Horses and pirates and ferries, oh my!
Today was our final day for exploration and adventure. Several of our gang opted to spend the day around the beach house and pool. Tom, Brian and I decided to take a trip to Shackleford Banks. We drove to Beaufort and got in line for the express ferry to Shackleford. We had hoped to catch the 9:30, but it was full, so we waited around for the 10 o'clock.
The ferry ride took about 20 minutes and included narration by our captain. It was quite informative, and helped us better understand the Beaufort area and Shackleford Banks, along with its wild Spanish horses.
We arrived on the sound side of the island and after cooling off with a quick dip in the water, Tom and I started hiking across the island to the ocean side. Brian had gone ahead of us and when he spotted the horses, he sent us a text so we could find them more easily. After walking for a few minutes we found three wild horses. They were drinking from a reservoir and lazily milling around. They didn't seem to notice us so we walked a little closer and took some pictures.
Having seen the horses, the next item on our agenda was finding some cool shells. Up and down the beach, in and out of the waves, and through the tide pools...we ended up with a fairly large bag of shells. (I don't really know what I'm going to do with all of them, but each one had a uniqueness that I couldn't resist.) I found myself attracted to the pieces of shell with a beautiful pinkish-purple color, and ended up with enough for a pretty bowl-full by the end of our day trip.
Brian had brought his fishing pole along, and caught a Spanish Mackerel as soon as he dropped his line in. I spotted a small stingray in the shallow water before it darted away, and Brian later saw some flying fish as well. All in all, it was a lively, fascinating little trip. We were pretty exhausted from all the walking and the heat, so we welcomed the cool ferry ride back to the mainland.
Once back in Beaufort, we found some lunch at Finz Grill. We learned (from our ferry boat captain) that Beaufort was celebrating the 300th anniversary of the pirate Blackbeard's ship running aground off the coast of North Carolina, near Beaufort. The little seaside town was marking the occasion with "Pirate Days" and there were pirates and pirate paraphernalia all over town.
Back at the beach house, we enjoyed sharing our adventures with the others, and hearing about their days. We splashed around in the pool and again enjoyed just chatting and being together.
Since this was our last evening together, we decided that one more dinner out would be a special ending to our fantastic week. This was the first time all eight of us were together out for dinner, and it was a splendid time. We went to Snapperz Grill and Steam Bar, and enjoyed the great service, the delicious seafood bisque, other delectable entrees, and most of all...the company. The friendships we've formed over the past 35 years are some of the best we have.
Tomorrow, we part ways...until we meet again.