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Shell collecting: “Military device” shuts down beach

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Crusty military device, with glove for scale. Photo courtest Dare County Emergency Management.

 A newly formed island on North Carolina’s Outer Banks has been reopened after a Navy bomb squad removed the crusty remains of a World War II era training bomb that washed ashore Friday, July 14.

The “military device” was spotted on Shelly Island, a mile-long 500-foot wide sandbar, prompting the evacuation of a one-mile safety buffer.

Below is the National Park Service account:

Hatteras Island Rescue Squad responded to a report of what appears to be an old, unidentified military device on the sand bar off Cape Point. Dare County Emergency Management requested assistance from the U. S. Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit from Little Creek Virginia. Based on images below, out of an abundance of caution, the EOD unit asked that a one mile safety perimeter be established until they could arrive and determine the exact nature of the item.

A portion of the one mile perimeter falls within the boundaries of Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Seashore), in the Cape Point area. The Seashore, in partnership with the Dare County Sheriff’s office, Hatteras Island Rescue Squad, and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, will comply with the U.S. Navy’s direction by temporarily establishing a perimeter starting at the entrance to off-road vehicle (ORV) Ramp 44. The ORV ramp will reopen to ORVs and pedestrians once the Seashore has received an all clear from the U.S. Navy.

Favorite Places: Huntington Beach, S.C.

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I’ve never really been one for big beaches. Sure, the sun and fresh air are nice. The salty spray from the ocean is refreshing, and it’s always cool to find what washes up on shore. But, for the most part, my beach experience has involved being crammed in an overpopulated, sweltering sandbox sandwiched between a full parking lot and brackish ocean water.

So Huntington Beach, located near Murrells Inlet, S.C., between Myrtle Beach and Charleston, is on my list of favorite places because it’s a low-key beach that offers a chance to explore and enjoy nature.

Here’s what makes the place cool:

— A castle. Well, not a real castle, but a replica of a Spanish fort commissioned by a rich guy. The place is called Atalaya (which means watchtower), and it was built in the 1930s as a winter home for Archer Huntington and his sculptor wife, Anna (her stuff is on display on the other side of the highway). Guided tours and audio tours available, or you can just meander through at your own pace.

— Sandpiper Trail. It’s not a long hike but it’s a great one-mile walk (two miles to reach the end and back) through the scrub and dunes.

— A salt marsh and a freshwater lagoon. Populated with ibises (ibisi?), fiddler crabs and alligators. Kayaking is available. Did I mention gators?

— Camping, near the ocean.

— Spanish moss, hanging from trees.

— And yes, there is a beach.

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