New Island "Pops Up" in the Outer Banks

If you're planning a vacation to the Outer Banks this summer, a new island has emerged since April. Being nicknamed "Shelly Island" for the abundance of seashells, it's one mile long and three football fields wide and just off the tip of Cape Point, the world-famous surf-fishing site near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

The sandbar is attracting anglers, seashell collectors, adventurers, photographers and the plain curious.

Getting there is not without danger. The ocean breaks one way on the east shore of the point and in the opposite direction on the southern shore. A flow as powerful as a rip current and about 50 yards wide rushes between the point and the new island.

People should not try to walk or swim across in that current, warned Dave Hallac, superintendent of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which oversees Cape Point.

There could be even more hazards. Hooks from decades of fishing could be lying on the bottom, said Bill Smith, president of the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association. Sharks up to 5 feet long and stingrays as large as the hood of a truck have been spotted prowling beneath the surface, he said.

Mike Steele

Mike Steele

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