We left bright and early this morning so we were able to catch the sunrise.
There was a cloud right in front of the sun – doesn’t it look like a cruise ship on the ocean?
It took us about 45 minutes to arrive at the ferry dock from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island.
This is our first of two ferries today to arrive back on the mainland. The first ferry is free, but first come first serve so we arrived early. When we drove past here earlier in the week, there was an hour and a half wait to board. Today we were first in line for the 7:20am ride.
Here is a video of us loading the ferry.
We can now say our camper has been on land and sea!
I love this picture of the boys overlooking a sandbar we passed!
We had several hours before our next ferry so we were able to explore the island. The town of Ocracoke is quaint with narrow streets – not ideal for dragging the camper all around so we parked at the Southern Ferry Terminal and unloaded our bikes.
We first biked to the Ocracoke Lighthouse where we learned it is the second oldest working lighthouse in the United States. The small block building in front used to house the fuel but today holds an auxiliary generator.
Emmitt has been talking about pirates since we visited the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum earlier in the week. So when we passed a Blackbeard Exhibit we stopped for a photo.
We wandered through a few shops with trinkets and found ice cream to tide us over until lunch…dessert before a meal is always acceptable on vacation, right???
For lunch we stopped at SmacNally’s Waterfront Bar & Grill. It was a small restaurant on the docks next to several chartered fishing boats. I think we’ve eaten fresh fish nearly everyday of this trip – yummy!
While we were eating a chartered fishing boat arrived. Levi captured a picture of the fish the group brought in.
After lunch, a rain storm blew in – afternoon storms seem to be a common occurrence – so we hung out in the truck and played cards until it passed. Afterwards we made one more loop through town on our bikes before packing up.
The second ferry is the busier of the two, but takes reservations. In one of my earlier posts I mentioned only having one set plan other than our campsites for this whole trip – it was the reservation for the Ocracoke-Swan Quarter Ferry. Since our truck and camper takes up three car lengths, it was highly recommended to make a reservation or risk not having space for this leg of the trip.
As a result of being busier, this was a tighter fit.
The ferry boarded an hour behind schedule so we arrived back on mainland as the sun was setting after a two hour trip. The view was pretty from out on the water and it was nice to catch one last sunset over the sound.
After docking in Swan Quarter, we drove for close to 30 minutes before I was able to pick up cell phone signal again. It was an interesting drive of alternating sections marsh and farmland. It almost looked like home at times, driving down a two-lane county road lined with farm fields. On the drive, we passed a handful of small towns – much smaller than home – and if you blinked you’d miss them. The scenery was calm and peaceful on the drive, both inside and outside the truck.
We finally arrived at our campground around 9pm. The gate house was closed but I called and the campground managers offered to meet us since we had never been here before instead of letting us wander around lost. They stayed and provided lights while we setup. This campground isn’t our usual place – most of the sites are permanent campers and mobile homes – but we knew it would be an ideal location for us to stop after leaving the ferry.
By 9:30pm, both boys had long been asleep, I was able to take a shower and Nick was grilling pork chops for our dinner. The timing wasn’t great, but we managed! Tomorrow is our day to grocery shop and relax before heading to our next destination on Monday!