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North Carolina’s Outer Banks: Surf, Sand and Swallows

The Outer Banks is a 200-mile-long sliver of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. Little more than an oversized sandbar in the Atlantic Ocean, it is a laid-back getaway for surfers, sport fishers and water enthusiasts alike. The islands have a reputation for capricious weather – blue skies can give way to thunderstorms in a matter of minutes – but that does not deter summer solace seekers from venturing to its shores.

Since the 1960s, when surfing made its way to the Outer Banks, the sport has steadily become embedded in local culture. Pro surfers from around the world come to sample the islands’ waves. The biggest swells will not arrive until autumn, but the islands offer consistent waves for summer visitors.

 

In Manteo, a town on the Outer Banks island of Roanoke, a crowd gawks at a mako shark hauled in during a fishing tournament.

Tree swallows swarm at Jockey’s Ridge, a 426-acre park in the town of Nags Head and the tallest living dune system on the East Coast, with peaks reaching more than 90ft high. A few miles north of here, Oliver (sic) Wright of the legendary Wright Brothers completed the world’s first human flight in 1903, a feat that lasted 12 seconds, covered a distance of 120ft and propelled us into the age of aviation.

English settlers were the first to lay claim to the Outer Banks in the late 16th Century. Bridges to the island were not constructed until the 1930s and the only form of transport on or off the islands until then was by boat, which kept them cut off from much of the mainland. Today, about 60,000 residents call the islands home, some of them descendents of those first settlers…

Read more: BBC

 

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