The sea birds have the watch. I'm not sure of the precise location where I shot this photo, but it was on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I enjoy the Outer Banks because, like the Florida Keys, they extend miles into the ocean. The distance, over water, between the mainland and the Hatteras Light is about 25 miles. That's roughly half the distance between the coast of Florida and Grand Bahama Island, the closest island in the Bahama chain to the U.S.
About 70 miles of the Outer Banks is preserved as the Hatteras National Seashore. And, of course, as are most ocean locations, the Outer Banks (abbreviated OBX) is a favorite tourist destination. One of the endearing things about OBX is that it has not been turned into a cramped, congested, tourist trap. There are numerous small, family-owned motel and efficiency apartment accommodations and a few of the larger chain motels. But, there is a plethora of cottages and beach houses ranging from one or two bedroom modest dwellings to larger 4, 5 and 6 bedroom homes designed to accommodate larger families and family groups. As of my last visit, no huge, glitzy mega monster condos and luxury hotels have appeared. It would be my guess that this is by design to maintain the family atmosphere of the Outer Banks. There is also a healthy year round population supported by tourism, retail, construction/renovation and commercial fishing.
Like any coastal region, one must be aware of Mother Nature. She can whip up some very destructive storms and hurricanes. These weather events are certainly not uncommon to those who live on the OBX year round. The recent Super Storm, Sandy brushed the islands and created some havoc, but last year's Hurricane Irene dealt a much more direct blow and considerable damage. However, I still find OBX a perfect place to just go to sit on the beach during all four seasons and help these sea birds . . . just watch.