Friday, May 27, 2011

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

For lovers of lighthouses, this is kind of the "mother" of all lighthouses. It is the tallest and one of the most recognizable. It looks very similar to the St. Augustine, Fl lighthouse. The St. Augustine light is red at the top, while this one has red at the bottom.

We were staying close by and I had Jim drop me off at the park before the ticket office opens at 8:15 as I was the only one climbing it from our group. I am sure it is crowded in the summer, but crowds was not a problem on this Wednesday in May. I was the first to buy a ticket and had the light all to myself when I climbed it at 9:00, other than the rangers positioned at the bottom, half way and at the top. I told the ranger at the top that I was very jealous of her job. She said she loved her job! While we were standing there talking, we saw three pelican gliding by below us. I did not have my big lens on the camera, so it was a mental photo. Sometimes those are the best kind.

Later, the gang arrived and one of the rangers took this shot. I am holding the junior ranger bear I bought as the mascot for this trip.

We visited the beach and the original location before the lighthouse was moved after the gang arrived. Above is such a classic shot. Reminds me of the rubber stamps Impression Obsession has of the OBX lighthouses. Just might have to invest in some of those.
Oh, my, just looked at their website and they have a sale over Memorial Day weekend!

There are two buildings below, one of which is a museum.

I love the spiral steps inside a lighthouse. Some make a complete spiral and some have landings. A complete spiral is especially pretty to me...reminds me of a shell. Gotta love a wide angle lens!

I also liked the tiled floor in the base.

I had plenty of time while I was waiting the 45 minutes between buying my tickets and making the climb so I got this shot of some bunnies having breakfast next to the lighthouse.

The light station below is fifteen miles out. It is barely visible to the naked eye and is a good measure of visibility. This light services ships passing by as this area is famous for shipwrecks. I used my new 2x extender for my 200mm zoom lens and it worked pretty good! The ranger at the top constantly takes wind velocity readings and makes reports to the rangers below. If she hears thunder, the lighthouse shuts down for half an hour.

The shot below of the beach is also taken with the extender. This beach was listed on The Daily (my iPad newspaper) today as one of the top ten beaches in the country.

The bottom ring of the original location of the lighthouse was left in place. Eventually, it will be washed out to sea. The names of all the lighthouse keepers have been engraved on the stones of the ring. The light is now fully automated.

Below, the shot was taken from the top of the lighthouse using the extender, showing the original ring and a portion of the path the lighthouse made as it was moved on rails. You can see the ring just below the greenery in the sand.

Below is a sign giving information about the move.

There were several signs telling about the climb, which was a piece of cake to me. It is funny about all the warnings. Life in America, I guess. I was told I could not design Perler pieces to be used as cupcake decorations as children might eat the Perlers....really? Anyway, I did not have to step over any passed out bodies, but then I did have the lighthouse to myself. Why would you climb the lighthouse if you had a condition that could cause you to die? My MIL, for instance, is legally blind....she could not take this climb as she could not see the steps.

There were more warnings before you entered and at the halfway point. Another thing they are serious about is thunder. When I came down, it was closed. Guess the early bird does get the worm!

I am already making plans to visit the St. George Island Lighthouse in Florida on my way from Amelia Island to Destin, Florida in less than a month. Rough life, but someone has to do it.

I loved my visit to this lighthouse! I am currently doing a SMASH book of my trip to the OBX. In case you have not heard, a Smash Book (K & Company) is a flexible scrapbook/junk drawer/journal...aka FUN! Love how it is turning out! Click on SMASH above to learn more about it!


Jan Castle said...

A delightful narative Holly...I sooooo enjoyed my visit to this lighthouse - thanks for the trip!

Peggy said...

I really enjoy your travels and I appreciate you taking time to share with us!
Thank You!