The Sound of OBX

Reminder: We visited North Carolina’s Outer Banks late July thru early August. We left just 3-1/2 weeks before Hurricane Irene rolled through, taking out Route 12 and decimating much of the OBX. We’re grateful for our timing, and our thoughts are with those we met along the Banks who are still working to put their lives back together in Irene’s aftermath.

Though the main street along the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina gets pretty busy, we found we could ride our bikes along the back streets without worrying about cars and trucks zooming past.

We love riding our bikes — we see so much more of the community this way. And in the case of the OBX, we caught glimpses of life along Pamlico Sound — the water on the western side of Hatteras Island.

Fishing boats…

…and old wharves…

…sit here and there amidst modest houses and lavish rental properties.

And on one of the thin strips comprised of beach, dunes, and road, you’ll find the Haulover area just south of Avon. This spot is popular with kayakers, kiteboarders, and swimmers — the water is generally calmer and shallower than the ocean currents, making it an ideal spot. The Haulover turnout provides parking, restrooms, and an outside shower for spraying off the sand before you climb back into your vehicle.

Kites caught our eye from the road, but the day we stopped happened to be a day when the winds had stopped, too, so we didn’t see as many kiteboarders as we did others, enjoying the waters of the Pamlico Sound…

…including this kitesurfer and his passenger…

…and something we’ve never seen before — paddleboarding:

Of course, you can’t turn in any direction without seeing at least one person fishing, and the Haulover was no different. In one direction, fishermen had their poles stuck in the sand…

…and in the other, they decided to go closer to the source and stuck their poles right in the water (they were a ways away, as we say in the Midwest, so the photo is a bit blurry):

If watching all of this had inspired us to give any of these sports a try, the OBX has plenty of places where you can hire an instructor and stores where you can buy everything you need. And in this economy, several were struggling to stay as afloat as their water-loving customers.

These signs in particular caught our attention:

Going out “for” business?!? We puzzled over the signs until we kept meeting foreign exchange students who were working all over the island, then we wondered if maybe one of the Russian or European employees at this particular store had been asked to order the signs… Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?!?

About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
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