Swan Quarter - Ocracoke Toll Ferry

The Swan Quarter ferry is one of three ferry routes normally available to and from Ocracoke. It is the longest of the three, taking about two and one half hours to cross the Pamlico Sound. You can find this ferry's location on the Coastal Guide Map. Choosing which ferry to take from Ocracoke is, as a rule, just a matter of logistics. Which one gets you closer to where you want to be at the other end? Swan Quarter is in the middle of Swan Quarter National Wildlife Refuge, and an easy ten minute drive from Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. This area is a popular spot in the winter for wildlife enthusiasts because so many geese and Tundra Swans winter here.

The "Silver Lake" would be making this trip from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter, as it did on both occasions during the October, 2003 photographic trips by the author. On both trips the "Silver Lake" had a very noisy, hard oscillating vibration in the aft quarter, which shook the boat frequently. It was too noisy to enjoy being on deck at the rear of the boat. In fact, it was difficult to talk over the noise. Fortunately, staying forward or in the passenger cabin made both the noise and vibration much less noticeable. Nothing like this was experienced on any of the other ferrys. In it's defense, it was built in 1965, making it one of the two oldest "sound class" ferrys in the fleet (the Pamlico being the other ferry built in 1965).

Both the Swan Quarter and Cedar Island ferrys pass near a small sandbar/island next to the ferry channel just west of Ocracoke. This location is a favorite gathering spot for gulls, terns, cormorants and pelicans. It's quite a sight to see thousands of birds lining the water's edge, while others swim nearby and small flocks come and go constantly. If you happen to pass by on a day when the breeze is blowing out of the north, you might catch a hint of what a rookery smells like.

There was little on the Swan Quarter trip to break up the long crossing. The weather was fabulous, the water was calm, much of the time nearly smooth as glass, and the sky was a beautiful shade of blue. Occasionally a gull would perch atop a mast or fly past, and for a while there were jellyfish floating by. All in all it was a relaxing trip from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter.

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Additional Ferrys:
NC Ferrys - Page One
Knotts Island-Currituck

NC Ferrys - Page Two

NC Ferrys - Page Three
Minnesott Beach-
Cherry Branch

NC Ferrys - Page Four
Cedar Island-Ocracoke

NC Ferrys - Page Five
Swan Quarter-Ocracoke

NC Ferrys - Page Six

NC Ferrys - Page Seven
NC Ferry Fleet Photos

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Copyright © 2003 Fred Hurteau           * Copyright information and image use policy *

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