Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hatteras And The Ferry

Today was a long day. And I took pictures. A lot of pictures. So go grab a drink while the page is loading (seriously, it's a lot of pictures) and then buckle in and let's get started.

The day started off with us wanting to do something a bit different. Ginger and I batted around some ideas and we finally came up with the idea of taking a ride on the ferry. The kids were extremely excited about this, especially Quinn who pointed out that he had never been on a boat before (I guess small paddle boats and rafts don't count). The only problem is the ferry is at the end of Hatteras island, and that's about 60 miles away.

Around lunch time we finally made it down to the Hatteras lighthouse. Since we've never taken the kids there before (we've talked about going every year, but the distance always turned us away) we figured since we're already here we should stop by.

Once the kids found out you could actually climb the lighthouse they were suddenly very interested. Ginger had absolutely no interest in climbing it since she's afraid of heights. We got tickets for me and the kids, but the first time available we could go up was 1:20.

To kill some time we went through the museum for a bit. Then as we were waiting for our turn to go up I discovered that even though I had asked for one adult and two kid tickets they had sold us two adult and two kid tickets. Even though the thought of climbing the lighthouse terrified her and there was little she wanted to do less she decided that rather than waste the money she would go up too (and I think partly because she didn't completely trust me to watch the kids).

There are something like 258 steps up to the top of the lighthouse through spiral staircases. The lighthouse is the equivalent of 12 stories. Internally they have 8 landings where you can stop and take a small break. Each landing is on the opposite side of the previous one.

As we were climbing Ginger and I had to constantly keep the kids from rushing ahead (it must be nice to be young and have limitless energy). The higher we went the more I think Ginger was regretting her decision to come up. Eventually she decided she needed to rest for a bit, so the kids and I ended up leaving her behind at the fifth landing.

Once up at the top the kids showed no fear of getting near the edge at all. And even though I didn't think I was scared of heights I found myself getting a bit anxious with just a touch of vertigo when I was near the edge. It's pretty high up, and if you squint you can even see where the lighthouse was originally before they moved it.

We took some pictures while we were up there. The reason I've got the crazy smile with Quinn is I'm trying my best to smile while at the same time I'm terrified because Catherine has my camera and is just swinging it around at times.

At one point another person noticed us taking pictures and volunteered to take a picture of all of us. After that we wandered around for a bit until the kids were bored (which really didn't take that long) and then we started heading back down. We ran into Ginger around the sixth landing (had the kids not gotten bored so quickly she probably would have made it all the way up).

After we got down it was way past lunch time. Ginger had brought some snacks for the kids, so we headed over to the beach to hang out there while we snacked. The beach is over by where the lighthouse use to be. The kids above are running around the marker for the original site.

The waves at this beach were significantly rougher than at the Coquin beach with a fairly serious drop off right at the waves break point. The kids still enjoyed playing in the smaller waves. We ended up staying there a lot longer than we intended.

And after we started to leave we had to stop by the restrooms since the kids had sand in their bathing suits. A lot of sand in fact, handfuls of the stuff, to the point where I was wondering how they had been able to stand it. This explained why Quinn was so desperate and kept sticking his hands down the back of his suit trying to get the sand out though on the beach. In fact at one point he almost pulled his pants down trying to get the sand out. It all started when Quinn mimic Catherine by just sitting in sand as the waves washed over her.

After this we got back on the road to head down to the ferry. We didn't get there until close to 4:30. The line for the ferry was really long. To the point where several ferry's came and went before we were able to get on.

On the ferry we were able to get out of the car during the trip (which took about 40 minutes or so). The kids roamed all over the boat but eventually settled on hanging out right at the front.

I don't think he serious about getting the ax, he just thought it was funny.

After we got to the other side we realized we had nothing over there we wanted to do, so we turned around and got in the line to come back. This took almost as long as the wait on the other side. Maybe longer in fact. Eventually at just before 6:30 we finally got on the ferry back.

The trip back home was made all the more special by the fact that the sun was setting as we were driving. It looked like a beautiful time to be taking sunset pictures, but not knowing the area I had no idea where to pull off to take a picture. I'm sure the guy behind me had to feel good about the fact that the car in front of him (on a bridge no less) has the driver taking a sunset picture as he's driving.

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