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Trip Highlights: Clamming on the north side of the island; having a slow, leisurely breakfast on a secluded beach; simply messing around in your boat with no particular place to go and no hard time schedule.
Trip Rating: Intermediate to advanced.
Trip Duration: Four hours to all day-don't hurry; 8 miles.
Navigation Aids: USGS Maps NC00540, Ocracoke, and NC0586, Portsmouth, 1:24,000.
Tidal Information: No significant tidal influence.
Cautions: Bring plenty of sunscreen, insect repellent, and water. You will need all three.
Trip Planning: Fall and winter are the best times to paddle here. The weather is mild, the water temperature stays in the 60s, the rates are down, and so are the bugs. Summer is gorgeous, of course, but can be rather crowded and hot, with lots of biting flies, especially on the sound side.
Launch Site: The launch site is on the southeast end of the island at the end of NC-12, to the right of the Ocracoke Island Visitor Center. You can drop your boat at either side of the ramp before parking your vehicle.
Ocracoke PoniesThe wild ponies of Ocracoke have a questionable history. Some say they swam ashore from a Spanish shipwreck, others tell of English ships trying to lighten their load, casting them off to sink or swim ashore. Whichever tale is the truth, these sturdy little ponies have existed on the island for many years. Their number has dwindled over the years: Some were auctioned off and others died of disease. Once able to roam free, they are now penned in a large area off NC-12 about 6 miles southwest of the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry docks. There is a small parking area and a raised platform for visitors to view the remaining two dozen ponies. You may visit them year-round, but don't try to ride them or enter the pens. Although they may look mild-mannered, they are wild and will kick and bite if you get too close.
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