Monday, July 6, 2015

Kill Devil Hills: six views from the balcony

         I am in fact writing from Evanston, where there is also a balcony—actually two counting the juliet—but  lessor views.  The photos above and below were taken from a ocean front condo we rented for week in Kill Devil Hills on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.  It was wonderful to be on, and despite the shark attacks which were moving closer, even briefly in the ocean again, even though I learned that I can only sort of swim with my damaged flipper.
         Naturally we spent a lot of time on that balcony, breakfasting there, eating dinner when we didn’t dine out, and every night sharing a bottle of wine, to the sound of low surf.
         We were on the first  residential floor of a four story building, the lowest level of which is parking.
Dunes have been built up along the Outer Banks to protect against inevitable hurricanes.  The ones directly in front of us were low.  I estimate that we were about forty yards/meters from the ocean and about twenty feet/six meters above, depending on tides.  A higher floor would be better; but the weather was mild and winds light while we were there.
         I’ve sailed just beyond that view four times.  North and south in 1989 in RESURGAM.  South in 1993 and north in 1995 in THE HAWKE OF TUONELA.
           I found myself wondering what lay on the other side of the ocean.  My guess of southern Portugal or Spain was not far off.  We were at about 36º North.  Sailing due east a vessel would pass just south of Tarifa, Spain, where I was once almost killed in CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE, and enter the Strait of Gibraltar.
This is, of course, the height of the season and the Outer Banks were crowded.  I read that 6,000,000 visitors go there every year, almost all during the three summer months.  The permanent population is tiny.  Fewer than 60,000 people make the two hundred mile stretch of barrier islands their permanent home. 

          We enjoyed ourselves so much that we may return this winter.  I’d like to see the ocean wilder.