No visit to "down east" North Carolina would be complete without a visit to Cape Lookout.
There is a great deal of history there. Blackbeard the pirate used to roam those waters; in fact, his ship 'Queen Anne's Revenge' is sunk not far off Fort Macon, which lies just across Beaufort Inlet from the western tip of Shackleford Banks. Blackbeard met his untimely end up at Ocracoke, but he was well known in the Beaufort area.
The Carolina capes were also known as "Torpedo Junction" during World War II, as German U-boats ran amok in the early days of the war with "Operation Drumbeat," torpedoing with near impunity tankers and freighters within sight of shore. Several wrecks of torpedoed ships lie in the vicinity of Cape Lookout, including the Papoose and W. E. Hutton. The ships - 2 of 48 sunk by U-124 - were torpedoed the same night.
Cape Lookout and Core Banks are also famous for loggerhead turtle nesting, birding opportunities, and some seriously good fishing.
Access to Cape Lookout is by private small boat, light aircraft, or ferries. Small vehicle ferries operate from Davis. Small people ferries operate from a number of places, including Harker's Island and Beaufort, as well as some of the villages east of Harker's Island. We use Harker's Island Fishing Center.
Our gallery of this year's visit is here:
Mike and Leece's image galleries
under the Eastern North Carolina 2011 heading.
We have a lot of lighthouse photos.
Footnote: What has long been called the Papoose wreck is actually the Hutton, and vice versa. The Papoose/Hutton is known for its sand tiger shark population. The actual Papoose wreck was broken up some time ago as a hazard to navigation. Here is a list of diveable shipwrecks near Cape Lookout, and here is a site that shows maps of wreck locations:
Wreck diving off the North Carolina coast
Update: Here's a link to our 2012 visit to Core Banks and Cape Lookout.