Ocracoke, North Carolina
Besides having over two hundred and fifty miles of beautiful beaches, North Carolina has a rich history which includes the first attempt at permanent English settlement in the New World. Man’s first powered flight is credited to Orville and Wilbur Wright who flew their Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903. And one of the most infamous pirates in history, Blackbeard, was killed at Ocracoke, North Carolina, in 1718. Blackbeard was not very successful when compared to some of the other pirates that are not as well known. His reign of terror only lasted two years. Thirty-two years later, the daring theft of Spanish treasure from a Spanish galleon anchored in Teach’s Hole, the anchorage of Blackbeard himself, far surpassed anything the bearded brute had ever plundered by pistol and sword. Not a shot was fired by Owen Lloyd when he sailed away with 52 chests of treasure. His weapon was his wit and his daring.
Ocracoke, North Carolina, can now lay claim to a “pirate” story that could be considered the granddaddy of them all, since Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island may not have ever been written except for the events that took place at Ocracoke Inlet in 1750. Treasure Island has had a major influence on the pirate genre of today. It is safe to say that the wildly successful Pirates of the Caribbean series produced by Walt Disney Studios might never have happened without, first, Treasure Island. Jack Sparrow would be an unknown. The legacy of Treasure Island is huge. The book has been made into numerous movies, plays, and illustrated versions. Long John Silver may well be better known than Blackbeard. In total there have been more than fifty movie and TV adaptations of Treasure Island.
Today at Ocracoke you can visit the area where not only Blackbeard and his crew roamed about, but where Owen Lloyd and his peg-legged brother plotted and planned their daring theft of Spanish treasure. Springer’s Point overlooks Teach’s Hole and is a nature preserve today. It is owned and managed by the North Carolina Land Trust. There is a nature trail that winds through twisted live oaks and ancient cedar trees that ends at a sand beach overlooking the spot where the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe was anchored. A word of caution: there is no parking at the entrance to the preserve.