Ocracoke, Day #4

Silver Lake Harbor

A dredge toils away in Silver Lake Harbor. During the regular season, Silver Lake is Ocracoke’s center of activity. “The Ditch,” visible just beyond the dredge, connects Silver Lake to Pamlico Sound.

Pelicans gather at the end of a dock on Silver Lake Harbor.
Back Porch Restaurant: Bacon-wrapped sea scallops here. Three doors down, a mud yard with white pickup truck and chickens.
There's a place like this in Bar Harbor. It's called the Hemporium. A coastal thing?
At the northern end of Ocracoke, the free Hatteras Ferry provides transportation to Cape Hatteras.

Walking back to the inn from Ocracoke Coffee Company, I noticed a woman feeding more cats than I could count at a glance. Dozens, anyway. I asked her if the cats were hers — I just couldn’t help myself — and she said no, they’re feral cats, fed, spayed, neutered and provided veterinary care by a non-profit organization called Ocracats.

Ocracoke is home to an estimated 1,000 feral cats, she said, roughly the same number as domesticated humans, but the cats (like the Banker ponies, I’ve learned) are believed to have descended from livestock thrown overboard to buoy sinking ships along the Outer Banks during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Shipwreck survivors, in other words. No wonder they look so hearty. (Tonight I’ll dream about cats with little peg legs and eye patches who drink ale and say “Arrrr!”)

divider-home

After coffee and cats, I walked 2.5 miles north (then 2.5 miles south) along the ocean beneath an overcast sky. The beach was deserted and the wind was almost strong enough to lean into. Very much to my liking.