Sunday, September 11, 2005

Back from the Outer Banks


My wife and I just returned today from North Carolina's Outer Banks, a string of barrier islands that stretch for nearly 150 miles off the Atlantic coast of this southern U.S. state.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, with its distinct black and white spiral stripes, is perhaps the most recognizable structure of this area. At 208 feet, the tower is the tallest in the country. It marks the Diamond Shoals, a group of submerged sandbars offshore that have claimed dozens of sailing vessels over the centuries.

The establishment of the Hatteras lighthouse is one of many actions humans have taken to tame this wild coastal area. The lighthouse itself nearly fell to the forces of nature; in 1999 the tower, keeper's dwelling and other outbuildings were moved inland more than a half mile to escape the rapidly eroding beach on which they sat. Moving the light tower itself was an engineering marvel, details of which can be seen here.

Over the course of the next week or so, I'll post photos of both the wilderness of the Outer Banks and the ways in which people have come to terms with the forces of nature found here.

Click on photos for enlarged views. © 2005 James Jordan. Posted by Picasa

4 comments:

Fidget said...

I love the outter banks. i spent many a childhood summer there. Did you go hang gliding on Kill Devil hills?

James said...

No, but I did watch a group of people a lot younger than I participate in a hand gliding class on the Jockey Ridge dune in Nags Head.

Brian said...

Great shots - I especially love the first one, with the silhouettes in the foreground and the black/white tower in the background.

James said...

The lighthouse used to stand out in the open on the beach, but was moved inland a few years ago. I wanted to capture the "inland-ness" of its new location. I crawled into some brush to find a frame for the tower. Thanks for the kind comment.