We just returned from our first camping trip to Bear Island! On our fourth day of paddling the OBXers set off from Hammocks Beach State Park and paddled to Bear Island. We caught a glimpse of the island the previous day when we circumnavigated Huggins Island. We arrived on the calm waters of the sound, pulled up our boats, and crested the top of the sand dune to catch our first glimpse of the ocean. OBXers set up camp and headed straight to the ocean for an afternoon of splashing in the waves. We had a lovely evening cooking dinner and watching the sunset over the sound. We shared our roses, buds, and thorns (an activity to reflect on each participant’s day), packed up, and headed back toward our campsite. Just before reaching our site, we came across a sea turtle laying a nest! We watched as she dug the hole and laid her eggs. The park service interns took her measurements and checked her for tags before she covered her nest, turned, and peacefully glided back into the night surf. OBXers and expedition leaders alike were awestruck by this incredibly rare experience which all happened mere feet from our campsite. Giddy with excitement we headed for bed. The beauty of the evening’s sunset and the magic of our shared experience with the sea turtle reminds us of the importance of slowing down and being in the wilderness, a place of healing, challenge, growth, and rejuvenation. We will be spending a couple of days resting and recharging at our base camp before heading out on our next adventure!
Story and photos by Sara Gerall