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.

Perfect Weather Creates Perfect Opportunity to Explore Outer Banks

Sunny weather and a beautiful sunset over Kitty Hawk Bay.

Sunny weather and a beautiful sunset over Kitty Hawk Bay.

It looks as though the weather gods are going be blessing the Outer Banks with some beautiful sunny days and mild temperatures for the next week. This is certainly the time to get out and enjoy some beautiful fall days.

There is so much to do, that we can’t list everything, but here are some suggestions.

Hop in a kayak

The biggest complaint about kayaking on the sound, or any open water, is the wind. All the forecasts that we have seen for the next few days call for light winds, making for idea conditions to paddle around the sounds.

Take a Hike

We know that hiking on the Outer Banks may not be the first thought when coming for a visit, but there is much more to the area than many people realize. There are four maritime forests preserves on the Outer Banks—Currituck Estuarine Reserve, Kitty Hawk Woods, Nags Head Woods and Buxton Woods. All of them offer a very different side of the area that is worth knowing. Or head over to Alligator River on the mainland for a very different experience.

Climb a Lighthouse

Best bet in this case would be the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla. No reservations are needed to climb it, but check in with the National Park Service on the status of Cape Hatteras Light and Bodie Island Light as well. The view from the top is always spectacular, but when there is not a cloud in the sky, the view goes to a whole new level.

Take a few minutes to check out the Sunset

Relax…breathe deeply and take 10 minutes to do nothing but watch the sunset over anyone of our sounds. It will be 10 minutes very well spent.

Take a Walk on the Beach

It sounds cliched, but there is nothing quite like walking on the beach on a perfect autumn day. It’s something the is good for all the senses and is particularly good for the soul. Just about any beach will do. And make it a long walk.

Anytime of the year is a great time to visit the Outer Banks. Check out our listings at Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates.

Daniel Pullen Named 2018 People’s Choice Artist

A Daniel Pullen image showing surfers at sunrise.
A Daniel Pullen image showing surfers at sunrise.

Pullen’s Creativity Takes Top Award for the Year

Daniel Pullen was just named the Outer Banks 2018 People’s Choice artist and it feels good to know that sometimes the good guys really do win.

Daniel, who’s a Hatteras native, is an extraordinarily talented photographer. In a place that with considerable justification, views its wedding photographers as some of the best anywhere, Daniel, working with his wife, Kate, really stands out.

But for the real genius of his photography, check out Daniel Pullen Photography.

The scope of images he captures is astonishing. Yet beyond that it is the style and artistry of his work that makes him so compelling.

Before he was a wedding photographer, Daniel was fascinated by capturing the essence of surfing and it was in his surfing images that the Outer Banks community first became aware of his talent.

His surf photography alone could not support him, which is why he turned to wedding photography. When he did, though, he refused to compromise on creativity or artistry.

However, even as he as built his reputation as a wedding photographer, his ability to isolate a moment in time to tell the story of a surfer on an ideal break, or at that perfect moment as the sunrises and the waves are crisp and even has grown.

As he has gained confidence in what he wants to do with photography, his creativity has expanded and become profound at times. The photographs he published following a full moon over Cape Hatteras Lighthouse are iconic and may be the best that have been done.

He has not limited himself to just capturing images of moments in time, whether on the water or during a full moon. Pullen’s images of the power of hurricane’s that have wreaked havoc on Hatteras Island perfectly recreate the power and destruction of the storms.

Here’s the topper to the story—Daniel is a heck of a nice guy. A little bit shy, soft-spoken, but certainly confident when the has a camera in his hand.

New Island Forms off Cape Hatteras Point

Shelly Island, a new island that has formed off the Point at Cape Hatteras.
Shelly Island, a new island that has formed off the Point at Cape Hatteras. Photo Virginian Pilot.

Barrier islands are pretty dynamic places and today’s evidence of that is Shelly Island, an islet that has formed just off the Cape Hatteras Point.

At this time the island is at most a mile long and varies in width, although all of that is constantly changing. Reports put the new land about 50 yards offshore with a very fast moving channel separating the Outer Banks from the island.

How Shelly Island Formed

What has happened is rare but not unheard of.

The amount of sand that moves past the Outer Banks may be the largest in the world. The shoreline retreats as it loses sand, but the sand generally comes to rest, usually farther south where a beach may widen or accrete.

The Point juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, breaking up the north to south movement of sand. Usually the sand falls to the ocean bottom forming shoals and sandbars, but if conditions are right, enough sand could gather in one place and form an island.

It’s anyone’s guess how long Shelly Island will be there. It may become a permanent or semi-permanent part of the map or a powerful nor’easter might come along and take it out in a day.

Getting to the island is not easy. There have been reports of 5’ sharks and large stingrays  in the channel. National Park Service officials have issued warnings about trying to swim or walk across the channel.

According to visitors to the island, the effort is worth it. Seashell collectors report great shelling and fishermen have been heading out to the island hoping to get a bit farther into the waters of the Atlantic.

The story behind the name? According to the tales that have been told, a grandmother took her son to the island and he named it Shelly Island because of all the shells they found.

Dog Friendly Rules for Enjoying OBX Beaches

Along with being a family-friendly place the Outer Banks is also dog-friendly.

For our visitors Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates offers a great selection of pet friendly homes, and for visitors and residents Outer Banks beaches and towns offer plenty of opportunity to take four-legged family members to the beach.

There are some restrictions and it’s important to know what they are. The rules also change from town to town so know your location.

There are amendments from time to time the rules governing when dogs are allowed on our beaches. As an example, the town of Kill Devil Hills just added two months when dogs are allowed on the beach. The only restrictions at this point in time in Kill Devil Hills are the cannot be on the beach during the daytime during the summer.

Here’s a quick rundown of the local rules when it come to dogs on our beaches.

Cape Hatteras Seashore

Dogs are allowed on the beach year-round as long as they are restrained by a leash of 6 feet or less. They are restricted from designated swim beaches such as Coquina Beach and buildings.

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

Dogs are allowed on the beach year-round as long as they are restrained by a leash of 6 feet or less. Pets must not disturb wildlife and must be under the physical control of the owner at all times.

Nags Head

Dogs must be on a leash, but there are no other restrictions.

Kill Devil Hills

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day no dogs are allowed on the beach between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Dogs are permitted on the beach at all other times of the year, but they must be on a leash.

Kitty Hawk

During the summer, from the Friday before Memorial Day until the day after Labor Day dogs can be on the beach beach. Between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. they must be on a leash that is no longer than 6’. At all other times, dogs can be off the leash but must be within 30’ of the owner and the owner must have a leash with them.

Southern Shores

Southern Shores has a leash ordinance and dogs must be on a leash at all times. From May 15 to Sept. 15 dogs are not permitted on the beach between 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m.


Dogs are allowed on the beach and they can be unleashed, but owners are responsible for their pet’s actions. In the town park and public areas dogs must be leashed.


Dogs are allowed on the beach year round but must be on a leash at all times.

Time to Climb-NPS Opens Outer Banks Lighthouses

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

Now that the weather is getting better, it’s time to think about the view from the top—in this case the top of Outer Banks lighthouses. The two lighthouses that are part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore are ready for climbing.

Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras Lighthouses are extraordinary structures; Cape Hatteras in Buxton, opened in 1870 is 193’ tall and is the tallest brick lighthouse on the East Coast. Forty-three miles north is its close cousin, Bodie Island Lighthouse. Dedicated in 1872 and 170’, it was patterned after the Hatteras Lighthouse using many leftover materials with the same contractor building it.

The view from both lighthouses is absolutely breathtaking. The world seems to fall away, running out to distant horizons. At the foot of Hatteras Lighthouse is Buxton Woods, running off to the south.

Bodie Island Lighthouse rises above the marsh and wetlands of South Nags Head. Looking south and east Oregon Inlet is clearly visible.

The climb to the top can be somewhat strenuous—narrow, twisting metal stairs and very little ventilation can get things pretty warm, especially in the summer. But whatever the effort—that view from the top makes the journey with while.

Lighthouses are available for climbing from 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. There is a fee, age, weight and height requirements so check with the National Park Service for more information.

National Park Service Turns 100

Bodie Island Lighthouse.
Bodie Island Lighthouse.

2016 is the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service and with the huge presence the NPS has on the Outer Banks there are some a few things coming up that might be worth checking out.

There are three national parks on the Outer Banks—Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Wright Brothers Memorial and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island. All three are administered as the Outer Banks Group from offices at Fort Raleigh.

Officially established in 1953, over 2.4 million visitors were counted last year. The park extends from the west side of South Nags Head to Ocracoke Island and includes Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Bodie Island Lighthouse.

The Wright Brothers Memorial is iconic to the Outer Banks. Perched atop Kill Devil Hill, the monument is a permanent reminder that powered flight was first achieved here. The memorial was authorized in 1927 and became a part of the NPS in 1953.

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site seems to be just about where the original Roanoke Island Lost Colony was situated. It’s also the home of the Lost Colony Outdoor Drama, the longest running outdoor drama in North America, now in its 78th season.

Some Spring Time Events:

Naturalization Ceremony  April 16 at 3 p.m., Wright Brothers National Memorial. United States Customs and Immigration Service will hold a citizenship ceremony. The agency has an agreement with the Park Service to hold these ceremonies where new citizens “learn about and reflect on American identity and the responsibilities of citizenship.”

First Colony Foundation Archeological Dig: “Project Dogwood” – April 17- 23, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. The First Colony Foundation is planning an archaeological dig in honor of the Centennial and the 75th anniversary of the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.

The Lost Colony Drama Centennial Dedication – May 27, the Lost Colony Amphitheater. The Roanoke Island Historical Association will dedicate the season on opening night of The Lost Colony Drama to the National Park Service and kick off several activities. Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates is a proud sponsor of the Lost Colony.