Sunday, July 3, 2016

Beach Trip 2016 - Part 4 - The Voyage Home

On the last morning there, we didn't really have a plan. We packed everything up, left the tent and tarp to dry out after another stormy (like super high winds, thunder, lightning, and heavy rain) night, and went back to the Wright Brothers Memorial for a couple more pics that we missed the day before. Once that was done, however, we had to decide what to do next: head home or go exploring. Olivia requested to see a lighthouse. So we decided to take a ride north along the Outer Banks to Corolla to see Currituck Lighthouse.
 Once there, we decided to pay the fee and climb to the top. Everyone made it with no problem. :)
Irene liked that she could see so far. "Look there! And there!"

It wasn't easy keeping these three from racing up and down the stairs.
Once we were done there, we headed back South and made the decision to keep on going and see at least one more lighthouse. 
Bodie Island was the next one down the coast.
Unfortunately, all the tickets had been sold for climbing this one, but since it's a twin of Currituck, we were OK with that. Instead, we walked out the nature boardwalk they had set up into the marshes. 
We saw a very pretty egret
and a bright red dragonfly.

Now here's where we really had to make a choice. From here, it was a pretty easy ride back to the road home. It was only 2pm and we could make it home from here by bedtime. However, Hatteras was only another hour down the coast and then we could take the ferry to Ocracoke and then another back to the mainland and get home a bit later. We figured that this was one of those opportunities you don't get very often, so we soldiered on to Hatteras.
It's a bit taller than the other lighthouses (2nd tallest in North America!) and you can climb it, but unfortunately, you have to be a certain height to do it. That meant that the littles couldn't go. Rebecca volunteered to stay on the ground with them while I took the bigs up. 
It was quite a climb. By this time, it was getting really hot, so it was in the high 90s inside the lighthouse. Getting out at the top was a welcome relief!
Rebecca and the littles looked so tiny form up there.
It's cool that they maintain the path that they used to move the lighthouse about 1/2 mile back from the shore 20 years ago.

Fortunately, we made it back down again. :) From here, it was on to the ferry to Ocracoke.
Since we didn't plan, we didn't really know when the ferries would be running or how long they took to make the crossings. The next ferry was at 4:45, so we thought we were doing pretty well. 
Turns out that the Hatteras to Ocracoke ferry takes 45 minutes and then the drive down to the Ocracoke to the mainland ferry was about 20 minutes, so it was about 6pm when we got there to buy our tickets. That's not a big problem except that the next ferry home wasn't until 9! That gave us more than enough time to take a look at Ocracoke Lighthouse, our 4th one for the day! 
You can't go up in this one, so we had to content ourselves with a picture outside it.

After that, it was just a long wait for the ferry to load. Rebecca and I fed the kids and picked up some fru-fru pizzas for ourselves. I should mention now that this ferry ride is more than 2 hours! Rebecca used the time wisely and got in a nice, long yoga session on the upper deck under the stars and then read with Olivia (they usually have one book going together). The kids, except for Olivia, passed out in the van and I sat around reading a book. Once back on the mainland, it was another 5-hour drive that got us in at around 4:30am. Quite a long day, but totally worth it! :)

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