Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Avon, North Carolina

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Where sea, sand, nature, and people come together in an uneasy mix—that’s a good way to describe Cape Hatteras. It’s not easy to get here, to live here, or to leave. It’s wild and untamed. The land is never really owned, just borrowed until the next nor’easter or hurricane. Cape Hatteras is now a vacationer’s paradise, but it was once a captain’s nightmare. Two currents come together here: the Labrador Current, which flows north to south, and the mighty Gulf Stream, which runs south to north. They collide just a few miles off Cape Point at the Diamond Shoals. Sometimes this is a gentle mix; sometimes they come together with such force that they throw fish and shells far into the air, sink ships, and flood the land. This is the heart of the area known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” Even today, ships are lost every year off the North Carolina Coast. If you get a chance, walk the beach a while. The shelling is great, and sometimes the waves uncover what they once claimed. I’ve walked on the beach during the winter and spring and come upon shipwrecks uncovered where there was once just sand, only to return the next week to find it covered back up again.
Guide to Sea Kayaking in North Carolina

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Guide to Sea Kayaking in North Carolina

by Pam Malec (The Globe Pequot Press)

Where sea, sand, nature, and people come together in an uneasy mix—that’s a good way to describe Cape Hatteras. It’s not easy to get here, to live here, or to leave. It’s wild and untamed. The land is never really owned, just borrowed until the next nor’easter or hurricane. Cape Hatteras is now a vacationer’s paradise, but it was once a captain’s nightmare. Two currents come together here: the Labrador Current, which flows north to south, and the mighty Gulf Stream, which runs south to north. They collide just a few miles off Cape Point at the Diamond Shoals. Sometimes this is a gentle mix; sometimes they come together with such force that they throw fish and shells far into the air, sink ships, and flood the land.

This is the heart of the area known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” Even today, ships are lost every year off the North Carolina Coast. If you get a chance, walk the beach a while. The shelling is great, and sometimes the waves uncover what they once claimed. I’ve walked on the beach during the winter and spring and come upon shipwrecks uncovered where there was once just sand, only to return the next week to find it covered back up again.

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

Activity Type: Sea Kayaking
Nearby City: Avon
Distance: 6
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Season: Year-round, weather permitting
Local Maps: USGS: NC0091 Buxton
Driving Directions: Directions to Cape Hatteras National Seashore

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Apr 2018