Cold Stunned Sea Turtles Find Help in OBX


Green sea turtles rehabilitating from cold shock at Roanoke Island Aquarium. Photo K. Wilkins Photography

Every once in a while an event comes along and it’s a reminder of how amazing the people who live on the Outer Banks are. That’s the case with a recent spate of cold stunned sea turtles.

Over 340 turtles have been rescued from the beaches of Hatteras Island over the past week. Mostly green turtles, with a few Kemps Ridleys and loggerhead in the mix, it is for North Carolina an unprecedented event.

According to experts in the field, the most likely cause was an abnormally warm December with plummeting temperatures earlier this week.

The turtles will die unless they are rehabilitated and that’s where the can-do and volunteer spirit of the Outer Banks has come in to play.

Volunteers with N.E.S.T. (Network for Endangered Sea Turtles) and National Park Service employees have been combing the beach looking for turtles.

The turtles are taken to Cape Hatteras Secondary School, and then transported to the STAR Center at the Roanoke Island Aquarium. The STAR Center is a sea turtle rehab facility.

No one has ever seen anything like this and every where you look at the center, buckets and bins are filled with cold stunned turtles regaining their strength. Volunteers are constantly walking among the turtles, cleaning the water, feeding them and making sure they are recovering.

One of the most amazing facts is that only six have been lost so far.

The first batch of 85 has already been sent to Florida to be released in warm waters. Even that took a huge cooperative effort, from Fish and Wildlife supplying a truck for transportation to the permits that are required from every state along the route. According to the folks at the Aquarium the cooperation from all agencies has been absolutely outstanding.

The next batch of 85 turtles should be at the Fort Macon, NC Coast Guard Station by Monday. The Coast Guard has agreed to take the turtles to the Gulf Stream to release them.

A Kitty Hawk Kites Christmas Wish

Headline from Wilmington, NC paper last time there was an Outer Banks white Christmas. Source, National Weather Service.

Headline from Wilmington, NC paper last time there was an Outer Banks white Christmas. Source, National Weather Service.

We don’t get white Christmases very often on the Outer Banks. In fact, they’re almost as rare as a confirmed sighting of Santa Claus coming down a chimney. We checked the records and the last time there was snow at Christmas around here was 1989, and that was a record breaking storm that brought with it single digit temperatures.

That seems to be more than a once in a lifetime event. After a an evening of research we finally found a reference that said the last time before the 1989 storm that there was a white Outer Bank Christmas was 1874. Figuring one white Christmas every 115 years, we’ll gas up the snow plows in the year 2104.

Nonetheless, the spirit of Christmas if very much alive and well on the Outer Banks. Our Kitty Hawk Kites stores are always stocked full of lots of fun stuff for kids, and a lot of what makes the holidays so special is watching the joy on a child’s face when a special gift is opened.

Of course it’s more than that, because what the kids represent is family, tradition and the love that binds generations together. Within that joy a child feels in getting a special gift is a lesson about the joy of giving, for mirrored in the child’s delight are the emotions the parents feel in giving that gift. It’s not a lesson an eight year old would know, it is one that an 18 year old will remember.

The Outer Banks at Christmas is a remarkable place—a place where family, tradition and a wonderful community spirit come together to create the best of lasting memories.

It is with that hope that all of your Christmas memories for this year and every year will be the best that the Kitty Hawk Kites family of employees wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Kayaking Outer Banks-All Season Beauty


Enjoying a Currituck Sound sunset by kayak.

The northeast wind off the ocean is a chilly reminder that winter is coming. Out on the sounds, the duck, geese and swans are carpeting the water, migrating to the bays and estuaries in a cycle of life that as constant as the change of the seasons.

Yet even this time of the year, as the days get shorter and the the Outer Banks goes back to its small town roots, there are still some great opportunities to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.

One of the best ways to explore the natural world of the Outer Banks is by kayak, and the fall and winter are great times to get on the water. There are a number of reasons for that.

Wind is the bane of many kayakers existence, and yes there usually a northeast wind at this time of the year, but the waters of Outer Banks sounds are to the west and are well-protected from the wind.

Because there are so few visitors at this time of the year, renting kayaks at almost any time should not be a problem.

Bugs are the great irritant of summer kayaking—yes, bug repellant does work, but it is nice to be on the water without a swarm of insects overhead.

Guided tours are still offered at this time of the year, but availability is very restricted so be sure to call ahead if plans include a guided tour. But for more experienced kayakers, the offseason is a golden opportunity to get on the water.

We’re including a list of kayak put-in sites with a couple of notes about some of the sites. We may have missed a few sites, but this is a good starting point.


Whalehead Club

Offers a wonderful and different view of the storied art nouveau mansion. Paddling north leads to classic estuarine waters.


Duck town boardwalk

There are a number of docks designed for easy kayak access.

Southern Shores

No public put-in. However, civic associations maintain docks and parks along the Currituck Sound.

Kitty Hawk

Dock of the Bay, Bob Perry Rd.

A great access point to Kitty Hawk Bay and Albemarle Sound. Located on a wide creek. Great fishing too.

Sandy Run Park, The Woods Road

Beautiful setting. A little difficult to get out of the pond.

Kill Devil Hills

Dock Street boat ramp Between W. Durham and Avalon Dr.,

Access immediately to the sound.

Second Bridge leading to Colington, Colington Road

Protected area leading to wide expanse of Kitty Hawk Bay.

Nags Head

Jockey’s Ridge State Park/Soundside Road

A little more remote and harder to find, but interesting paddle.

Oregon Inlet Fishing Center

Almost at the foot of Bonner Bridge


Bridge leading to Roanoke Island Festival Park

Very protected setting. A great paddle around Ice Plant Island that is the home of Roanoke Island Festival Park.

Washington Baum Bridge Boat Ramp

Across from Pirate’s Cove entrance. Maintained by NC Fish & Wildlife

Hatteras Island

New Inlet

Nature abounds. A real favorite. Part of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.


Milltail Creek, Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

One of the most popular kayak paddles around and for good reason. Beautiful and relatively protected.

Most NC Fish & Wildlife ramps have provisions for kayaks.

Where’s Santa on the Outer Banks?

Santa Claus greeting a family at Kitty Hawk Kites.

Santa Claus greeting a family at Kitty Hawk Kites.

Kitty Hawk Kites in Nags Head may be the only place anywhere where kids get to greet Santa Claus sitting under a hang glider.

There could not have been two better days for Santa’s annual visit to the Kitty Hawk Kites store at Jockey’s Ridge Crossing. Word must have gotten our quickly about his location because the line formed early and stayed long throughout the Friday and Saturday visit

Of course Kitty Hawk Kites is not the only location St. Nick be stopping by. In fact, we have it on good authority that the “fat jolly old elf” may not be quite so fat after a holiday season running from Duck to Hatteras. He’ll still be jolly of course, but Mrs. Claus tells us she expects him to be at least 20 pounds lighter come December 26.

It’s all part of what makes the Outer Banks such a wonderful place for families to live or visit. When Santa Clause comes to town around here, he takes the time to greet each child, and find out what is truly on their Christmas list.

For moms and dads wondering where Santa is scheduled this holiday season, here’s our Outer Banks list of upcoming Santa Claus appearances (hopefully we didn’t miss any!):

Festival of the Trees

Dec. 3-5

Held annually at the Outer Banks Brewing Station, the Festival of the Trees is one of the most popular parts of Outer Banks life. This year Santa will be making his appearance between 6-9p.m. on Thursday, the first evening of the show.

Manteo Christmas Celebrations

Dec. 4-5

The big event Friday evening is the tree lighting at the old Dare County Courthouse, highlighted by the lighting of the Christmas tree and Santa’s appearance. The parade Saturday morning is a wonderful example of small town life at its best with another appearance from Santa.

Duck Yuletide Celebration

Dec. 5

Santa rides into town in a fire truck, usually right around 4:30, but plan on spending the afternoon on the Duck Village Green. Live music, a crab pot Christmas tree and Carolers.

Christmas with Santa

Dec. 5

A wonderful children’s play filled with humor and a message. Presented by Bright Star Touring Theatre based in Asheville, tickets are only $5 and the play is a great introduction to live theater for kids. Indoor Theater, Roanoke Island Festival Park. Show begins at 7:00 p.m.

Breakfast with Santa

Dec. 6

A great concept—a delicious buffet breakfast at Pamlico Jack’s restaurant, followed by some one-on-one time with the big man himself! Proceeds are matched by Village Realty and go to the Dare County Angel Tree Fund. 9:00 a.m – 1p.m.

Hatteras Village Christmas Parade

Dec. 12

If there is one parade that is must see on the Outer Banks, this is it. A wonderful sense of  community, floats, motorcycles, Coast Guard, bands and of course—Santa Claus.

Christmas Past at Island Farm

DEC 12, 2015

St. Nicholas arrives at the Island Farm by an ox-drawn wagon, giving wagon rides around the farm’s trails from 10am-12pm. There is also a 2:00 p.m. reading of “The Night Before Christmas.” 10am – 4pm.

Winterlights Dinner With Santa

Dec. 19

The Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island give kids a last chance to get their Christmas wish list to the man in the red suit. Winter lights is a million light spectacular, turning the Elizabethan Gardens into a nighttime wonderland. Promises to be a magical evening.

10th Annual Outer Banks Marathon Weekend

Runners passing the Wright Brothers Monument. Photo, Outer Banks Sporting Events

Runners passing the Wright Brothers Monument. Photo, Outer Banks Sporting Events

The big Outer Banks news for this coming weekend is the 10th Annual Outer Banks Marathon.

Hard to imagine that it’s only been 10 years since the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau helped organize a marathon as a fundraiser for the Dare Education Foundation; what began as a one day event has blossomed into a weekend long festival of running and fitness.

It’s still focusses on fundraising—organized by Outer Banks Sporting Events, 100 % of the net proceeds from the weekend are donated to the Outer Banks Community Foundation and the Dare Education Foundation.

There are so many great things about the event that it’s hard to know where to start. It is very family oriented. The Marathon is on Sunday but the Saturday happenings are all centered on family fun events. There’s a fun run, a diaper dash as well as shorter 8K and 5k races.

Of course Sunday is the big event—the Outer Banks Marathon, although it is not the only race of the day. In addition to the 26.2 mile run there is the Southern Fried Half Marathon and the Southern 6 which is a 10K race.

The Marathon is the centerpiece of the weekend. One of the most beautiful races around, it starts under the maritime forest canopy of Kitty Hawk Woods and ends in the postcard beauty of downtown Manteo. A relatively flat course, there are a few small hills and the heartbreak of the Washington Baum Bridge just before Manteo, it has become a favorite of many runners.

Don’t forget to grab a quick burst of energy at the Kitty Hawk Kites mile marker station!

Weekend Schedule


12PM – 7PM Race EXPO & Packet Pick-Up

Dare County Youth Center, Kill Devil Hills

Runner Expo Happenings!


Newton Run Coach Butch Luke

Friday at 4 PM and Saturday at 12:30 PM, room B

Butch will have tips and techniques on proper tuning form. Visit Butch at Room B at the Expo!

Tom Leddy

11:00 AM, room B  Room B at the Expo!

Tom Leddy is the author of the book Southern Fried Running. Since 2006, Tom has completed 6 marathons and 46 half marathons in 35 US States and 3 countries and also on 2 continents.


No race day registration unless otherwise noted

9AM – 6PM Race EXPO & Packet Pick-up

Dare County Youth Center – 602 Mustain Ave., Kill Devil Hills


Outer Banks 8K

TIME 7:30

First Flight High School

Buccaneer 5K –

9:30 AM

First Flight High School track

9:00 AM – Pirate Family Festival Begins!

First Flight High School track

11:15 AM  Outer Banks Fun Run,

Morning registration is available at the registration tent.

First Flight High School track

11:45 AM –  Diaper Dash

Pasta Party

5 -6 PM and 6-7 PM

Beachside Bistro at the Sea Ranch Resort

Tickets online – or at the registration table at the Expo


The TowneBank Southern Fried Half Marathon

7:00 AM

E. Baltic Street at Wrightsville Avenue, Nags Head

The TowneBank Outer Banks Marathon

7:20 AM

The Woods Road, Kitty Hawk

Southern 6


Tanger Outlet Center

7100 South Croatan Hwy, Nags Head 27959