be encountering the mid-week blahs at work here is a selection from the archives that may help to pass a little time this afternoon if the boss isn't watching:

                               Sea, Sand and Traffic

Uncle Jack has had lots of time to think lately, mostly while waiting to make left turns on the bypass. He looks out at the seemingly endless stream of vehicles coming toward him and his mind begins to wander into the past (which is the only direction he feels safe to go at his age). Often he thinks about the old days when he had to go up to Virginia Beach Boulevard to see traffic like we have here now, and his bosom swells with pride at how far we have progressed in such a short time.

Back when Uncle Jack first came here in 1969 there was only one stoplight in all of Dare County, which goes to show you what a backwater this really was. He can remember when the slogan of the Dare County Tourist Bureau was “The Outer Banks---A Secret Worth Keeping” which he thought was pretty funny because the whole purpose of that esteemed organization was to let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. Uncle Jack wonders sometimes what it might be like around here today if the Tourist Bureau had spent all those millions of dollars trying to discourage people from coming to the Outer Banks instead of wooing them.

Probably not a whole lot different he is sorry to say. Word-of-mouth is still the best advertising and he would guess that just about everybody who ever came here in the old days went home and told everybody they knew about the Outer Banks and then those people would come and love it and they would go home and tell everybody they knew and before long everybody knew. That’s the kind of magical place it used to be.

Uncle Jack knew from day one that the Outer Banks could never remain the idyllic place he perceived it to be when he first arrived. By that time many locals were complaining that the place had gone to hell in a hand basket already but he never quite envisioned the present state of affairs. He is not sure what visitors who are here for the first time this summer will say about the Outer Banks when they get home. It might be something like “The beaches are wonderful but God, the traffic is worse than the Jersey Turnpike”.

Uncle Jack nearly fell out of his barcalounger the other day when he read in the paper that one of the county commissioners had called for a county-wide moratorium on the construction of any more buildings exceeding 10,000 square feet. He is not sure what that would have accomplished given the ingenuity of our developers but in any case his trial balloon was shot down in shreds at an altitude of about 20 feet and the entire matter of rampant, uncontrolled development has been referred to the county planning board for “further study”.

Uncle Jack breathed a sigh of relief when he read that because he was afraid the moratorium might have prevented the company called Beach Mart, Inc. from building yet another big “Wings” store in Nags Head. The new one (across the street from another “Wings”) will be only two blocks from his own gallery---an easy walk because he won’t have to cross the bypass to get to it---so any time he feels the need to buy another imported plastic replica of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse he won’t have far to go.

From what he read in the paper the Beach Mart folks have graciously agreed to make their new store a little less conspicuous than most of their others by reducing the wattage of their night-time lighting a tad. This will make the place a little harder to spot from outer space but travelers on the bypass should have no trouble finding it when they, too, are seized with an uncontrollable need to buy something from China that will remind them of the Outer Banks when they get home.


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5:45 a.m.

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5:56 The first sliver comes into view, right on time.

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And a little more.

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Here to stay. The temperature could reach 80 today according to the prognosticators. Bikini time. Yes.

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Uncle Jack does not know why but work seems to have stopped on this desperately needed new shopping complex opposite Slammin' Sammies. What will we do if it isn't finished by summer?

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:28 AM

Comments [8]

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Sunrise in Sonag, Tuesday May 15, 2007

     A gorgeous morning on the Outer Banks which shows every indication of developing into a magnificent day.  Uncle Jack does not have time to wax eloquent at greater length this morning due to the press of other duties  (e.g. a quick trip to Ace Hardware to pick up a bottle of Terro ant killer before the little creatures walk off with the entire larder).

     He did make a short video of the sunrise which contains a brief voice-over for the first time at the request of Bob C. of New Jersey.  The surf is especially lovely in this one.  Click the YouTube link below to see and hear it.

    Have a great day wherever you are.

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5:45 a.m.

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5:57 Official sunrise.

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6 a.m. Watch the whole thing unfold on the video. It's only a couple of minutes long. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy5Qo2JpUX8

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This large tangle of fishnet washed up yesterday. This would be worth hundreds in a home decor shop.

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The Yachtsman condo is getting yet another faux dune trucked in from somewhere. This stuff has a passing resemblance to sand which is a good thing because it will surely wind up as part of the beach.

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Fort Comfort held up well against yesterday's feisty surf assault.

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The offending porch is still firmly in place.

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And Breeze is still chasing those crabs.

link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy5Qo2JpUX8

posted by Uncle Jack at 8:23 AM

Comments [6]

Monday, May 14, 2007
Sunrise in Sonag, Monday May 14, 2007

    Uncle Jack didn't think he would need his winter coat again this spring but he was wrong. It was 54 degrees when he reached the beach at 5:45 and with a stiff breeze out of the north it felt like January again.  Actually many days in January were warmer come to think of it.

     But the the sun was visible at sunrise for the first time in days and that was uplifting. There is not a cloud in the sky and it should be a good bit warmer than it was yesterday which was not very warm at all.  Uncle Jack walked up to the beach at 5 o'clock yesterday evening and nearly lost another cap to the fierce north wind.  The ocean was nearly as wild as it was during the northeaster last week.  It has calmed down considerably this morning but erstwhile swimmers are urged to stay out of the water because of the danger of riptides.

    He made a short video of the sunrise this morning during which an intrepid gull walked into the frame and then back out again as though he were auditioning for a part in "Nights in Rodanthe". Speaking of which he has to say that the movie is guaranteed to be a lot better than the book.  There is no way it could possibly be any worse. The Sunday New York Times has a long article on the difficulty of predicting which books will become best sellers and there are no better examples of the baffling nature of this phenomenon than the sappy novels of Nicholas Sparks. (If Uncle Jack sounds jealous it's probably because he is).

     Our recent northeaster cum tropical storm (Andrea) wreaked havoc on the coasts of Georgia and Florida last week. The latest story Uncle Jack has seen comes out of a Savannah paper, a link to which he has provided below. If the story sounds familiar it might be because Tybee is a barrier island just like the Outer Banks and we all know what happens to barrier islands over time, don't we?



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5:45 Uncle Jack forgot to take a picture after the sun came up but you can see the whole thing by watching the video. Click on the YouTube link below.

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A mini-northeaster developed yesterday. Looking north from the aptly named Whitecap street.

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ditto looking south. Waves almost reached the dunes at high tide but fortunately no damage was done to all the spanking new stairways that line the beach.

link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XWw_Ou07Oo

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:29 AM

Comments [7]

Sunday, May 13, 2007
Unrise in Sonag, Sunday May 13, 2007

    Not even Medea, the mythological Monster-Mom, would deserve a Mother's Day like this.  At 6 a.m. it's raining, windy, ten degrees colder than yesterday and generally too miserable for Uncle Jack to get out the back door much less to the beach.  He would go back to bed except that it was so hard to get out of it in the first place.

    He hopes you will enjoy the holiday wherever you are, especially if you're a mother.  It's "Your day" as they say over at Hallmark so make the most of it.  Leave town if you have to.

    Just in case anybody out there hasn't read the marvelous New York Times article about Manteo here is the link:


    Who needs Nantucket or Kennebunkport when we have Manteo right next door?

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Manteo has come a long way. This would have been the time to buy every piece of property you could get your mitts on.

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Manteo was once the fishnet manufacturing center of Dare County.

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A popular restaurant in Manteo.

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A modest house in Manteo soon to be worth in excess of $1 million thanks to the New York Times article.

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Where there are fish nets there are fishermen. Manteo in the old days.

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Manteo Booksellers. Manteo's only world class business (with the possible exception of the new ABC store under construction on Hiway 64).

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Before the county commissioners developed their edifice complex the courthouse in downtown Manteo (which was also the jail) was the conduit through which justice was dispensed to Dare county miscreants.

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Whoops. Wrong Manteo. This one's a classy resort in British Columbia. Their answer to Pirate's Cove, perhaps.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:14 AM

Comments [6]

Saturday, May 12, 2007
Unrise in Sonag, Saturday May 12, 2007

     Uncle Jack spent 20 very pleasant minutes at the beach this morning, sitting on a sandbag and drinking tea and watching Mother Nature put on quiet show.  Pelicans skimmed the swells on their morning commute, occasionally pulling up and diving in their ungainly fashion.  Porpoises by the dozens cruised by heading south through the glassy water.  The first osprey he has seen this year hovered in front of him for a while and then moved on. 

     It was obvious from the moment he arrived that there would be no visible sunrise this morning.  Black clouds on the horizon were lit by lightning from time to time and heavy rain was falling from them.  When it became apparent that they were heading toward him he took off for home and arrived just as the sky opened over his house.  If the rain clears out later it could be a lovely day because the temperature was already over 70 before 6 a.m. 

     Uncle Jack is grateful to Steve Thomas for alerting him to events on Long Beach Island in New Jersey where he visited friends back in September on the way home from Maine.  The town of Surf City at the south end of LBI started a beach renourishment project earlier this year but had to suspend operations for an unusual reason. Here's the story from a New Jersey paper:


More ammunition

Published: Friday, May 4, 2007

Beach replenishment, attacked both by environmentalists as a sand subsidy for oceanfront homeowners and by some of those same homeowners who complain about new dunes obstructing ocean views, is controversial enough these days.

But add 900 or so still-dangerous World War I and World War II-vintage projectiles and fuses to the mix, and the sand-pumping issue really gets explosive.

Yes, we said 900.

After an amateur metal-detector hobbyist discovered a handful of possibly explosive fuses in the new sand pumped onto the beaches in Surf City, the Army Corps of Engineers immediately shut down the beach and subsequently began a magnetometer scanning operation to detect any remaining ordnance. Slowly, the total crept up to approximately 200 — then, in one week, the Army Corps discovered an additional 700 devices on the new beach in Surf City and part of Ship Bottom.

Said Army Corps spokesman Khaalid Walls, “It's looking like when these munitions were dumped after World War II, they were dumped in mass quantities.”


So how does a snafu like this occur?

And how can shore towns and beachgoers be assured it won't happen in future projects?

The old munitions came from the offshore site where the new sand for the beaches was pumped from. Unfortunately, the military commonly dumped old munitions into the ocean in the bad old days when anything you didn't want anymore was dumped into the ocean. The problem is well-known — so the Army Corps routinely conducts a magnetometer scan of the borrow area. The scan for the Surf City project showed no munitions. So, task No. 1 for the Army Corps: Figure how that happened.

Because the borrow site appeared to be clean, only a standard 4-inch screen was used on the dredge's intake pipe. Using a smaller screen, which has to be cleared more often, adds time and cost to a beach-replenishment job. But that brings us to task No. 2 for the Army Corps: From now on, use a smaller screen on all sand-pumping jobs.

It's not clear what percentage of the 900 items found are still explosive, but this fiasco on Long Beach Island means that it's possible the beaches may not be reopened by Memorial Day, although federal, state and local officials are promising the work will be finished in time.

Municipal officials also are wisely putting together a plan on how to react if more munitions are found this summer. There has even been some talk about a digging ban on the beaches.

Nothing like a carefree day at the shore.

We believe that, in general, beach replenishment is necessary maintenance of a key piece of the state's infrastructure. Thanks to New Jersey's beautiful beaches, the state has a thriving tourism industry. Furthermore, such projects come with requirements for increased public access and more public restrooms.

But the work is expensive and controversial even when the Army Corps doesn't leave the beaches littered with unexploded ordnance. This cannot be allowed to happen again. Beach-replenishment critics don't need any more ammunition.

     Imagine the T-shirt possibilities.  "Have a blast at Surf City" comes to mind. 

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5:59. Official sunrise. Hah.

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The pelicans were fun to watch as usual.

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No fog or mist this morning. Just rain.

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The new liquor store in Manteo is coming right along. The county must have hired one of those high-falutin' New York architects to design this one.

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Uncle Jack just noticed this tribute to Louis Midgette who was one of the folks who kept this stretch of the causeway to Manteo free of billboards. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for preserving that magnificent marsh vista.

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Clean-up at the site of the Lone Cedar fire appears to be nearly complete. These workers may be trying to decide where to have lunch.

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This is the kind of day it was yesterday. Sophia and Isabella dropped a golf ball down a crab hole and then spent a half hour digging for it. They never found it so if you see a crab playing golf that's the explanation.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:26 AM

Comments [8]

Friday, May 11, 2007
Sunrise in Sonag, Friday May 11, 2007

    Misty morning.  (Sounds like an ecdysiast's nom de pole but it's also a description of the beach at dawn today).  Beautiful in a mysterious way.  Glassy ocean with an occasional porpoise poking through the surface.  Humidity 100%.  Everything shrouded in mist. Lovely.  Wish you could be here.

    It is often said that the Lord moves in mysterious ways and this is certainly true in the case of the Comfort Inn South's new deck.  Uncle Jack recently showed pictures of it under construction but now it appears that he may have to take more pictures showing it under de-construction.  He has attached copies (pictures 7-10) of some correspondence between the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources and the hotel owners which seems to suggest that the deck is in violation of state regulations and must be removed.

     It has also been noted, however, that there is many a slip twixt cup and lip so Uncle Jack is not going to rush right down there and take pictures of people pulling pilings.  If he sees a flock of flying pigs hovering around the Comfort Inn, however,  he will surely check it out.

     The print is small in these documents but Uncle Jack could read it on his monitor so maybe you can too if you're interested.


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5:50 a.m. Lots of clouds on the horizon so it will be a while before the sun appears.

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6:05 a.m. Almost there.

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A little fuzzy but worth waiting for.

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This ancient, worm-eaten timber washed up this morning. Piece of a shipwreck or just part of an old walkway? Who knows?

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Shades of Daytona Beach. This blown tire with rim attached floated in from somewhere last night.

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The Yachtsman condo just south of the Comfort Inn lost its magnificent new bulldozed dune in the storm last week but the swimming pool looks o.k.

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Page 1 of the Comfort Inn "cease and desist" order.

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Page 2.

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Page 3 which seems to indicate that the hotel has agreed to remove at least part of the new deck.

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Schematic drawing of the deck.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:46 AM

Comments [8]

Thursday, May 10, 2007
Fog in Sonag, Thursday May 10, 2007

     Uncle Jack got to the beach at 5:55 this morning just in time to watch the fog roll in. It became immediately obvious that there would be no visible sunrise so he beat a hasty retreat to his kitchen where his mug of Twining's Earl Grey tea was still warm enough to drink.

      Yesterday (Wednesday) evolved into a sufficiently beautiful day for him to dust off his bike and ride down to Surfside Drive and back---about 2.5 miles.  He was moving slowly enough to count the "For Sale" signs on oceanfront houses in this neighborhood of which there were 23 if he didn't miss any.  It appears that either a fairly large number of investors (nobody actually lives in these houses) are becoming warier of the risks of oceanfront investment or they are attempting to cash in on the incredible run-up in prices over the past few years.  Whatever the explanation it's an interesting phenomenon. Rest assured he won't be buying.

    A number of readers were curious about a "cease and desist" order recently received by the Comfort Inn South from the NCDENR. Uncle Jack has not been able to figure out how make a copy of the letter (it's in PDF format) but he can tell you it notifies the Comfort Inn owners that their recent repair of a deck on the south side of the building was done without a permit and was in violation of existing regulations. He will be happy to forward the letter to anybody who is interested in reading the whole thing.

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The eastern sky at 5:55 this morning.

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Five minutes later---the fog came in on little cat's feet....(Carl Sandburg, not Uncle Jack)

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This, the largest mini-hotel in South Nags Head, will be up for auction on May 20. (The "cottage" on the left replaced the little flat-top shown in the next pic).

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It was still under construction when Isabel visited and nearly removed the septic system before it could be hooked up. The next door neighbor, a small flat-top, was demolished.

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This new gravel driveway will give vehicular access to three or four cottages at the northernmost end of what used to be Surfside Drive.

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Mother Nature covered up a lot of the Surfside Drive rubble exposed during the Thanksgiving storm but little reminders poke up through the sand here and there.

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The surf has subsided enough to permit fishing from the beach again for the first time in many days.

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This scarp in the area south of the Outer Banks pier will provide a challenge to rappelling visitors this summer. Presumably new stairways are on the way.

posted by Uncle Jack at 8:20 AM

Comments [20]

Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Sunrise (at last) in Sonag, Wednesday May 9, 2007

    South Nags Head was shrouded in mist when Uncle Jack trudged up to the beach at 6 a.m. but visibility is steadily improving and this could be a tolerably nice day by the time it's over.  The sun didn't show up until ten minutes after sunrise but it was a welcome sight after several days of nothing but swirling clouds overhead.  The beach is wide, flat and clean as a whistle again and if the rain holds off this could be a lovely day for beachwalking and taking in the post-storm sights.

     This strange storm seems to have moved steadily south down the coast and huge swells are battering the Florida coast.  A concrete pier at Lake Worth north of Palm Beach washed away yesterday and as the following excerpt from a Florida newspaper describes, Palm Beach itself is taking a beating.  Officials express fear that the recent beach renourishment project may have been undone already.

Huge ocean swells take big bite out of Palm Beach County beaches

By Erika Pesantes, Sally Apgar and Chrystian Tejedor
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted May 9 2007


Huge ocean swells Tuesday sucked huge swaths of sand out of local beaches, sank a 28-foot vessel in Lantana and destroyed a maintenance shed that workers in Jupiter tried desperately to save, officials said.

The havoc was courtesy of a strong system of low pressure perched along the Georgia and South Carolina coastline that sent the swells and gusts of wind up and down the east coast. Swells were expected to drop below 9 feet overnight but were subsiding the slowest in Palm Beach County, according to the National Weather Service.

On Tuesday afternoon the surf tugged away on sand dunes on Lantana's public beach and chomped away at the sea grapes. The narrow sliver of remaining sand dunes dropped off deeply and abruptly, within less than 10 feet of the boardwalk.

"This has got to be some of the worst erosion," said John Johnson, a 17-year veteran of Lantana's Marine Safety Unit as he and other lifeguards scanned the seas for surfers, swimmers and boaters. "This was all intact last night. We're just hoping our [lifeguard] tower doesn't go."

Johnson and Lt. Chris Redgate sprang into action to save two men who became stranded when the motor on their boat gave out in the morning. The men were unharmed, but their boat capsized and drifted toward the Boynton Inlet.

The situation appeared to be more dire in Jupiter, where authorities closed Jupiter Beach Park at sunrise Tuesday after huge waves crashed into the parking lot, leaving a high tide line of tree branches, bottles and marine debris by the neat split rail fences marking the now flooded lot.

Waves smashed through a barricade of 2,000 sandbags and a few steel pilings to pull a cement and metal maintenance shed mostly out to sea. Waves also dislodged a 60-foot sailboat that ran aground just north of Juno Beach during a March 31 storm.

"The north part of the county's getting hit the worst because of the damage from past hurricanes," said Dan Bates, director of Palm Beach County's Environmental Restoration and Enhancement Division. "There's a lot of erosion on Singer Island; lots of decks have been wiped away and one condo in South Palm Beach."

Officials throughout the county said it was too soon to tell how bad the damage to the beaches will be, but many like Bates are concerned they will be heavily damaged and that beach renourishment efforts will have been washed out to sea.

"It's pretty wild looking over there," Lake Worth recreation manager Daryl Boyd said of his city's beachfront. "I've never seen anything like that."

Still, surfers and onlookers flocked to the beaches to see the action firsthand.

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5:55 a.m. The only color in the sky is to the northeast.

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The Outer Banks pier is invisible to the south.

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The Comfort Inn is invisible to the north.

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The sun finally begins to poke through at 6:15.

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6:20 I thought I saw the whole thing.

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After this it disappeared into the clouds again. Beautiful while it lasted.

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A few new sand fences got dislocated but they can easily be propped up again. (and again, and again)

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Neither mist, nor rain nor nothing can keep a devoted dog owner from her appointed rounds.

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Meanwhile back on the bypass a giant new "Wings" store is being rushed to completion. (The enormous new "Reef" across from the O.B. Mall opened this week. Where will it end?)

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:46 AM

Comments [14]

Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Storm passes, Tuesday May 8, 2007

     It was still raining at 6 a.m. which precluded a visible sunrise this morning but an hour later the sun came out so Uncle Jack walked up to the beach to look around.  It appears that the worst is over and the beach, at least in the 17-18 milepost area where he lives, has escaped with remarkably little damage.  Some of the newly bulldozed dunes have been chewed into a bit but recently erected stairways seem to be intact.  While it seemed much worse than the Thanksgiving storm in terms of wind and surf this one actually turned out to be something of a pussycat by comparison.

     The wind has dropped from the 30s into the low 20s and the surf, while still wild by any standard, does seem to be calming down somewhat.  Uncle Jack put his trash can in the upright position over an hour ago and it's still standing so things are looking up.

      Somebody asked about Ice Plant Island yesterday and it reminded him of a letter he got a few years ago asking about the same thing:

From the Mailbag


Dear Uncle Jack,

I read in the paper where they are trying to think up a new name for Ice Plant Island which would make it sound classier for the tourists. Some people want to call it New World Park and other people want to call it Roanoke Festival Park and other people want to name it after Wanchese or Manteo or some of the

other natives who lived around here in the old days before the first outlet mall.

I know you have probably thought about this a lot yourself, Uncle Jack, so I would like to know what you think they should call it.

Common Mann

Mann's Harbor

Dear Common,

The guiding principle of Uncle Jack's life so far has been "do whatever is easiest" and this is the main reason why he thinks they should just leave it Ice Plant Island. Everybody who lives around here knows where Ice Plant Island is so if they are in a good mood they can tell the tourists how to get there.

If they change the name to something fancy like Roanoke Festival Park none of the locals are going to know what the tourists are talking about when they ask for directions and they could all end up over at the landfill or somewhere.

Also Ice Plant Island is something just about everybody can pronounce correctly even if they are from Ahia or New Jersey. The tourists have enough trouble already with names like Wanchese and Manteo and Chicamacomico and Bodie Island without creating another problem for them. Uncle Jack thinks the tourists should be able to enjoy their vacations without having to worry about how to pronounce something every time they turn around.

Also Uncle Jack has never heard of any other place in the world that has an Ice Plant Island and as far as he is concerned that should be enough reason not to change it. "Ireland" probably sounded like a pretty dumb name for an island at one time but the Celtic people stuck to it and now many people from all over

the world like to go there on their vacations. If you ask Uncle Jack there is a lesson there for all of us.


Uncle Jack

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7 a.m. The sun makes a belated appearance.

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The beach also reappears after a couple of days under water. Looking south from Whitecap street.

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Brinksmanship at the water's edge.

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A measure of the sand lost in the past couple of days.

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The newly barricaded Comfort Inn South holds firm Monday afternoon.

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Looking south from the Comfort Inn toward the Bodie Island Beach Club. The newly bulldozed dunes held up pretty well.

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It appears that a new "street" is being cut through behind these houses fronting the now demolished Surfside Drive.

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This gravel has apparently been stockpiled for use in surfacing the new access road.

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The beach at Limulus street where a number of houses lost their water supply during the storm. Note the blue water main which appears to be somewhat askew.

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Chez Sparky escaped unscathed. He won't need his walkway for a while, though.

posted by Uncle Jack at 9:54 AM

Comments [6]

Monday, May 7, 2007
Big Blow, Monday May 7, 2007

     Well it didn't rain all day yesterday as Uncle Jack feared but my how the wind blew.  He walked up to the beach around 4:30 in the afternoon and had to struggle to make the last ten yards against what must have been a 40 mph sandstorm.  His cap flew off at one point and the last time he saw it it was 50 feet in the air and flying west to an unknown destination. He stayed long enough to take one picture of the vast, churning mass of wind-driven foam that extended as far as the eye could see  and then allowed himself to be propelled back down Whitecap street with the rest of the flying trash.

      He did it all over again at 6 this morning (this time with a ski cap pulled down over his ears) and can report that nothing has changed except that the ocean is even wilder than it was yesterday.  He is happy to report that so far there appears to be very little erosion damage in his neighborhood. His guess is that because the tides have been so abnormally low for the past few days the waves have had farther to go at high tide before they reach the dunes.  The Thanksgiving storm widened the beach in this area about 30-35 feet and  that could also be a factor in mitigating the force of the waves. 

     He went out again at about 10 a.m. and made a short video of the surf at the end of Pelican street. The wind nearly blew the camera out of his hand at one point so it's a little jerky.  Click on the YouTube link below to see it.

     Uncle Jack read an interesting article in a Mobile, Alabama newspaper yesterday.  It describes how the local authorities are building a three-mile long berm made of dredged sand on Dauphin Island.  Dauphin is a barrier island at the entrance to Mobile Bay which has been battered many times by one storm after another including Katrina which nearly obliterated it.  FEMA is paying for this  exercise in futility which would be almost laughable if it didn't cost so much money that could be more wisely spent elsewhere.  Read it and weep at



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6 a.m. It was obvious there would be no visible sunrise this morning.

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6 a.m. Looking north from Whitecap street.

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6 a.m. Looking south from Whitecap.

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9:30 a.m. Looking north from James street at about the 19 milepost. There has been some overwash in this area.

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Looking southeast from James street.

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Looking north toward Sparky's house near Pelican street. The video also shows this area.

link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rtfr6dRxTfc

posted by Uncle Jack at 10:25 AM

Comments [9]

Sunday, May 6, 2007
Unrise in Sonag, Sunday May 5, 2007

    It's raining in Nags Head.  Looks like it's going to rain all day.  And all night.  And all day tomorrow.  With winds from the northeast exceeding 30 mph for the next 48 hours.  Good time for Uncle Jack to take a day off.



posted by Uncle Jack at 7:08 AM

Comments [5]

Saturday, May 5, 2007
Sunrise in Sonag, Saturday May 5, 2007

     A reluctant sun made a brief appearance at 6:10 a.m. this morning and then disappeared again behind a thick cloudbank on the horizon. It may not be seen again for a while if the weatherman is correct so he took a bunch of pictures even though they are not very exciting.

    The surf is up a bit this morning but nothing like what it will be in 24 hours if the predicted 40 mph northeast winds develop.  See you at the mall?

    Uncle Jack read in the paper yesterday that the government is thinking again about permitting offshore drilling for oil.  So he drilled deep into the archives and found this piece from many years ago when the same threat loomed:

                                      Drilling for Dollars

Dear Uncle Jack,

I read in the paper where the Chevron oil company wants to drill for oil about 40 miles out in the ocean off Hatteras. They say there is hardly any chance they will find anything but they are willing to spend a few million dollars to find out. Are those people nuts or what, Uncle Jack?



Dear Incredulous,

When he first read about this plan to drill for oil out in the ocean Uncle Jack thought it was pretty crazy, too, but then he started thinking about the other places they have gone looking for oil and it didn't seem so strange any more.

For one thing they found oil way up in the northern part of Alaska by the Arctic Circle and then they had to build a pipeline about a thousand miles long to carry it down to the nearest seaport which was a little fishing village called Valdez which you may remember reading about a couple of years ago when the tanker ran aground and spilled a zillion gallons of Valdez oil into the ocean up there.

Drilling a well off Hatteras would be a piece of cake compared to drilling wells on the Arctic Circle and if they did find oil they would only need a 40 mile long pipeline to pump it into the nearest fishing village. With a little luck Wanchese could be just as famous as Valdez some day.

If you ask Uncle Jack you have to give the oil companies credit for what they are trying to do which is to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. It is very scary to think that something like 70% of all the oil we burn up in our cars and trucks and airplanes---and most important our 4WD recreational vehicles---comes from unstable places like the Middle East and South America and Africa.

It is entirely possible that if Chevron brings in a big gusher or two out by the Gulf Stream America could reduce its dependence on foreign oil from 70% to maybe 69% for a couple of years before it runs out and they have to drill someplace else---like maybe off the end of Jennette's pier. By that time there could be so much oil on the beaches around here that nobody would care. Anyway Uncle Jack is glad that there are selfless, patriotic oil companies like Chevron who are willing to risk millions of dollars in what could well be a futile effort to free us from the specter of oil deprivation at the hands of greedy middle eastern potentates, some of whom probably do not even believe in the Bible.


Uncle Jack





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6 a.m. Color in the sky for a change.

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6:10 a.m. Official sunrise. It lasted about three minutes.

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This is as good as it got.

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This is what the rest of the sky looked like.

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This red-throated diver has dived its last dive unfortunately.

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As has this beautiful northern gannet.

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But the pelicans fly on.

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The gang's all here.

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The demolition trucks arrived yesterday morning at the Lone Cedar and removal of the charred ruins has begun. As the victim of a fire in his framing shop 22 years ago Uncle Jack knows what this feels like.

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This is what it looked like after the fire on Christmas Eve 1985. The Nags Head Volunteer Fire Department saved his bacon by responding in 5 minutes from the time they were called by a neighbor.

posted by Uncle Jack at 8:03 AM

Comments [6]

Friday, May 4, 2007
Unrise (again) in Sonag, Friday May 4, 2007

     Another dreary day on the Outer Banks.  Cloudy skies, strong possibility of rain, wind whistling off the ocean with sufficient force to repel even Nellie Myrtle Pridgen.  Uncle Jack will be taking a very long nap this afternoon.

    In lieu of fresh news (he is not aware of any) here is another cadaver from Uncle Jack's morgue:

                                           Ashes to Ashes

Uncle Jack got a very nice letter last week asking him to join a new Mausoleum Society they are starting up over on Roanoke Island. It was very exciting for him to get this letter because he hardly ever gets asked to join anything. The letter had a picture of their building which is very good looking and it should hold up pretty well, too, because they are going to build it out of granite instead of particle board which is what most of the new buildings around here are made of these days.

Anyway Uncle Jack was very interested in joining the Mausoleum Society until he found out what a mausoleum was. Now he is wondering how he got on their mailing list. That letter did start Uncle Jack thinking about what should be done with his mortal remains when he kicks the bucket, which he hopes won't be anytime soon but one never knows.

Different people in different parts of the world have certainly come up with a lot of interesting and unusual ways to dispose of their mortal remains. Uncle Jack knows quite a lot about this because many years ago his mother-in-law gave him a subscription to National Geographic magazine which she must have thought would be more uplifting for him than some of the other magazines he used to read before they quit selling them at the 7-ll.

It was more uplifting, too, in the long run. At first Uncle Jack would just skim through the National Geographic looking for pictures of topless native girls but after a while he started reading the words, too, and he learned many interesting things that way.

One thing he learned is that over in India they get rid of their mortal remains by building a big bonfire and burning them up. Another thing he learned is that Eskimos put their mortal remains on floating ice cakes and let them drift out to sea, but he is not sure if the E.P.A. lets them do that anymore.

If you want to know the truth none of these methods appeals to Uncle Jack very much. On the other hand he isn't too crazy about having his mortal remains buried in the ground either, especially around here where the water table is only about three inches down.

The mausoleum sounds a lot better because they say it is clean, dry, ventilated, above ground and permanent. It sounds a lot like being buried in a condo except for the part about "permanent". If you were looking for words to describe some of the condominiums they have built around here you surely wouldn't have too much use for "permanent".

Anyway Uncle Jack wouldn't mind if they just propped up his mortal remains in his favorite rocking chair on the deck and faced them toward the ocean. For the first few days it might be hard to tell if you were looking at Uncle Jack's mortal remains or Uncle Jack but eventually the seagulls would figure it out and do their thing

He knows this solution would not appeal to everybody and he wishes the Mausoleum Society the best of luck with their membership drive.

     Do try at least to have a nice day.







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6 a.m. Clouds to the east. (Look familiar?)

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More clouds to the north.

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And still more to the south. Surf's up, too. Not a fit place for man nor beast this morning.

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A serious front-loader arrives at the Lone Cedar yesterday morning, presumably to aid investigators who are seeking the cause of the fire in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

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Cheer yourself up on a gloomy day by watching Uncle Jack's sunrise DVD. Send him $9.99 in any way, shape or form and he will get a copy out to you postpaid. He's at Box 554, Nags Head 27959

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The crabs are back and Breeze is making life miserable for them. His crab-digging video on YouTube has been watched 2391 times at last count. See it again at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SodIVr5p7A

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:03 AM

Comments [1]

Thursday, May 3, 2007
Unrise in Sonag, Thursday May 3, 2007

     Uncle Jack trudged dutifully up to the beach at 6 a.m. but he knew before he left the house that he wouldn't be staying long.  The sky is completely overcast, the wind is brisk and directly off the ocean and the temperature has plummeted to 65 degrees which the weatherman says will be the high for today.  65 may not sound so bad to somebody in upstate New York right now but after you have spent a couple of days wallowing in the 80's it's downright uncomfortable.  Looks like a good day to finish recovering the dining room chairs. (He takes that back.  There will never be a good day to finish recovering the dining room chairs).

     On the beach renourishment front the battle has heated up down in Destin, Florida where Uncle Jack's brother sometimes winters.  A number of homeowners who don't want dredge spoil dumped on their property have sued the town and have demanded that the sheriff arrest employees of the dredge company for trespassing.  The sheriff says he won't do that. The following excerpt from a Destin newspaper yesterday provides some detail.

Destin says it won't arrest beach restoration crews

May 02, 2007
By Patrick Donohue
(850) 654-8445

DESTIN -- Some Destin beachfront property owners have called for the arrest of beach restoration crews on charges of trespassing when the project resumes in the next few days.
But an attorney for the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said that’s not going to happen and Destin City Manager Greg Kisela said the project will restart as soon as a dredge arrives.
Kisela penned a letter to those property owners as well as their legal representatives, the Atlanta-based Southeastern Legal Foundation, saying that beach restoration will go on.
“The city has directed Great Lakes, as the city’s agent for this specific purpose, to access all beachfront properties necessary to place beach and dune fill material at the locations required by the contract documents,” Kisela wrote.
He said the dredge Liberty Island is scheduled to arrive in Destin this coming weekend and that work would begin “immediately.”
The project is scheduled to take 45-50 days and will add 80-100 feet of beach to the 2 miles of Destin beach east of Henderson Beach State Park. The project is the last leg of a joint project between Destin and Walton County that saw 5 miles of beach in Walton County restored earlier this year.
The project’s initial cost was $22 million but due to delays and work stoppages, the total cost of the project is now about $28 million.

      And so it goes.

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6 a.m. Clouds to the east.

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Clouds to the south.

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Clouds to the north.

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Frontloader to the west. Filling of the soon-not-to-be-vacant lot next door to Uncle Jack's house is proceeding apace. The pilings will not be far behind. Sigh.

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It's not too late to send Mom a gift she will treasure---Uncle Jack's DVD of 105 spiritually uplifting sunrise photos. Tell him you're sending a check for $9.99 to Box 554, Nags Head, N.C. 27959 and he will put a copy in the mail toot sweet.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:28 AM

Comments [2]

Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Unrise in Sonag, Wednesday May 2, 2007

     The weather prognosticators are not always right and this morning is a good example.  Instead of the predicted "clear" at 6 a.m. Uncle Jack found a huge mass of clouds obscuring the eastern sky with only the faintest suggestion of orange indicating that the sun was over there somewhere.

    Otherwise it's a lovely morning on the Outer Banks with temperatures expected (if the weatherman pulls himself together) into the 80's with a brisk breeze out of the southeast.  The sea is calm and the beach, in South Nags Head at least, is wide and flat. A sterling beach day if the wind doesn't create a sandstorm later.

     If it doesn't get too warm it should also be a great day for picking strawberries which he and Mrs. U.J. plan to do this morning.  They got word yesterday that the "U-Pick 'Em" strawberry patch in Point Harbor is open and that's where they will head right after breakfast.  Some things are more important than shooting baskets at the Y and this is one of them.

     Old-timers who are mourning the loss of Marc Basnight's excellent Lone Cedar restaurant to fire yesterday are probably also shedding a tear in memory of the tiny but equally wonderful eatery that once stood in that place.  The original building that once housed Basil and Beulah Daniels' cafe had long since melded into the much larger building that replaced it but it will never be forgotten by anyone who ate there in the late 60's. 

     Basil Daniels did all the cooking in the early days and Beulah waited on tables.  Their success was such that waiting an hour for a plate of fried oysters---after being seated---was de riguer even during the off season.  Nobody except an occasional tourist complained, though, because Basil Daniels' fried oysters and shrimp were unmatched anywhere on the planet.   Their extraordinary success wore the proprietors out after a few years and others took over and began the decades long expansion and evolution which disappeared in a cloud of smoke early Tuesday morning.   Sic transit gloria mundi. 

     Click on the link below to connect to an interesting article on the plight of some oceanfront homeowners down in Florida.  Further evidence of the very high cost of building too close to the ocean.


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6 a.m. Blah.

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6:10 a.m. Still blah.

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Jump down, turn around, pick a pecka strawberries... (With apologies to Leadbelly)

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The strawberries in the Point Harbor patch this season are the best ever. They are easy to pick and the price is a small fraction of the supermarket cost. Go get 'em if you can.

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This washtub full took about 15 minutes to pick. Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. will probably O.D. on strawberries before the week is out.

posted by Uncle Jack at 12:23 PM

Comments [5]

Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Lone Cedar Restaurant destroyed by fire. May 1, 2007

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9 a.m. Still smoldering.

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Picture 2. Uncle Jack has no information about what started the fire or exactly when it started.

posted by Uncle Jack at 11:47 AM

Comments [6]

Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Sunrise in Sonag, Tuesday May 1, 2007

     The calendar says it's May 1 but the ambient air on the Outer Banks feels more like July 1.  All indications are that today will be just as perfect as yesterday was and that is no cause for complaint by anybody except possibly the poor bulldozer operators who have to ride their clanking beasts in the hot sun all day. At $250 an hour they will probably manage to bear the discomfort.

     Photography-wise Uncle Jack could have stood in bed this morning because the sunrise was a carbon copy of yesterday's.  The ocean is still flat calm and the wind imperceptible.  He didn't bother to make a video but if you feel the need for another early morning fix you can take another look at yesterday's by clicking on the YouTube link in yesterday's blog.

    When Uncle Jack turned the page on the calendar this morning he was reminded that one month from today he and Mrs. U.J. will be ensconced in their new summer residence on the harbor in Camden, Maine.  In preparation for this major upheaval in their lifestyle he has been poking around on Google looking for information about the cultural assets of mid-coast Maine and yesterday he hit the jackpot.  He ran across the website of a remarkable man who calls himself "The Humble Farmer".

    His real name is Robert Skoglund and for nearly 30 years he has broadcast a one-hour program of music and commentary on the Maine PBS network.  He plays what he calls "old-fashioned music" which is really classic jazz ranging from early Louis Armstrong through Benny Goodman which happens to be precisely the kind of music Uncle Jack loves most.

     Between musical offerings he delivers himself of wry commentaries, most of them hilarious, on whatever comes to his fertile mind.  As a public service Uncle Jack herewith presents a link to Humble's website and invites you to check it out. Be warned that he has the power to become habit-forming very quickly so don't click on this link unless you think you can find an hour a week for the Humble Farmer.  Even if you don't like old jazz that much it will be worth your time.


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6 a.m.

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6:10 a.m.

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A tad later.

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Ditto, with pelicans added for effect.

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Moving up into yet another cloudless sky.

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This sculpture spotted yesterday near the Outer Banks pier wouldn't win any prizes out in British Columbia but it's a happy harbinger of things to come on the Outer Banks.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:52 AM

Comments [9]

click picture for more
After retiring in 2005 after 35 years as owner/operator of Yellowhouse Gallery and Annex on the Beach Road in Nags Head, Uncle Jack, accompanied by Mrs. Uncle Jack (a.k.a. Susan), commenced to travel extensively. This blog is a chronicle of their ramblings around the U.S. (in their redoubtable Mini Cooper convertible) as well as visits to England, Ireland, France, Italy, and Malta, interspersed with lengthy stays in South Nags Head and Baltimore between trips. He took a lot of pictures along the way, many of which are posted along with each blog entry.
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