As a new member of POP and a freshman at UNCW, I did not know what to expect when I signed up for the OBX Trip. I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about the wonderful world around us, and visit a new place all while spreading awareness and making a difference.
Even before we arrived in the Outer Banks, the car drive there was one, big bonding experience. Here I was in a car with three people I had never met before, talking about our families and life plans to boys and our favorite movies. I was immediately comfortable and even more excited than I already was for the following days to come.
The next day we were invited to Wanchese to help at a North Carolina Coastal Federation clean up. It was held in such a unique location: an industrial area on the water where the water came into this marsh. As the clean up progressed I was dumbfounded by how much trash and recycling was in such a small area. We found everything from lawn chairs to tires, to countless plastic bottles and microplastics. My whole life I have felt a connection with the ocean and I was well aware of the pollution problem in our waters. However, this clean up proved to me that there was much, much more pollution in our oceans then I even thought was possible. It was amazing to see all of these people come together for a common cause and a mutual love for the water and environment.
Throughout the next couple of days we visited two lighthouses, watched an unbelievable sunset from Jockey’s Ridge, visited Jeanette’s Pier, all along while becoming closer to one another.
My favorite part of the trip was our visit to The Point of Hatteras Island that Sunday. Forty miles off the coast of The Point is where the Hope Spot lies. My friend who lives in Hatteras happened to be home that weekend, and happily drove us onto the beaches while we picked up trash. Although it was windy and freezing, seeing The Point was incredible. The ocean was to your right and left, and it looked like two different oceans were colliding right in front of you. We found a bunch of debri and fishing line.
On the last day we took a ferry to Ocracoke Island, then another to Cedar Point. Throughout the day whenever we found time, we would do little clean ups along the way. While on the ferry we were lucky enough to see a couple beautiful dolphins. Being so in touch with the ocean for three days straight was such an unreal experience. The beauty and mass of the ocean draws you in to protect it from the horrors it’s facing as a home to such amazing marine life and as the most important part of our planet and environment. This trip enhanced my already strong dedication to protect and clean our oceans, in hope for plastic-free waters.