Monday, September 20, 2010

Of Access, The Bridge, And Now They Want To Kill The Horses!


When I was growing up, one of the most anticipated moments of the year was when we packed it up and left Virginia to visit my mothers home in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where we'd spend a nice chunk of summer. Coming from Williamsburg, where at the time, traditional values and ways of life were a very big part of almost all things, visiting her tiny hometown where generations of families had lived and died, further enhanced my appreciation and understanding of that aspect of life; tradition.

And what a contrast. All of the streets and even the main road were dirt. My Grandmother still spoke, wrote, and read Scots Gaelic. She also held a tract of land that was a royal grant from King George III, tax free, "forever and a day". She refused an electric oven in favor of the coal fired stove she'd always cooked on and not one soul complained. (laughing) Tradition!

Just a few miles down the road was the coast and another tradition filled hamlet called Port Morien. Every morning, excepting Sunday of course, the watermen would leave the docks to ply the seas in search of lobsters, cod, mackerel, and other tasty treats. The same is true here on Hatteras Island and always has been. And in both cases, the respective governments and their regulators have mucked it up.

I suppose when some folks think of commercial fishing down here, they think of different things such as charter boats or crabbers, oystermen, or those that set nets of one sort or another, out to sea, to harvest their catch. But they're not the only ones. A few of these folks also fish directly from the beach as they were promised that they would always have the right to do. It is after all, a traditional activity that even the National Environmental Policy Act requires be considered in any management decision, relative in this case, to the Seashore.

Last check, two turtle nests on South beach, separated by probably a half mile or better were keeping that much beach closed and preventing these guys from being able to fish that entire swath. This closure also prevented any access by recreational fishermen and those families that just wanted some quality beach time. In other words, everybody!

Ok Mike, you're required to provide the commercial fishermen access and the enabling legislation requires you to "develop" the area if its for recreation, it's needed, and it's adaptable. The interdunal road between Ramp 44 and Ramp 49 is still there and it needs opened in order to satisfy extant federal law. I should need say no more though I likely will.


The point of the "tradition" comments comes largely from the story about the horses I read today. The critters in question live on the north end of Bodie Island at or about Corolla. These are descendants of Spanish Mustangs that arrived here 500 years ago and have rightfully earned a place in the hearts of many and a place on these islands as well.

Enter the gubment, again. The same one that's trying to force us off our beaches, doing the best job they can at delaying the construction of a new bridge, is now wanting to eliminate the horses.

 Some might say that's an alarmist statement and I can understand that. However, anybody that's been involved with the fight for beach access in some fashion or another is well aware that the time honored tactic that affects us so dramatically is that the gubment takes things in pieces.

It's a sure fire bet that any animal USFWS considers a nuisance has got cross-hairs on its back. If you don't believe me, go talk to the "thousands" of geese they gassed, yes gassed, at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge even though they had no way of discriminating between migratory and resident birds.

So anyway, here's a link to the article. These folks are determined to get anything they don't like off these beaches.


Well it appears that NCDOT has had enough of the federal horse poop they can handle and wants to proceed with the record of decision that would replace the ailing Bonner Bridge after 30 years of study.

As always, the best place to read about it is Island Free Press.

Also Bridge Moms have a new way to help with a new letter on their facebook page. If you care about someone that crosses that bridge and you're a mom of any definition, please help by spending a little of your time to support a new bridge.

Well folks, I hope you'll find it in your hearts to help. Ive got some reels to spool and rigs to tie so I'm off to chores.

Tight Lines,


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Thoughts And Pictures From The Point

I would be telling a tall tale if I were to say anything other than the last week has been quite interesting. In fact, in some cases, it was a lot more interesting than I would have preferred.

Enter Hurricane Earl that thankfully began to fall apart and eventually took a seaward course away from the Island. Having been in Charleston two days after Hugo and seen what 140mph+ winds can do to a place, and living through the devastation caused in York County Va. during Isabel, I decided to scoot. I should have stayed but "better safe than sorry" made sense at the time.

Earl on the way.

After spending what felt like an eternity wondering how my abode and it's contents had fared the storm, Dare County announced that Highway 12 would open South of the Bonner Bridge at 7am Saturday morning. I woke at 2am and was on the road at 3:15 heading HOME. Anyone that knows me well is aware that it just about takes an act of God to get me to leave the Island to begin with, and I can never get back to soon. Arriving at the bridge at about 6:15 I spent the wait with friends I've known for years which made it kinda fun though we all wondered how things were, and what we would find when we arrived.

Parked before the bridge.

What I didn't realize as I was sitting there talking to everybody was that my brake hose had just come undone and the result, of course, was that I essentially had no brakes for the ride home, stress city. I made it though, and all was well. Thankfully my friend Ed was coming to town and Sunday morning he was able to get a temporary fix in order so I could remain mobile. This island first takes your heart, then your money, and then your truck.

I made it back out on the sand Sunday afternoon after helping repair damage to a friends trailer (post brake work) and wet a line without much success, but, such is the norm after a good blow. I did get the pleasure of some great company and a chance to talk to Kim Mosher about the newly released video "Piping Mad" which has since gone "viral" on the net and has fired up a lot of people about the travesty and impact of the absurd management policies in place here now, and proposed for the future; all in violation of federal law. She, her husband, and the Greystone Project, funded by a generous gift from Rob Schonk have done one heck of a job of exploring some of the issues that plague us and deny the people of this nation access to their public lands without the use of sound science, or the weight of law.

What I didn't like about the experience was being accused by someone else of having published the video before it was ready for release which I did not do.

After the weekend wound down, I ended up out on the sand again and took some pics which I thought I'd share.

The first one says it all. I was out on the Point at about 6:15am the other day and set up to put out a bait with some friends. Not long after I arrived, a truck pulled up and a feller and his (probably 8yr old) son got out and proceeded to toss lures for bluefish or spanish mackerel. Well after a bit, that young feller hooked up on a right big bluefish and immediately gained the attention of everybody. Unfortunately, in spite of fighting it for all he was worth, the fish bit his line and he lost it. I think every soul on the sand that morning said "awwww, bummer", or some variation on that theme. 
Later that morning the dad hooked up on a nice yearling drum and managed to land it while his son watched excitedly. That little feller was so proud of his dad it put a smile on everyone's face. And as I watched this scene unfold, all I could think of was, that's what this place is all about: that's why Congress created this Seashore.

I cant count the number of times I've seen this exact scenario out there on the sand as its bound to be in the hundreds if not thousands. The picture says it all.

Of course, one of the really neat things about being on the Point is the sunrise and sunset. What's even more fun is that it's possible to stand in one spot and watch both in a single day. If you've never experienced that, I highly recommend it. Anyway, a sunrise.

Another neat thing about this place is that it gives the opportunity to reflect with just the sound of the surf and the birds.

We also spend a lot of time watching the water while we're on the sand as it often betrays bottom structure that will hold fish. Being 35 miles out in the ocean where the Labrador Current and Gulf Stream collide can produce some spectacular wave action capable of throwing water five or six stories into the air though usually only about half that.

I've talked before about the "Point Community" which makes up folks from all walks of life and from all across the country. It's always fun to fish with these good friends and make new ones as well.

This pic has all the elements, good friends and some nice wave action.

                                                           Ed and Grumpy at the Point.

It saddens me that pictures like these and the people shown in them are the true endangered species found on these beaches. If the "dark side" gets there way, never again will photos like these be published because no one will be allowed here to take them.

Please take the time to watch the video "Piping Mad" and help any way you can. One place to watch can be found at 

Supporting the fight for access can be accomplished by donating to a variety of organizations including The Outer Banks Preservation Association,  The North Carolina Beach Buggy Association, and others. We cant fight this fight alone and need your help. Again, this is a national, not a local issue. Thanks!

Tight Lines,


Friday, September 3, 2010

A Good Day For The Islands And A Sad Day For Me

Well, hurricane Earl is now just about history having moved off after having become a lot weaker as it approached our precious island and homes. As expected, just about everything got flooded to one extent or another and some wind damage occurred as well. A friend of mine lost his trailer which doubles as home when he, his wife, and son come from Raleigh to this place they love so much. And my thoughts go out to Frank Folb who has worked so hard and for so long to preserve access to these beaches, as his shop was apparently flooded this morning as the storm passed.

What hurts is that my good friend decided to throw in the towel and not replace this temporary dwelling. We have spent countless hours standing on the sand fishing, breaking bread, weathering 30mph winds and driving rains, all in the quest for whatever prize we could draw from the depths, sometimes to no avail. But that never mattered as it was about being here and being part of an amazing community of people from all walks of life, from all over this nation, and even the world, who love this place so dearly.

It's not the advent of a new child that prevents the replacement of the lodgings. It's what's on the horizon in terms of access to these shores, or more accurately the impending unjustified, unscientific, and unlawful denial of access to our beaches. Chalk up a victory for the dark side, including NPS, at the usual expense to our community and the American people.

For those of us that love this place so much, this is an incredibly emotional battle that is, unfortunately, far from over. Perhaps though, for the first time, we have finally opened a crack in the door that will allow us to tell our story to the nation. Our cries for help have been ignored for so long in the media, in Washington and Raleigh as well.

Many of you have heard me say good things are coming. Well after a long period of appropriate silence, the day has finally arrived when I and many others can finally spread the word. So without further delay, from work of The Greystone Project and a long list of great folks, including a fine and generous donor, the video "Piping Mad" has been released this day.

It brought tears to my eyes more than once and still does as I know these people and I know their pain and loss.

Please watch this and please join the fight to preserve access to this amazing place by joining or contributing to OBPA.

Here's the link for the short version. The Long version entitled "Weathering The Storm" should be released soon.

Thanks to everybody that made this project happen and all of you that have worked for so long to support access both financially and by spreading the word about the tragedy that besets us all, regardless of where you live or your walk of life.

Together, we can win this fight!

Tight Lines,


Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Well gang, its getting time to make a choice..stay or go..getting things ready just in case. For those that chose to come for the weekend, well, to use the DOW, SELC Autoban rhetoric..could happen, might happen, possibly, etc.. so don't cancel yet as its all going to depend on the track of this here storm thingy.

Only time will tell how badly the turtle nests get messed up. With 20+ foot waves breaking along the shore line and blowing out the dunes, its not possible to tell. Whats sure is that a cubic yard of seawater weighs in at about 1,784 pounds and when put in motion can wreak havoc on anything it slams against.

Hopefully Earl tracks East instead of smacking us around. Only time will tell.

Back to the preparations..

Tight Lines and everyone stay safe,