Welcome to Fast Facts - interesting tidbits of trivia about the Outer Banks. You'll read about Pirates, Wild Horses, ATV's, Golf, Birding and more.
Break out those 2 wheelers
Bicycling is quite popular here in the Outer Banks. There are bike lanes on Route 158 and stretches of Route 12 (the ocean road).
The Outer Banks are a series of barrier islands made up entirely of sand - undersea sand bars. These islands are without the keel of
rock that anchors most islands. Due to vegetation, the islands have stabilized and are suitable for habitation.
(Vacationers soaking up the sun, surf, and sand!).
Graveyard of the Atlantic
The waters off the shores of the Outer Banks are known as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" where over 500 ships have gone down.
Some of the most notable include: The Monitor
Built for the Union forces during the Civil War, the Monitor was one of the first ironclad warships. This ship and it's Confederate counterpart, the Virginia,
were the predecessors of the submarine. The Monitor and Virginia battled to a draw off the coast of Virginia in 1862. And on New Year's Eve in 1862,
the Monitor went down off Cape Hatteras during a storm. U-85
The first Nazi submarine destroyed during World War II by Americans was sunk off Bodie Island. Apparently, the Germans had a stranglehold on US
supply lines and shipping routes in the early stages of the war. U-85, a Type VIIb, German submarine went down after an attack by the USS Roper on
April 14, 1942.
There are small herds of true Spanish Mustangs, wild since the 1500's, roaming the Islands. As the islands became settled, the horses were
pressed into service for transportation, pulling fishing nets, and beach patrol with the U.S. Life Saving Service (predecessor of the Coast Guard).
The horse herds split north and south of Nags Head as the human population grew. Today, horses can be found in Currituck County (northern beaches)
and in Ocracoke (southern beaches) at the Pony Pens. These horses are wild and protected by law. Please obey all local laws pertaining to these animals.
Blackbeard the Pirate
Edward Teach also known as Blackbeard the Pirate lived, pirated, and died on the Outer Banks. Blackbeard was very
successful in his chosen occupation being a tall, intimidating man decorated with cutlasses and pistols. During combat,
his beard was braided with ribbons and he wore lit cannon fuses in his hair. Edward Teach died in hand-to-hand combat with
members of the Royal Navy at Ocracoke Inlet on November 22, 1718.
Birding on the Outer Banks
The Outer Banks are part of the "Atlantic flyway". Pea Island is renowned for its year round birding. Mid-November and December are
the best months to observe southward migrations. Some of the birds you may see include Peregrines, Glossy and White ibises, American Bitterns,
Black and Surf scoters, Northern Gannets, Double-crested Cormorants, Red-breasted Mergansers, gulls, terns, ...(a large and seemingly endless list here).
Sightings of rare birds occur frequently.
The US Lifesaving Service
The forerunner to the Coast Guard was funded by Congress in 1873 to establish 29 stations - all but 4 of these were to be located
on the North Carolina coast. The service was established to provide rescue operations when storms hit the coastal areas. These jobs
were definitely not for the faint of heart - service men died trying to rescue stranded sailors and travelers.
Golf Comes to the Outer Banks
And you thought that this was just a beach vacation spot! There are four 18 hole courses and one 9 hole 'executive' course
currently open with two more courses due to open for the 1995 summer season. Here's a brief overview of the courses: Duck Woods Country Club Southern Shores * 18 holes * Semi-private course * 14 holes parallel water Sea Scape Golf Resort Kitty Hawk * 18 holes * 6200-yard par 72 * Views of the ocean from many tee boxes Nags Head Golf Links Nags Head * 18 holes * 6000-yard par 70 * 18th hole called "one of the most beautiful holes on the East Coast" by Golf Digest Ocean Edge Golf Frisco * 9 holes * 1800-yard 'executive' course * Known as the "hole-in-one course" with 54 recorded. Goose Creek Golf and Country Club Grandy * 18 holes * 6200-yard part 72 * Tight course designed for enjoyment The Pointe Golf Club Powells Point * 18 holes * 6000-yard par 71 Holly Ridge Golf Harbinger * 9 holes * 1800-yard 'executive' course