Home Blog DAY AT THE DOCKS 2013


A waterman can take on about as many roles as there are creatures in the sea. Weathered by time, their war stories with mother nature and her elements can be read like an open book on the lines of their sun-kissed faces. To touch his or her hands, oh those hands, is to be taken through space and time into the middle of the open sea, onto a tiny little shad boat, pulling nets while the sun beats down on your back. The water winks back at you in approval because she knows for every mouth you’ll feed, she’ll collect ten fold. She is to be respected.

A fierce beauty, she also has a temper that cannot be replicated or tamed. A cowboy will tell you there is nothing worse than a woman scorned. A waterman will be quick to let you know which woman is the leader of that pack. He’s been on the receiving end of her outrage too many times and is well-versed in her fury. He knows he is merely tolerated and salutes her in gratitude, for some have not been so lucky.

Once a year, we come together to celebrate these men, the watermen of Hatteras Island.

Day at The Docks started in 2004 after Hurricane Isabel ripped through Hatteras Island, cutting an inlet between the villages of Hatteras and Frisco, shutting Hatteras off from the rest of the island. The locals needed a break. They needed to come together to nod the resilience of their community after such a huge tragedy. They needed a celebration and it’s been an annual tradition ever since.

Educating folks on “dock life”, they offered various demonstrations and displays throughout the entire day. Musicians, poets and harmonizing crab pickers brought the main stage to life while the docks were abuzz with cooking and fish cleaning demos, a mullet toss and the annual chowder cook-off. The kiddos ran through laughing and playing, filled with excitement from the crab races, the “Concrete Marlin” competition, the children’s fishing tourney and painting fish prints onto t-shirts.

Towards the end of the day everyone hopped on the boats and headed out of the harbor for the sunset Blessing of the Fleet. It was there they paid homage to the watermen who have “crossed the bar” for their final time, setting a wreath of remembrance into the water off of a historic shad boat.

The celebration carried on into the night with a lawn dance featuring live music from Lady J and the Jives. The notes bounced through the town, but when the music stopped and everyone returned home, the spirit of the watermen still hung thick in the air, reminding us all what the day was truly about.

Launch the slideshow for more photos from Day at the Docks 2013.