Piling from a pier washed up on Southern Shores beach.
Here on the Outer Banks, Hurricane Sandy is more than a week gone, a second storm–this one a N’orEaster–ran up our coast and now that everything seems to have passed us, we can take a deep breath and figure we got off fairly easily, all things considered.
That’s not to say there weren’t effects, although honestly from the where we sit at the edge of the continent, the only reason the second storm made any headlines at all is because it came so close on the heels of Sandy.
The Beach Road district of Kitty Hawk is still recovering and it will probably be a few more days until the the road is completely opened again to traffic. And no matter what, a 200 yard stretch of the road just north of the Black Pelican at least two or three weeks away from being drivable again.
That particular stretch of beach sits on top of what is a ancient river bed. It’s one of the best surfing areas on the norther Outer Banks, but those same forces that make for an even break and good waves are the same ones that create stronger, bigger waves in a storm. 
It is odd looking at the effects–there is dune line with vegetation, damaged but clearly intact, and suddenly nothing but a flat beach for 200 yards with the sand pushed far to the west. There is only one house left standing along that stretch–Pelican Perch, a pink beach cottage that seems to stand vigil against the sea. It’s pilings are probably sunk deeper than any other cottage along the shoreline and it seems to have weathered this one well–although whether or not it will survive is more an issue of the septic system than the condition of the house.
There were other odd occurrences as well. 
Going north from Kitty Hawk, there was almost no damage to the beaches. The north end of Duck suffered some retreat, but nothing like Kitty Hawk. In Southern Shores there was almost no evidence that any storm had ravaged the beaches . . .  except for the debris that was everywhere.
It almost seems as though the Southern Shores beach became the depository for every bit of flotsam that Sandy scooped up. We’re not talking small pieces of debris here, either. Tree trunks are scattered along the beach, huge chunks of damaged fiber glass and what was perhaps most puzzling, what appeared to be the support structure to a pier or boardwalk.
What was clearly a piling for a pier–easy to identify with the barnacles running up the side, rested next to 8×8 support beams with the metal plates that fasten them together still intact. Makes you wonder what ocean currents were involved and where they came from.
For the most part, life is back to normal here–the road to Hatteras is still being fixed and it takes a long and roundabout ferry ride to get there, but NCDOT predicts the road will be ready by the end of the month. It’s a little inconvenient not having the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk, but that’s minor and most of the businesses are open, if not always convenient to get to.
Good thing, too. This is the Outer Banks Marathon Weekend–an event that has become more a festival of fitness and family activity than just a time to run 26+ miles.