Speaking of natural disasters

By Molly Harrison | Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Explore nature in a National Wildlife Refuge program.

One thing I've learned from living here for 17 years is not to panic about hurricanes too soon. Prepare, yes. Plan, yes. Panic, no. Worrying too many days in advance just saps my energy and makes me entirely unproductive. * As I write this on Tuesday, Hurricane Irene is projected to hit us this weekend. Evacuations are being scheduled for Hyde County. Of course that brings a background note of worry to my days, but I have to keep reminding myself that the storm is still a ways off and things could still change. * The Wunderground weather nerds are saying that there is a possibility that the storm could shift off to the east and brush us rather than hit us directly. * But either way, I think it's going to be a wild, wet weekend, and we're going to spend the next several days securing everything in the yard, hauling out boats, stocking those hurricane kits (yes, I know that should have already been done) and talking, talking, talking about hurricanes and who's leaving and who's staying...

Speaking of natural disasters, many Outer Bankers reported sensing the East Coast earthquake on Tuesday afternoon. Me, I was sitting on the beach chatting with my girlfriends, so I didn't feel a thing. (Which worries me a little. Should I be more AWARE?) But people in buildings reported feeling the vibrations. My husband said it was like a huge jet flying over. What a crazy world this is...

In the days leading up to the potential storm, life does go on. Don't become inert on the sofa in front of the Weather Channel. Check it now and then, but only in between enjoyment of the sunny summer days. Here's some fun stuff going on this week, though, of course, the weekend events may be cancelled at any time...

On Wednesday, head into the depths of the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (with guides) to learn about the refuge's populations of black bears and red wolves. The refuge is home to one of the largest populations of black bears in the eastern United States and the only population of wild red wolves in the world. The free Bear Necessities program is held from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and after a presentation you'll drive out on Wildlife Drive where there is a possibility of seeing bears. You'll be back in time for the 7:30 p.m. Red Wolf Howling Safari, and since you're already out there you really should do both. The Wolf Howling includes a presentation and a chance to hear the wolves howl. Registration is required for the Howling and it costs $7 (12 and younger go for free). Call (252) 216-9464...

The National Wildlife Refuges (Pea Island and Alligator River) have some great activities going on all week. Other things you can do in the refuges: Bird Walks on Pea Island on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 8 a.m.; Turtle Talks on Pea Island on Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m.; Soundside Adventures on Pea Island on Thursdays at 2:30 p.m.; Birds and their Adaptations on Pea Island on Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m.; Tram Tours of Alligator River on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. Canoe Tours of Pea Island and Alligator River are offered at various times every week. Go to www.fws.gov/alligatorriver/spec.html or call (252) 216-9464 for info on any of the programs or to register for a canoe tour...

On Thursday, the N.C. Aquarium is hosting a Wetlands Walk at Oregon Inlet. It's a catch-and-release program in which participants will learn about aquatic life, estuaries, the sound, tides and the dynamic ecosystem at the marsh. The local kids will be in school that day, so vacationers you can have it all to yourselves. Cost is only $15, and it's for ages 8 and older. Preregistration is required. Call (252) 473-3494...

Also on Thursday, the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum is hosting a lecture and slide show called the U.S. Coast Guard Past and Present on Thursday at 2 p.m. Hear about the heroic Mirlo rescue and the modern-day Coast Guard. It's free and open to the public. The museum is on the Manteo waterfront. Call (252) 475-1500. * Another Coast Guard-related event happens Thursday at the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site and Museum in Rodanthe. They're having a Surfman Ceremony to honor a Coast Guardsman who has accomplished the achieved the rare Surfman status. The ceremony will be held at 2 p.m., at the beginning of the Beach Apparatus Drill (known as the Breeches Buoy Demonstration). This demonstration of historic life-saving techniques is quite fascinating - an Outer Banks must-see. Head on down and check out the site, the ceremony and the reenactment for a fun afternoon. Call (252) 987-1552...

On Wednesday and Friday, Island Farm on Roanoke Island has its Folk Medicine program between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This program teaches about medicines, ailments and remedies the mid-nineteenth century farmer would have encountered. Island Farm is a great place to visit - it's a quiet, interesting and thought-provoking attraction. Call (252) 473-6500...

Saturday is Kitty Hawk Kites' 12th Annual Ocean Games & Surf Kayak Competition at Ramada Plaza in KDH. Expect surf kayak competitions, a 3-mile kayak race, a sandcastle competition, kayak and paddleboard demos, kites and much more. Call (252) 441-4124 for info...

This is the scheduled weekend for the Flags Over Hatteras event on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Hatteras. The weekend includes three nationally known Civil War authors and historians, a Living History encampment at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Civil War re-enactors and many more free programs at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras village. The events go on from Thursday through Sunday, weather permitting. See www.flagsoverhatteras.com for information...

Have you registered for the Outer Banks Triathlon yet? It's coming up on September 10 and 11. There's still space for you, and you still have a couple of weeks to train. Go to www.obxmarathon.org for details and registration...

Keep checking around our site for more fun things to do. We have a ton of nightlife listings in our By Night section, and much more to do in the By Day section. * Have fun out there, stay safe, hope for Irene to steer far eastward, and evacuate early if ordered (check http://www.darenc.com/EmgyMgmt/index.htm for updates as the weekend nears). * Oh, and local kids, good luck on your first day of school on Thursday!....

About the Author Molly Harrison
Molly Harrison is managing editor at OneBoat, publisher of OuterBanksThisWeek.com. She moved to Nags Head in 1994 and since then has made her living writing articles and creating publications about the people, places and culture of the Outer Banks. When not working she practices and teaches yoga and spends as much time as possible outside and in or on the water with her husband and two children.