Pea Island from Oregon Inlet

Rodanthe, North Carolina

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Inlets should actually be called outlets. They are formed when water, which is pushed inland by storms or wind, is suddenly pushed back toward the barrier islands when the wind changes. The force of the water is strong enough to punch a hole through the sand. Oregon Inlet was formed during a September gale in 1846. It was named after the Oregon, the first ship to enter the new opening. Since it opened, the inlet has been moving steadily to the south as a result of the littoral current, which runs from north to south. This is a common occurrence, but has proved very troublesome for the small fishing vessels that use the inlet to get offshore. As the inlet gets narrower, the vessels stand the chance of running aground. As sand accumulates south of the inlet in Pamlico Sound, it’s amazing to watch the islands grow from day to day. Every time I cross the bridge, they are a little bigger, and grass is starting to grow on some of them. Efforts to stabilize the inlet have not met with success. State and local officials are trying to gain approval from Congress to build a jetty system, but it remains to be seen if the forces of nature can be stopped here without affecting the beaches to the south.
Guide to Sea Kayaking in North Carolina

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Guide to Sea Kayaking in North Carolina

by Pam Malec (The Globe Pequot Press)

Inlets should actually be called outlets. They are formed when water, which is pushed inland by storms or wind, is suddenly pushed back toward the barrier islands when the wind changes. The force of the water is strong enough to punch a hole through the sand. Oregon Inlet was formed during a September gale in 1846. It was named after the Oregon, the first ship to enter the new opening. Since it opened, the inlet has been moving steadily to the south as a result of the littoral current, which runs from north to south.

This is a common occurrence, but has proved very troublesome for the small fishing vessels that use the inlet to get offshore. As the inlet gets narrower, the vessels stand the chance of running aground. As sand accumulates south of the inlet in Pamlico Sound, it’s amazing to watch the islands grow from day to day. Every time I cross the bridge, they are a little bigger, and grass is starting to grow on some of them. Efforts to stabilize the inlet have not met with success. State and local officials are trying to gain approval from Congress to build a jetty system, but it remains to be seen if the forces of nature can be stopped here without affecting the beaches to the south.

©  Pam Malec/The Globe Pequot Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Sea Kayaking
Nearby City: Rodanthe
Distance: 5
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Season: Year-round, weather permitting
Local Maps: USGS: NC0428 Oregon Inlet
Driving Directions: Directions to Pea Island from Oregon Inlet

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Apr 2018