Now in to our third week as temporary residents and volunteer workers at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Alayne and I are beginning to adjust to this new lifestyle. Unlike our recent three and half month cross country adventure, where we were seeing new sights and places almost everyday, we are now stationary for few months.
The campsite the refuge has supplied could not be situated better, at the very southern end of Nags Head just inside the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The only thing separating us and the ocean are large dunes directly behind the site. The site itself has been recently redone with new concrete and utilities, and we only have two neighbors with plenty of elbow room. Being inside the National Seashore boundaries “our” beach is rarely occupied by anyone else for at least a half mile in either direction allowing for peace and quite any time of the day. There is no bath house so we have had to adjust by creating an outdoor shower (a hose with a shower nozzle) and we sometimes have to use the facilities at the day use area a mile away.
So far our Volunteer duties have been varied. Originally we thought we would only be staffing the visitor center, but we have also assisted canoe tours, gone bird banding with biologists, trail and landscape maintence, and soon will be sitting on sea turtle watches to ensure the newly hatched sea turtles make their way ocean unscathed. We both have appreciated the variety. In addition, the refuge has given us shirts, hats and the use of a GOV (government vehicle) for our on duty hours. We look very official.
Living on a barrier island in a small RV can make for exciting moments when the weather kicks up. So far we have found ourselves out on a boat returning from bird banding in a gale, and retrieving our screen tent from the dunes while lighting was striking just a few hundred yards away. Living in this place in a rather flimsy shelter that sways in the wind has heightened our weather awareness and at times makes us feel rather vulnerable.
We are learning new things daily from fishing techniques to the area history. Since we are working on a wildlife refuge the opportunities to learn about birds, animals and sea life has been tremendous. I will be posting more in the future about these.