Today we took the passenger ferry from Beaufort to Shackleford Island. As in 2012 we did not see the wild horses which was the intent of the visit. A huge disappointment. There are some beautiful old homes on the Bay by the ferry landing.
It is unclear how the horses got here some 300 or more years ago. DNA evidence links them to Spain and Portugal. They are considered wild and feral with the population controlled by dart contraception. They are referred to as Banker Horses and are sometimes adopted. For centuries they have cared for themselves. After storms, they are checked and it can sometimes take as much as 2 months to find all the herd. They do not receive supplemental feeding as it can be dangerous to the horses. They have adapted to receiving their nutrients from a number of grasses on the island. They do not drink salt or brackish water. Fresh water is found under barrier islands which fill surface pools.
Detailed records are kept on the horses. There are between 110 and 130 horses on the island and are protected by Federal law.
Shackleford is a barrier island containing many different types of sea shells. The island is 9 miles in length and has a nice beach. The island is located between Beaufort Bay and Cape Lookout.
Across from Beaufort sits another island called Carrot and it also has a herd of wild horses. In retrospect had I done more research, would have opted to take the ferry here.As we were passing the Island, saw several horses.
Another ferry trip from Morehead City takes you to Sand Dollar Island. Would like to have done this also.
Tomorrow is get ready to leave day. Supposed to rain.
Driving into the campground, spotted two deer.
Our next stop for 2 weeks is Oceana NAS Virginia Beach Sea Mist Campground.