I cannot believe that my youngest child is 19, but that's the reality. It seems like he should be Autumn's age, and she won't even be three until November.
We celebrated by going to Ocracoke for dinner at Jimmy's Seafood Buffet. The buffet was just mediocre, but the trip was a blast. On the ferry going over, there were very few cars, so we had lots of room to spread out and enjoy the ambiance. My experience with ferries is limited to the Jamestown-Scotland ferry in Tidewater. That one a.) doesn't cross deep water, and b.) doesn't have waves. The Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry crosses the mouth of Hatteras inlet, and even on a relatively calm day like yesterday, the swell is enough to toss you about.
It was in the midst of this swell, when most of us were leaning over the port rail looking at the waves breaking across the mouth of the inlet, that we noticed Brent's face. It was green. Oh dear. This did not stop him from slamming back a mortal ton of crab legs at dinner, but it did make him apprehensive about the trip home. We started calling him Chum Bucket. Fortunately for him, the trip back was quieter, from a wave standpoint.
Logistically it was a little difficult because we didn't know that the ferries start running on the hour after nine p.m. We got to the ferry slip in time to make the nine p.m. ferry, but the line of cars was too long, and we were five cars back when they stopped loading. Woe is us. We sat there until ten, listening to Arlo Guthrie on Brent's ipod. The upside of this is that Brent got to digest his dinner, and it stayed put on the trip. The other upside was that we had a night crossing, which was amazingly different from the day. I stood at the side and tried to figure out the buoy lights, while Chip and Guy debated how deep the crossing channel is.
Not very, is the answer. Guy was hoping it was 100 feet deep, and was quite disappointed to learn that it's only about twenty. I was a little freaked out about it, actually, because the ferry channel threads between sand bars. On one of them, on the trip out, someone had anchored a boat, and people were fishing and sitting on the sand -- and it was about fifteen yards away. I don't think the ferries ever run aground, but it still weirded me out. NCDOT has to dredge the channel, and the channel out into the ocean from Pamlico Sound, several times a season and after every storm.
And by the way, this is one of my favorite photos from last night's trip. (These we took with Hank's phone, and they're smaller than the camera ones.) In it we have Sarah, mostly hidden, Jeff, Brent, Suzanne, Chip, and me, watching the ocean go by.