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FIRST... From the Publisher

Patrick Etheridge, stationed in the mid-1900s at Chicamacomico’s Lifesaving Station, is credited for giving this famous quote, also known as the Surfman’s Motto: “The Blue Book says we’ve got to go out, and it doesn’t say a damn thing about having to come back.”

And that’s what the U. S. Coast Guard does, without a second thought. Because it’s their job, and because we need them.

You don’t hear a lot about the Coast Guard on the Outer Banks. I’ve lived here for the better part of 18 years, and I am just now learning that we have a Coast Guard base in Wanchese. (I know, right?)

I knew about the base in Elizabeth City that

trains the bravest of the brave—rescue swimmers. Yes, those guys who are lowered into terrifyingly dangerous, dark and stormy seas to save people who otherwise would be lost. I am in awe of those guys.

But there’s much more to the Coast Guard than

rescue swimming and saving doomed vessels. They maintain the safety of our waterways, our rivers, our sounds and our ocean. They keep the channel markers lit, the buoys afloat, illegal drugs from breaching our shores, and dangerous or drunk boaters from harming themselves and others.

We don’t hear about the Coast Guard every

day because they are quietly doing their jobs, quietly making us feel safe.

The North Beach Sun wanted to shed light on

these heroes among us for our Fall issue. They graciously let us onto their bases at Elizabeth City, Oregon Inlet and Wanchese, and they allowed us to ride aboard both their boats and a four-engine turboprop military plane.

The Coast Guard’s motto is Semper Paratus,

which means “Always Ready”. And for that, we’d like to say thank you.

Enjoy the issue and Happy Fall! -Cathy Baldwin FALL 2013

“11 Years of Marriage” with a Trent River catfish was taken by local photographer Brooke Mayo. It was #1 on and featured on the front page of the Style Section of the Huffington Post.

There’s no question that Blackbeard is one of the Outer Banks’ most famous folk. Sure, everyone knows he was a mean and dangerous pirate. Some even know that his real name was probably Edward Teach, and that he was tracked down and beheaded by the Royal Navy off Springer’s Point on Ocracoke Island. But not many know these facts about the legendary pirate, so listen up. They probably won’t win you any prizes, or the guy/gal of your dreams, but they might help you hornswoggle your mates next time you play a trivia game, savvy?


Blackbeard’s horrible ‘reign of terror’ as a pirate only lasted two years. Early in his career he was actually a sailor, and then a privateer—a kind of legitimate pirate authorized by Great Britain to attack foreign ships during Queen Anne’s War. Of course, during his brief stint as a real, scary pirate he and his crew did plenty of plundering off the coasts of Virginia and the Carolinas.

He took early retirement. Blackbeard scored a pardon from North Carolina’s Governor Charles Eden in 1718. But alas, it wasn’t to last. Before long he and the crooked governor joined forces and Eden basically protected Blackbeard in exchange for a share of his ill-gotten loot, so Blackbeard returned to the seas to terrorize once more.

Blackbeard didn’t actually kill anybody. Contrary to tall tales (and the movies) of pirate violence and destruction, there is no record of anyone being murdered by Blackbeard. Perhaps his frightening appearance (complete with lit, smoking fuses tied to his hat) and bad reputation were enough to make his victims willingly turn over their treasures.

Buried treasure? No so much. Blackbeard usually targeted cargo ships loaded with perishables like fabrics or cocoa rather than gold and jewels, which he quickly unloaded on the black market. Once, he cruised into the Charleston, South Carolina harbor, kidnapped a bunch of the town’s wealthiest citizens and held them for a huge ransom of…medical supplies!

He wasn’t the best pirate ever. Despite the legends, other pirates stole more ships and plundered more loot than Blackbeard. Pirate Henry Avery snagged thousands of pounds more treasure that Blackbeard in just one ship, and Black Bart captured hundreds of ships to Blackbeard’s handful. Still, his infamy makes him one of history’s most notorious pirates, even if he wasn’t the top scurvy dog.

Hidden Outer Banks is the lovechild of longtime local Dawn Church. She reminds locals and visitors alike to explore the rich history and local color that exists beyond the bright lights of the Bypass. Find HOBX at and


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