Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Back in town...sigh.

Good morning, and happy Easter-eve! I had promised I would tell some more details about vacation, and share some pictures, so here I am.

I left Monday morning for Annapolis to pick up Lani. From there, we went to Norfolk to my aunt's house for a day; and then we went on to the Outer Banks in NC. The weather was so beautiful, we decided to stay down there for a few days (instead of going back to Norfolk at night). We came back to my house on Friday, then down to D.C. on Saturday for the Shamrockfest, stayed with Lani's family Saturday night, then shopped in Annapolis on Sunday. I (very reluctantly) came home Sunday evening, and went back to school on this past Monday.

That's the skinny version of the trip; its really better illustrated by photos. It was absolutely wonderful. The weather was just perfect, unlike here where it is now snowing. Blech!

Our first stop was the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. I love all of the turtles there. They're so cute! Many of them were tiny little babies when I first moved to OBX, so I'd like to think these are the same ones, all grown up!

I can never get a decent picture of the Graveyard of the Atlantic tank, the largest display in the Aquarium. This one is ok, I guess, except for the flashes on the glass. Yuck. The fish in this tank are huge!

Our next stop was the beach by Jennette's Pier in Nags Head. There were hundreds of these mermaid's purses washed up everywhere along the beach. Probably not a good time to go swimming!

This was also washed up on the beach.... covered in barnacles, and looking like maybe it had been a snack for a very large fish. We were a bit hesitant to peek inside. Maybe there was a toe still in there! It really makes me wonder, how on earth did the shoe get in the ocean anyway? Where's the other one?

I actually took this picture for my Geology professor, who loves travelling and taking tons of pictures to put on her slideshows for class. She got really excited when I told her I was going to OBX for spring break, so I told her I'd take some pictures she could use for class. This one is a great example of NC's famous black sand....not volcanic black sand, but tar-ry black sand. Why do you think North Carolinians are called the Tar Heels??

These are the sand dunes at Jockey's Ridge. I swear they're smaller than I remember. They're constantly changing, and have been for millions of years.

Next, we hopped on the ferry to Ocracoke Island. Ignore my stupid-looking hair. I got it cut about 3 days before going on vacation, and its just a bit too short to stay put when its super windy out (which it was, very, very windy). So I look like a goober in this picture.

Seagulls are smarter than they look. They fly behind the ferries because tourists like
to throw them food.

The beaches on Ocracoke have really great shells. I've got a whole bag of them, just waiting to be displayed....somewhere.

We found things besides shells, like this headless baby shark. It was headless because (I'm guessing) someone wanted its jaws. Is it weird that I would have done the exact same thing, had I found it first? Anyway, I was really impressed with the condition the thing was in - no smell, no bugs.... just dried up. If it had a head (and it wouldn't have made me look completely insane), I probably would have taken the whole shark. For what? I have no idea. I just thought it was really cool.

Here's Lani, rocking her Silverchair shirt that I'm super-jealous of, in Ocracoke.

We found this left by someone else on the beach. I think its supposed to be a mermaid's tail?

When we finally dragged ourselves from the beaches, we drove into the tiny village of Ocracoke and stopped at (in my opinion) the best gift shop on the island. I forget the exact name, but its something like The Pirate's Chest. They had big barrels and washbasins on the porch filled with different types of shells, pinecones, and starfish.

Since the weather was so beautiful, and businesses were just starting to open up for the spring, we decided to stay on Ocracoke for the night. We got a harbor-front room at the Anchorage Inn & Marina for only $69. It was so strange - the receptionist in the hotel's lobby recognized me. She asked if I used to live there. I explained that I had lived in the northern OBX, not Ocracoke, back in 2005. She said she thought I looked familiar right away, and asked where I had worked. I told her a few of the places, and she said she knew she'd seen me around. Isn't that weird?! Talk about a small-town feel. It kinda made me feel good though, that maybe I had left 'my mark' down there, and I still kind of belong. Oh, and did I mention - I 100% decided that I'm moving back down there as soon as I graduate. With my degree, I'll have no problem whatsoever finding a job there. Maybe I could work for the aquarium.....Hmmmm......

The next morning when we woke up, we took a walk around the village (tiny!!!), and found our way to the Ocracoke Lighthouse.

And then, of course, we headed straight back to the beaches before we had to catch the ferry to leave.

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