When I told David I wanted to take the trailer to Ocracoke Island, he said fine. When I told him it involved taking the trailer on not one but TWO ferries, he said NO WAY! 🙂 But this morning we experienced our very first ferry ride towing our Lance 1685 travel trailer.
And the best part was that it was free! Not just inexpensive, but FREE! A free ferry from Cape Hatteras Village across to Ocracoke Island. We checked with the Ferry Office several days prior just to see what we needed to know. Here’s what we found out …
1. The Hatteras to Ocracoke Ferry runs from 5:30 AM to Midnight daily, every half hour except for very early and very late when it’s every hour.
2. The busiest days are Tuesday and Wednesday. That’s because most of Hatteras visitors arrive on Saturday or Sunday, take a day or two to settle in and then want to visit Ocracoke Island. Hence Tuesday and Wednesday being busy.
3. On busy days, it’s best to show up before 10 AM to avoid long lines. Our experience was we arrived at 8:49 and were able to make the 9 AM ferry departure, but earlier ferrys seems to get more commercial traffic and we were wedged behind a double trailer trash truck and a construction semi. David wasn’t sure we were going to get the trailer onto the ferry – we were the 2nd to the last to get on, but we made it.
4. There’s nothing scary about driving onto the ferry. The ferry employees are very capable and know exactly where a vehicle like yours will fit. David was fretting about if they’d try to stick us under the canopy (the trailer is too tall), or if it would be difficult to make the turn to the trailer in the outside lane. Don’t worry – these guys know their jobs and will direct you, nothing for you to do but follow their instructions. Easy peasy.
4. When arriving in Ocracoke, if you’ve been enjoying the sights from the boat, hustle back to your vehicle because the minute the boat docked, vehicles were in motion.
While in transit, poke your head into the passenger lounge and see if any of the ferry employees are around, not busy and willing to chat. We had the most interesting tour guide with a First Mate. Learned about the channels shifting, the sands always changing, the islands themselves changing which is why they could never build a bridge. Lots of history and information about the new twisty windy channel that just happened a few months ago when the sands sifted yet again. We also learned about the propulsion systems of the ferries, flounder (fish) net traps and lots of other random information that we would never have known without our fabulous tour guide!
And above all, enjoy the ride!