Friday, June 14, 2013

Getting Out to Shackleford Banks

Saturday morning, June 8.
In my last post, I gave a summary of my backpacking trip on Shackleford Banks.  But to hike on an island, first you have to get out there.  In our case we took a boat out, using Island Ferry Adventures in Beaufort, North Carolina.

First though, we got up and got packed in our hotel in New Bern, had a decent breakfast, and got on the road by about 7:15.  On the way out of the hotel, I admired one of the New Bern bears.  There are 49 of them, I think, scattered around the city.

When we got to Beaufort, in what should have been plenty of time for the 9AM boat, we found out that it was very difficult in this waterfront town to buy bait and fishing licenses.  That took us more than an hour, and we made the 10:00 boat with minutes to spare.  We were on our way to our remote destination!  No, none of these were our boats, but we saw this view from the flat bottomed boat as we left the scenic harbor:

Chris and Carlton were perhaps watching bottle-nose dolphins here.  We saw at least 6-8 of them, one of them swimming incredibly fast.

We had to hang on at times.  The ride was fast and rough, and the spray from the waves broke heavily over the boat.  By the time we got to Shackleford Banks 20 minutes later, I was soaked.  You can see in this photo how soaked the right side of my shirt and pants - the side facing the bow of the boat - got during the short ride!

The boat, with its flat bottom, simply pulled up on the beach at the bow, and we stepped on to the sand.  There were plenty of people going out for day trips - the 9:00 boat was nearly full - but we were the only ones we saw backpacking out there.  It was exciting to set foot on the sandy west end of the island after so much planning and thinking about it.

It was time to start hiking to find a suitable campsite.  The map below shows the hikes I went on during the time we were out there.

The red track on the left was the hike - about three miles - to our campsite.  The small blue loop in the middle was a 1.5 mile hike later that day, and the purple track to the right was a 4.35 mile out and back (for a total of about 8.7 miles) on Sunday to see what some of the rest of the island was like.  On Monday, we repeated the red track in the opposite direction to catch the boat.  And of course, not shown on the map are the many, many shorter walks to beachcomb, explore, and look for horses.

Of course, I will describe each of those hikes, and more, in later posts.


  1. Yes, I'd say you got a bit wet! : )
    The sand is so white and the blue sky and water are just picture perfect.

  2. Yeah, for sure! It is very beautiful there. Rugged and a harsh environment, but beautiful.