Jet lag report: I tossed and turned for much of the night, but it could have been worse. I fell into a deep sleep around 5 a.m. and awoke with a start at 7:05. I've been so used to being up and active at 5:30 or 6:00 for so many months that sleeping so late is disorienting.
Here are a few more photos from and of my home town of Morehead City (pop. 8,000) in North Carolina (pop. 10 million), where I just spent 10 days visiting family and friends. Fishing is one of the main pillars of the economy there. It includes both sport fishing and commercial fishing. Finfish, shrimp, oysters, clams, scallops, and clue crabs are caught — though not in the quantities that characterized the period when I was growing up there in the 1950s and '60s. That's my impression, anyway.
Morehead City is home to the Big Rock Blue Marlin fishing tournament. Marlins weighing up to 700 and 800 lbs. are brought in from the Gulf Stream, which flows only 30 or so miles offshore.
When I was growing up, fishermen would land sharks weighing as much as 500 lbs. Some were caught off docks along the towns waterfront, in relatively shallow water. Jaws...
The local waters are also home to important populations of bottlenose dolphins, and whales migrate seasonally just offshore. There are alligators and many poisonous snakes in the local marshes and swamps, and wild ponies roam some of the uninhabited barrier islands that make up Cape Lookout National Seashore.
I like the house above, which is built out in the marsh on the edge of Calico Creek, on the "north shore" of Morehead City. It has been fixed up since I last saw it in 2016, with a fresh coat of paint and a new dock built on the water side. The people who bought it better hope there are no big storm surges in the future. Maybe they should install a trap door in the floor, as the local people used to do, so that they can open it and let the high waters come up into the interior of the house rather than see the house float away in a storm.
North Carolina has some 300 miles (500 km) of sandy beaches, and much of the coast is the area called the Outer Banks, a string of barrier islands pretty far offshore. The local waters are warm, and the predominant winds blow from the southwest, bringing warm air from Florida, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. There are a few fishing piers left along the coast, like the one above.
Shelling is a major leisure activity for locals and tourists alike on all these sandy beaches. There are especially large quantities of shells in and on the sand after a tropical hurricane or a big wintertime nor'easter storm has moved up the coast toward the north.
With so many storms affecting the area, it's amazing that hundreds of enormous live oak trees grow along the shore of Bogue Sound in Morehead City. I've posted photos of some of them in the past. The one above is just a few hundred yards from where I grew up, in Morehead's Promise Land neighborhood.