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May 15, 2005

Cape Hatteras

Hatteras LighthouseThe Outer Banks of North Carolina - perhaps the world's biggest sandbar - are quite beautiful.  The area, and the lighthouse at Cape Hatteras, are very famous.  Orville and Wilbur Wright carried out their first successful flight, at Kitty Hawk in the Kill Devil Hills there.  Every year during the U.S. hurricane season, the Cape Hatteras lighthouse is a major watch point for pending storms.

For those of you in real estate profession, there are dozens (maybe 100's) of $1,000,000 homes along the ocean front for a hundred miles.  Many have apparently been built on speculation and are either for sale or for rent. Super home is the only way to describe them.  Interestingly, most homes in this area are built on stilts, so the hurricane winds and water can go right through underneath.

CH House on stiltsThe lighthouse at Cape Hatteras, over 200 feet tall, was build in the 1850's and was 1,500 feet from the Atlantic shoreline at that time. Over the last 150 years, the power of the ocean has eroded the shore and in 1999, they moved the lighthouse (by that time only 150 feet from shore), the 2 two lighthouse keepers' houses and a variety of other buildings 2900 feet to a location 1,600 away from the Atlantic.

There was a documentary on the Discovery Channel about the move, but if you missed it (as Bernie and I did), they excavated under the structure, supported it on 3 levels of steel cribs and moved it at about 2 feet per hour down a specially built roadbed to its new location.  The structure was wired to warn of any problems and the move was so well done the tower was never more than 1° off vertical


Using GPS and satellite measuring systems, it has now been shown that the entire area of the Outer Banks is being pushed by the ocean closer and closer toward the mainland shore.

We'll go back to the area someday and spend more time there.  There's lots to see and do.

Posted by Ross at May 15, 2005 11:36 PM