There is a more update (March 2014) version of this article at this link.
None one who lives at the beach is surprised when they hear that some sand has moved. It happens on the beach. Even some roads here get sand covered. We plow sand here at the beach like folks plow snow up North.
Still the story of the Point at Emerald Isle is an amazing story even to those of us accustomed to sand moving.
In late October, 2007, a little over a year after we moved here to the Southern Outer Banks, I decided that I would get a beach driving permit. It did not take long to get one from the folks in Emerald Isle. Right after we got it we headed down Coast Guard Road to the Point area which as a wintertime beach access for vehicles.
We were surprised with what we saw, but first I will give you some background information on the Point.
I have a little direct history myself with the Point. I first visited it in the summer of 1969 as a college student. My Uncle Austin and I drove down Bogue Banks from Morehead City. Most of our drive was along the beaches since there were no roads on the Western end of the Point.
We had a great day fishing there and it is one of the memories that I cherish. I can still remember seeing Bear Island in the distance. Some place in my photo collection there is a picture of me standing on the beach that day.
In our first year as area residents we watched as the Point steadily got smaller. That first drive down to the Point vehicle gave us a look shock. It was measurably smaller than we remembered from a visit just a few weeks earlier. There about a dozen truck on the Point that first visit and we decided it was too crowed for any fun so we decided to delay our first beach driving experience.
The bigger surprise was to come a couple of weeks later. When we stopped at the ramp, we found that all of the Point was underwater as you can see from this November 4, 2007 photo.
Even a couple of years later as you can tell from this shot, the ramp to the Point was useless. Ten months later, things really began to change. You can see from this picture that a new and bigger Point was emerging from the waters.
The sand at the Point has continue to accumulate. Even after Hurricane Sandy the Point added more sand.
The changes have been dramatic even since I created this flash based map with pictures. If you compare that August 2001 map with this one which I created on May 21, 2013, you will find that the land bridge which I have used as the photo for this post did not even exist 21 months ago.
The blue line is my track on my beach hike. Google's map shows me walking on water, but that is not the case. This particular hike started over an hour before high tide so I had plenty of sand and there would have been acres more at low tide.
The red line on the map runs from the farthest western spot along the surf on the Point to the vehicle ramps which looked out over nothing but water in November of 2007.
The red line is 1748 feet long. The ocean has added that much sand in less than six years.
The beach that used to run along the North side of Bird Island is now gone but there is plenty of sand in other places. You can find all the solitude you need on the northern end of the Point.
There are lots of pictures and more beach information in our recent 2013 Emerald Isle Travel Guide.