Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey and Wetsuits

As for hosting my first Thanksgiving it turned out rather well. Kaitlyn (neighbor from home) came up to visit for the holiday because she attends college a couple of hours west of Cape Hatteras and didnt intend on making the 12 hour drive to NY so we hung together for 3 days. We were in charge of the turkey, stuffing, pie, rolls, and gravy. Having never prepared a turkey on my own before I was a little skeptical. The 3 others that joined us included Rachelle and Jenn and Jeff who are they newly weds in the nps neighborhood. They brought the rest.

Most of the preparation details were passed on to me because I was actually willing to take control of the situation. This included removing the neck and giblits out of the body cavities....and then grabing the bird and chasing kait around the house with it flapping its wings. The gravy was the best part and the turkey was delicious. I believe the direct quote was, "This gravy is bangin!" So we had a successful day in the kitchen, proving that we werent just two stupid girls left to handle something important ;)

Today, feeling adventerous, we decided to go down to the surf shop and rent wet suits. We then proceeded to drive to Frisco and drag Rachelle out of her house and flooded back yard to come wipeout ...i mean surf with us. The waves were 10 feet or so but they just werent breaking the way that we needed to get a good ride. I managed to get up on my knees only once before getting slammed into the curl and decided that I would then just float and watch the sunset over the lighthouse. I must admit that turning over underneath your board before a wave hits is a very good way to avoid slamming your head, although you run the rist of hitting yourself with your own board.

Wetsuits surprisingly keep you very warm...until you get out of the water. We should have gotten in closer to where we parked the car. THats all I have to say.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Move of the Century

I have the task of giving a program about the lighthouse. The 2 interp rangers that are stationed here for the winter both need to have a talk on this topic and it is obvioius why. So that means Jen and I are both working on bettering our programs :) We wanted to make each one different so we both choice different lighthouse topics. Jen is delivering a talk about the light's historic values and how life was for the lighhouse keepers out there on the Outer Banks. I chose the epic relocation project named "the move of the century." After the relocation it was named a National Civil Engineering Landmark which I think is pretty neat!

The lighthouse was moved from its original location to its new home 2,900 feet to the southwest. The move was completed in the summer of 1999 so this year marks the 10th aniversary. This truly was an engineering feat. Most visitors come in amazed that it was able to be moved all in one piece without a single crack in the foundation. The only crack in the lighthouse was caused by lightning long before the relacation project.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse weighs 4800 tons...thats more than 2 space shuttles and is composed of 1,250,000 bricks (The tallest brick lighthouse in the world). At 208 ft it is also the tallest lighthouse in North America. Intimidating?....yes. Those responsible for the project were a chimney moving company out of Buffalo, NY and a housemoving company out if Virgina. Both the principal and double keepers quarters were moved as well and placed at the new site.

Preparation began 6 months earlier. Workers dug down 6 feet from the base of the lighthouse and proceeded to separate the lighthouse from its granite base with a diamond tiped cable saw. As the granite was removed, steel shoring towers were placed underneath to transfer the weight. A straight line was then cleared and paved with gravel creating a move path for the lighthouse. The lighthouse now sat on steal that rested on heavy duty rollers. this is how the lighthouse would move...little by little.

Hydrallic jacks pushed from behind as the monsterous structure made its way slowly down the move path. Steal beams were taken from behind the lighthouse and placed in front like stepping stones as it moved along. After 23 days of slow movement the light reached its new home a safe 1,500ft from the ocean on July 9, 1999. It now stood the same distance away from the sea as it did when it was first built in 1870. Just goes to show how fast our world is changing. The island is being shifted to the southwest at an extrodinary rate. She continues to shine today keeping man-kind safe from the dangerous waters of the diamond shoals and we have returned the favor in keeping her safe from beach erosion for another 100 years.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Some storm damage may recognize this house as the house that was filmed in the movie "Nights in Rodanthe" the road closure is curently about 20 minutes south of where I live.


As I sit here in the Museum of the front of the famous light Cape Hatteras National Seashore...I end up thinking to myself " why have I been here for 2 hours and still havent seen a single sole walk in here. This is a wonderful place to visit." Then there is a snap back to reality. "Oh one can get here and the only people who are here have been here twice already because they are so bored that they came back twice.

The road has been washed away and has been shut down since Thursday. So everyone who visited the seashore for a vacation is getting a little more of Hatteras Island than they were hoping to get. As for me, Jennifer and I have been having real heart to heart conversations because there is nothing else to do besides complete stats sheets for which we have no stats. Today we have had a total of one family come strolling through the grounds that managed to get through the road block. As of right now the only way off the island is to travel 20 miles south the Hatteras Village and take the 2 hour ferry trip back to the main land...not for me.

The outer banks continues to be in a "state of emergency" and I guess if I were from a big city I would consider myself stranded. At least we have a grocery store, a roof over our head, and each other for entertainment. For now they are deciding to build a temperary section where you are allowed to drive along the beach past the road damage as long as you have 4 wheel drive. We shall see in the days to come.

In other news I am hurrying through my interpretive writing course at top speed. I have already learned a great deal and look forward to my next assignements include a site bulletin and radio essay. There is the possiblity that my site bullentin will be used here in the park. Everyone who comes in here is wanting to know all about the moving of the lighthouse so I think my bulletin will be on that.