Quarter - Ocracoke Toll Ferry
Quarter ferry is one of three ferry routes normally available
to and from Ocracoke. It is the longest of the three, taking about
two and one half hours to cross the Pamlico Sound. You can find this
ferry's location on the Coastal
Guide Map. Choosing which ferry to take from Ocracoke is, as a
rule, just a matter of logistics. Which one gets you closer to where
you want to be at the other end?
Swan Quarter is in the middle of Swan Quarter National Wildlife Refuge,
and an easy ten minute drive from Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife
Refuge. This area is a popular spot in the winter for wildlife enthusiasts
because so many geese and Tundra Swans winter here.
Lake" would be making this trip from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter,
as it did on both occasions during the October, 2003 photographic
trips by the author. On
both trips the "Silver Lake" had a very noisy, hard oscillating vibration
in the aft
quarter, which shook the boat frequently. It was too noisy to
enjoy being on deck at the rear of the boat. In fact, it was difficult
to talk over the noise. Fortunately, staying forward or in the passenger
cabin made both the noise and vibration much less noticeable. Nothing
like this was experienced on any of the other ferrys. In it's defense,
it was built in 1965, making it one of the two oldest "sound class"
ferrys in the fleet (the Pamlico being the other ferry built in 1965).
Both the Swan Quarter and Cedar Island ferrys
pass near a small sandbar/island next to the ferry channel just west
of Ocracoke. This location is a favorite
gathering spot for gulls, terns, cormorants
and pelicans. It's quite a sight to see thousands
of birds lining the water's edge, while others swim nearby and
small flocks come and go constantly. If you happen to pass by on a
day when the breeze is blowing out of the north, you might catch a
hint of what a rookery smells like.
was little on the Swan Quarter trip to break up the long crossing.
was fabulous, the water was calm, much of the time nearly smooth
as glass, and the sky was a beautiful shade of blue. Occasionally
would perch atop a mast or fly
past, and for a while there were jellyfish floating by. All in
all it was a relaxing trip from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter.