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The Outer Banks, Ocracoke Island and the British Territory.

Updated: Apr 28, 2019

We had a beautiful sunny day to visit Ocracoke Island. Wind was still blowing but not terrible like yesterday.

The town of Ocracoke is the southern most town within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. As with most barriers islands, Ocracoke island has been in a constant state of flux. Severe storms and hurricanes have changed the landscape significantly. At one point a severe storm closed the Hatteras Inlet that separated Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands and you could travel between the two on land. 80 years later a hurricane opened up a deep and wide channel between the two islands and a ferry/boat is the only way to travel between these two islands. The hurricane in 2016 also had significant impact to the waterway. While the two islands are still separated, it forced a significant change in the ferry route.

Ocracoke was a hangout of the famous pirate Backbeard (Edward Teach) from 1716-1718. The inlets and sand banks made for good hiding places. It didn't hurt that he was friends with the Carolina governor who didn't put any priority in shutting Blackbeard down. Eventually the greedy pirate met his demise in November of 1718 when he was defeated by a Virginia captain. Blackbeard was decapitated and his head was displayed on the bowsprit all the way back to home port.

But what about the British Territory? Ocracoke was a busy place in 1942 after war was declared with Germany. The US had all of its anti-submarine ships over in Europe to support England and Germany had sent many U-Boats (submarines) to our coast and our ships were sitting ducks. During a 2 month period in 1942 the US was losing 1 ship per day!. To help the US, England had sent one of it's ships over here to help defend our shores outside the Carolina Outer Banks. Unfortunately this ship was also sunk by a German U-Boat. All the crew was lost. All bodies but 4 were entombed in the ship. The bodies of 4 sailors washed up on the shores of Ocracoke. The local Islanders retrieved the bodies and buried them in a small plot of land in the town of Ocracoke. This land was given to the British and is currently sovereign to England.

Today the Island is a very remote, quaint, fishing village. Golf carts and bikes are the preferred way to get around the town of Ocracoke. The beaches are remote with little traffic. The town definitely runs on island time. It's a good place to forget cell phones, internet, and TV.

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