So here we are in the Outer Banks, a day after Hurricane Earl blew through. Driving towards our home we saw plenty of side streets covered in water but no apparent damage to homes. Other than the leaves and branches filling the middle of the road there was very little sign of a recent hurricane.
Until we went to the beach! As soon as we pulled in to the driveway we rustled up some flashlights and raced to the beach. Our first thought? The stars were brighter and bigger than we have seen in years. Was it the after effects of the storm or the fact that half of the people were still evacuated, leaving lights off around us? It didn’t matter to us – we simply marveled at the night time sky.
The beach was unlike anything we’ve seen before. The sand was similar to smooth cement. Hard, flat and unblemished. They say a hurricane either washes things up to shore or rinses it clean. Hurricane Earl washed everything clean.
Our neighbor stayed for the storm, as did most of the locals in our area. They walked to the main road and watched the traffic, which was wall-to-wall cars. It took hours to simply get a few sections down the road!
She turned off the lights in the house at about 1 a.m. to the sound of driving wind and rain. By three she said the sound of rain pelting the house was deafening, as if someone was drilling the walls. She didn’t feel fear, but wanted it to be over as soon as possible.
The waves? Apparently they were 8 to 10 feet high in our little part of the ocean. Saturday the beach was still red-flagged, with lifeguards driving up and down calling not-so-very-smart people out of the water. The surfers enjoyed some huge waves while we swatted at biting flies carried by the unusual west wind.
Sunday the red flags were taken away, leaving us to enjoy two amazing clear and calm days in the Outer Banks. Although the wind blew Sunday leaving us shivering a bit after swimming, the water was warm and cleansing. Schools of baby blues swam around us while the occasional small ray flipped to the surface and back down again.
What an amazing difference in only a few days – from a raging hurricane to calm, crystal clear water. Mother Nature is simply extraordinary, as is the great Atlantic Ocean.