Irresistible

New island in Outer Banks has locals and tourists excited

By Joi-Marie McKenzie, ABC News

HATTERAS, Dare County (ABC News) - A new island that has appeared off the coast of North Carolina is exciting water-loving locals and tourists alike.

It's being called Shelly Island. And thanks to the changing tides of the Atlantic Ocean, those enjoying Cape Hatteras' Cape Point can now trek to this newly formed island.

"It's a dynamic area. Because of the two different currents -- the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current -- the sand is always shifting and moving," Mark Dowdle, the deputy superintendent of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which oversees the island, told ABC News.

"A large sandbar has formed off the tip of Cape Point and essentially created a new island," he added. "It could continue to grow or soon it could be completely gone. We don’t know."

For now, those visiting have been enjoying the new island, which measures about a mile long and several hundred yards wide, according to Dowdle.

Those visiting have been collecting sea shells along with enjoying long walks on the beach.

Bill Smith recently used a kayak to trek to the island.

"It's fun to go out there. It's a great place to shell," Smith, the president of the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association, told ABC News. "Historically, that area is a very good place to fish too."

Still, Smith warns that because of that, it's probably not best to walk over to the island at low tide when the water may appear shallow.

In fact, the park service has several warnings for those trying to enjoy the long summer days on the new island.

 

The mile long island that has formed off of Cape Point Hatteras. #shellyisland #kayaking #hatteras #capepoint

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"If someone were to go out there, use the buddy system. Do not go alone," Dowdle said, noting that the water is particularly rough near the island thanks to strong currents and riptides.

He added that if you do attempt to swim out there, use flotation devices such as paddle boards or surfboards along with a life jacket.

Dowdle continued that there could be various "marine life," such as jellyfish. "There could be other marine life too and because the water's agitated from the waves, you can't always see."

Dowdle had one more piece of advice he'd like to give to those visiting. "The island is new and it’s drawing a lot of interest ... but there are many other beaches to enjoy at Cape Hatteras including three life-guarded beaches," he told ABC News.


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