Taking the Ferry to Ocracoke

24 05 2009

Denise and I finally made it to Ocracoke on Wednesday (5/20/09). It’s surprising to look back at a post and see that it took us 3 years to make the trip. Where does the time go. We had planned to go on Tuesday but high winds and storms made us think otherwise which is good since they cancelled all ferry services.

Our trip began with us taking the 7:30 am ferry from Cedar Island. Actually, I had to leave Jacksonville at 4:45 am so I could meet up with Denise at her house on Emerald Isle in order to make the ferry on time.  We took the first ferry of the day since the next ferry wouldn’t leave until 10:30 am and that would have put us on the island after lunch. Not good considering this was a day trip.

We didn’t take the car to the island. We left it at the ferry terminal and rode our bikes.

ferry-ocracoke

They charge bike riders $3 each way. A car is charged $15. If you’re taking a car, you better have reservations and you must check-in 30 mins prior to departure or they give your spot away. We saw plenty of cars and motor homes waiting on the side of the road without reservations.

As you can see from the picture, there’s no bike rack or special area for your bike. You just lay them down. I guess they don’t want them falling over on people or vehicles.

CIMG2091

The ferry trip is a little over 2 hours each way. The ferry has indoor and outdoor seating, restrooms, and vending machines. Most folks stayed in their vehicles and slept.

We did hit some rough patches on the trip over. The ferry handles the seas well although watching the 35 ft motor homes rock back and forth was a little unnerving. We had 4 or 5 motor homes on the ferry along with a Coke delivery truck. We did take some Dramamine prior to the trip. I assumed it helped but now that I think about it, I forgot to take some for the return trip and I did just fine.

We did talk with some of the other ferry passengers. There was one couple with quite a bit of boating experience that explained how we had to follow a specific route (channel) into Ocracoke due to the shifting shoals. They also pointed out some metal pipes sticking out of the water that turned out to be the smokestacks of a sunken ship. I wonder if Blackbeard used those shallow waters to his advantage back then.

Even though the ferry ride to Ocracoke is slow compared to our normal day-to-day travels, it actually gets you ready for the laid back atmosphere on the island. You get a chance to enjoy the view and feel the wind on your face as you succumb to a world of flip flops, slow pedaling your bike, and no cell service!

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