Real Fear - 2 FEB 2008

I woke up this morning and found my Southern Manson with the Sears pre-fab extension was located 50 yards from the waters edge.
The area, called Swan Quarter National Wildlife Refuge, is part of the Pamlico Sound, an inlet of water separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a chain of islands. After snapping a few shots, Tinky Winky and I head for the Ferry.
The ferry ride turned out to take over three hours, burning much desired daylight hours.
After photographing the Ocrocoke Lighthouse, I head for the other side of the island to take another shorter ferry ride to Hatteras Island which is connected by bridge to Bodie Island which has a bridge to Roanoke Island which has a bridge to the main land (no more ferries). Little did I know this short 12 mile trip to the next ferry landing, would be the most fearful adventure I have ever taken!
Ocracoke Light
   
A third of the way there, I started seeing detour signs which clearly stated you had to be driving a 4x4 in order to continue. No problem, I thought; my little Ford Focus is a 4x4…only you don’t shift it into 4x4, it is suppose to happen automatically when needed...guess, I'll put it to the test. After more huge orange signs warning 4x4 only, the road takes a sharp right turn, into the sand dunes and onto the beach! OH MY GOD…I’m driving through beach sand. It's thick, soft and feels like quick sand, so, I head for the waters edge where the sand has some firmness. I'm driving next to the surf, the ocean waves are washing up within a few feet of my tires, this detour seems to go on and on, I'm afraid of a wave coming too close, of getting caught in the soft sand, there's no signs, all I can do is keep driving...I'm chanting, “Spirit will take care of me, Spirit will take care of me…” and finally I see some more orange signs and figure this is where I exit…I turn back into the soft sand, the thickest, softest, sand I've ever see, my wheels are barely turning, I'm having trouble steering, I'm trying to follow other tire tracks and I see a barrier saying “Do Not Enter”. But I can’t stop or turn around in foot high soft sand so I just keep following the tracks which go between the barriers where one post was removed. On the other side I hit the road again but not at the end of the road construction…I’m now in the middle of it with the work crew in front of me across this unfinished bridge.
I stop and walk across the bridge to ask the road crew if I can drive across to the ferry. They nod yes and point in the direction I want to go.
Later I realized, they most likely did not speak English, just heard the word ferry and nodded.  I drive across this bridge with 4” vertical gaps and have to stop while semi truck beds are being unloaded.
    Cape Hatteras         /       Bodie Island Light
     
The ferries took so long I only covered a third of the distance I want to see, but at least I got to photograph three different Light Houses.