50th Anniversary of Iconic Apollo Photo of Outer Banks

The Outer Banks as seen from Apollo 9 120 miles above the earth.
The Outer Banks as seen from Apollo 9 120 miles above the earth.

March 3, 1969, 120 miles above the earth, Apollo 9 circled the globe, its primary mission was to test systems for the upcoming moon landing scheduled for Apollo 11. One of those tests was the first two person space walk ever attempted.

But as the spacecraft circled above the Outer Banks the crew snapped a picture that is one of the most iconic images of coastal North Carolina ever captured.

March 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of that amazing photo.

Remarkable in its clarity, the inlets of the stand out in stark detail. The fragility of these barrier island is plain to see. From an altitude of 120 miles they look like thin ribbons of sand holding back the Atlantic Ocean.

The sharp elbows of Cape Hatteras and Cape Fear show plumes of silt marking the deadly currents that create some of the most deadly waters in the world.

The Outer Banks was a very different place at that time. The population of Dare County was somewhere around 5500 and although it was a popular tourist destination, it had not yet been discovered by the millions of visitors who arrive every year.

Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates was one year old and our founder, Joe Lamb and his wife, Ann, were just beginning the legacy of outstanding service and community involvement that are hallmarks of our company.

What is unmistakable though, and is still true today, is the beauty of these barrier island. The contrast between the sandy, shallow waters of the sound and the deeper colors of the ocean waters are still very much a part of life on the Outer Banks. The interplay of forces that have created these strips of sand, are the very forces that create its beauty—the sun setting over any of the sounds, the soothing rhythm of ocean waves crashing on the beach.

There is magic here, and we invite you to enjoy it with us.