Ocracoke Info Request

Planning for a multi day paddle from Ocracoke Is to Portsmouth Is on the Outerbanks, NC. Anone with any tips on the area ? Looking at the first week in May.

check the tide tables carefully …
camping on Portsmouth Island can be a really nice experience. note that there’s no place to camp on the bay side and on the ocean side, the dunes rise abruptly from the beach offering few flat enough spots here and there which end up being above the high tide mark.

the problem arises when you set up your tent and find the water coming in your front door at 2 in the morning. be exacting when you figure the high tide level and account for moon phases and wind direction which will bring the tide in/higher than you might expect.

the hurricane brought in considerable sand to the inlet and picking your way across to portsmouth from ockracoke without having to get out of your boat and drag it can be very tough at low tide. forget the straight across route … it’s not gonna happen.

the current is not particularly strong through the inlet at all but max flow … check your rule of 12ths.

now go and have a great time.

If the weather is wet and warm be prepared for bugs.

oh yes, the bugs …
the salt marsh mosquitoes and no-see-ums on Portsmouth are like nowhere else on earth. we’re talking BAD. hope for a breezy evening.

Hey Dan
Nelson and I paddled over to Shackleford two summers ago. It was some days after a hurricane had hit so there were big freshwater puddles. It was like a Hitchcock movie. We didn’t have any repellent with us so we ran back to our boats and paddled the hell outta there.

Ocracoke Info Request
I had been told by someone on another board to try the oceanside for a landing. They said there was a small sand bard that tended to lessen the breakers a bit. As to the bugs… well maybe I’ll be able to make some money on this. Everyone always kids me about my gear so maybe I’ll rent out the BENS. lol.


sandbar …
yes, there is/was a sandbar on the ocean side but its presence is unreliable due to storm impact on the coast. when present, the bar does break the waves and can make landing easier if you don’t like surf.

definitely bring the “Bens”. i assume you’ll want to take a trip into the community that was left behind when everyone left the island years ago. access is on the inlet. the bugs in here make the bugs on the ocean side look like pimples on an elephant.

Are the bugs on the island…
really bad all year round, or do they go dormant for any length of time?

Like, if I go in March or early April, what will the SPSIS (skeeters per square inch of skin) be; one or two, a butt-load, or fur-ish?

Don’t Know About Ocracoke
but on Shackleford Banks a little ways down the coast the bug level is dependent on the weather. Warm and wet = buggy.

bugs vs. time of year …
in my experience, the only time of year the place has ‘fewer’ bugs is january and part of february if the temperature manages to get down to the high 30’s°-low 40’s°. if it warms up for a few days though, they’re back in numbers.

the rest of the year, they are highly abundant. the ocean has a mitigating effect on the temperature in that environment … it’s warmer than inland in winter and cooler than inland in summer. thus, the blood sucking beasts are there virtually all year round.