The trip to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse was without a shadow of a doubt my most favorite part of the entire vacation..
Harkers Island is a good drive from Emerald Isle, it took us almost an hour to get there. However, if you are staying in Emerald Isle, make the drive.. its worth every second.
We hoped out of the car and bought our ferry tickets. The children anxiously waited on the peer, having no idea what to expect, but so excited to see! All the ferry boats lined up and after a short wait we were boarded and ready to go.
Hudson and Ellijah LOVED the ferry boats. They were by no means fast but faster than expected. They giggled as the water sprayed in their faces when he sped up. Hudson climbed a little out of his seat and peered his little eyes over the edge of the boat. He pointed and shrieked with excitment when he saw the blinking beacon in the distance. "Mama! LOOK! The lighthouse!!!!!!!"
Sawyer was equally excited about the boat ride!
A few minutes into the boat ride he slowed the ferry down to a stop. He pointed to an island just beyond the boat, but Callie had already spotted it :)
This small island is known as Shakleford Banks. It was once connected to the island with the lighthouse, but hurricanes separated them. There, on the shores, were the beautiful wild Banker horses. Oh my goodness it was absolutely breathtaking! They were playing in the grass, grazing the marshland, and climbing in and out of the water! They were absolutely beautiful! It was all I could do not to cry as I watched my little girls eyes light up at the site of these beautiful horses! Something that most people don't get to see as a child, made her whole world light up.
Just a few moments later we arrived on a little doc beside the island where the lighthouse stood. We climbed on the long doc and walked a short distance to the museum, the tiny little house where the lighthouse keeper stays. Amazing, to think of someone being out there on that island all alone! He was a nice man, he told us that he only went to shore about two days a week on his day off to do grocery shopping!
We learned some very interesting things about the lighthouse. We learned that it had been rebuilt after the lights were disabled by the confederacy during the Civil war, in order to keep the Union from being able to take advantage of the lighthouse. It was built because the area around the island was known to be very dangerous, known as "Horrible Headland" because it was infamous for shipwrecks! We saw a map of the shipwrecks at Cape Lookout and were amazed at how many there were! We also learned that the lighthouses were painted differently to let sailors know where they were.. Lookout has the diamond shape paint. It was amazingly beautiful!
After we left the lighthouse.. we mountain people needed to cool off lol! We made our way back down the dock an onto the beach. I really believed at that moment I could just sit there and cry as I took in the beauty and isolation of the island. It seemed we were the only people for miles. It was so quiet, so peaceful, and serene. My children were playing in the water with the lighthouse in the background.. walking on the shores to find shells.. it was the most perfect moment that I could have ever imagined.
The water was so warm and pleasant! Now, Charles is somewhat of an animal person, ANY animal. While swimming, he picked up a jelly fish (yikes!) and was showing the children! Then he proceeded to pull little fish out of it, and a crab! Haha, not my cup of tea, but the kids thought it was the coolest thing ever. No, he didn't get stung... I have no idea how he did it!
We hoped on the ferry back to the island, and got to stop to see the Banker Horses once again, much to Callie's excitement! We also had the best Captain ever, on the way back to shore, he allowed each of the kiddos on the boat to have a turn to drive!
It was the greatest day! How blessed we were to be able to have such an adventure! It began to storm on our way home, so we spent the evening indoors. The storm gave way and the kiddos went on the beach to find crabs with Charles, none other :) They didn't catch any, but they got to see them, and were amazed! It was an amazing day!