- Ocracoke Toll Ferry
only access to Ocracoke is by small aircraft, private boat, or the
ferrys. Three routes are normally open to and from Ocracoke- the Hatteras
ferry, the Swan Quarter Ferry, and the Cedar Island ferry.
The Cedar Island - Ocracoke ferry crosses Pamlico
Sound, which is approximately a two hour and fifteen minute trip.
You can find this ferry's location on the Coastal
Guide Map. The "Carteret"
would be making the run on this trip. The above right photo shows
the "Carteret" preparing to load at Cedar Island. This would turn
out to be an interesting crossing.
was a beautiful October afternoon. The water of the sound was like
glass. With such fine weather and smooth ride on a long crossing,
passengers were making a leisurely time of it.
At least one person pulled a beach chair from the back of her car
with some reading. The sky was the most perfect shade of blue
and the horizon was ringed with a few clouds. Chances
looked good for a colorful sunset near the end of the crossing. On
these long crossings the water
and sky changes constantly. In spite of the relatively slow cruising
speed, birds, boats and other chance encounters along the way can
go by quickly if you are not on the lookout.
Not far into the crossing we came upon a fishing
boat named "Cracker Boy" that was virtually swarming
with birds. This was not the usual flock of gulls following a ferry,
which anyone who has ridden a ferry before has already seen. It looked
as if it had be set upon by a mass of giant mosquitoes.Such
a sight is likely commonplace for the locals, but for many visitors
it is a spectacle. Gulls, terns and pelicans were having a field day
as the "Cracker Boy" hauled in its catch. A series of photos
of the "Cracker Boy" can be found under Scenic
About fifteen minutes before sunset, dolphins
were spotted accompanying the ferry. Soon though, it seemed they
had gone, but then they were spotted again. This time they were riding
the bow wave. This was quite a treat for the passengers.
thumbnails for a larger view)
As if all that were not enough, the afternoon
was topped off in spectacular fashion by a blazing
sunset. (A series of photos of this sunset over the Pamlico can
be found under Scenic
Places.) As the sun slipped below the water of Pamlico Sound in
the west, Ocracoke became recognizable in the east. Before
long we were close enough to see Ocracoke's sound-side shoreline and
Lighthouse reflected in the waters of the Pamlico, bathed in the
pinks and purples of the evening sky. Soon the "Carteret"
cruised through "the ditch" into Silver Lake and docked at the ferry
landing next to the old Coast Guard Station.