It was a pretty good week all told, down at the Outer Banks. We were on Hatteras Island this time (previously, we'd been at Nag's Head, further North), and found it somewhat different. Hatteras is less built-up, and has more of a surfer "vibe" than, Bodie Island, which is quite gentrified in a very American-Family way. Where we were (Rodanthe), it was quite narrow, perhaps half a mile wide from ocean to sound.
Hurricane Bertha was a long ways off, but we still had some hefty swells from it: this was the first year that I've seen real surfing done there, although it in fact happens fairly regularly, I understand. The bodyboarding was good (indeed, very good) for a couple of days, between when we found the good spots and when the surf got too chaotic for riding.
We also spent some time doing bird-watching and photography, seeing as we were quite close to the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge. Sadly, bird photography still eludes us for lack of a kick-ass zoom lens, but when we get back, soul_diaspora has a good deal of material to work with in post-processing (about 500 shots). We saw a couple of new species, including a definite identification of a Fish Crow, but mostly just reacquainted ourselves with old friends. Willets are particularly pretty in flight--surprisingly so, given how ordinary they look while on the sand. There were fewer Brown Pelicans than usual this year, but lots of Snowy Egrets.
A surprise was seeing a solitary canid in a gully on the Sound side of the North Pond at the Pea Island refuge, around 4:30 p.m. yesterday. It could conceivably have been one of three things: a feral dog, a coyote, or a Red Wolf. I believe that it wasn't the first, because of its behaviour: it was far cannier a predator than any household dog I've ever seen. I have thus far been unable to turn up any reports of previous sightings of either of the other two in the Outer Banks proper, although I'm no expert. Red Wolves were introduced to a nearby area around the Alligator River, in an effort to preserve the species, which is in serious danger of extinction, and I have to wonder whether it was one of those! The area was chosen for the reintroduction project in part because of a low risk of interbreeding with coyotes, so that is an argument for it having been a Red Wolf; on the other hand, they're generally nocturnal. Coyotes commonly hunt in pairs, while Red Wolves are solitary, so there's hope... I don't really know what to think!
Food, as ever, was ample and good. We prepared our paneng curry for folks (soul_diaspora doing the actual cooking parts, my contribution being mainly fetching groceries, crushing peanuts, and the like), which was well-received. Various other dinners were prepared in-house, of course, but there are a few good restaurants which we traditionally visit (Tale of the Whale and JK's), and we also found a new place with an odd combination of high-quality food and watering-hole ambiance (Mack Daddy's), even further South on Hatteras.
Aside from that, I did lots of reading, some games (Scrabble, clabbers and rummy), conversation, walks on the beach, and general lazing about. I feel much refreshed, and ready to get back to Ottawa tomorrow.