Happy Halloween! It was a beautiful morning for a walk on the beach so we landed the dinghy shortly before 9:30 am and walked until after 11 am. We didn’t see as many sand dollars or horseshoe crabs, but there were several interesting creatures whose photos have found their way into the blog.
Here is a little history of Blackbeard Island: it has been in continuous Federal ownership since 1800 when the 5,618 acre island was acquired by the Navy Department as a source of live oak timber for ship building. From 1880 to 1910, the island served as a yellow fever quarantine station, managed by the National Board of Health, then by the U.S. Marine Hospital Service.
Other colorful notes relating to the history of the island deal with it’s namesake, Edward Teach, alias Blackbeard the Pirate. Legends tell of his murderous and plunderous activities along the coast and his periodic retreats to the island for “banking” purposes. Rumors of Blackbeard’s buried treasure still flourish, however, so far no one has found a single doubloon. The island’s history as a refuge began in 1924 when it was placed under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Biological Survey. In 1941, Blackbeard Island was designated a National Wildlife Refuge.
After lunch, we met several of the cruisers at the ranger station dock and hiked the East Trail on Blackbeard Island. The trail was a bit longer than any of us had anticipated so when the mosquitoes swarmed us, we didn’t take long to decide we’d rather turn around than keep going. Besides, it was getting late in the afternoon and we knew the bugs would get worse before they got better!
About 6 pm, we all gathered on the southern beach to share appetizers and great company. The evening was mild and we kept the bugs away with another terrific bonfire.