That strange new NC island mystifies the world yet again

That strange new NC island mystifies the world yet again

CHARLOTTE, NC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - That new island that appeared this spring off the coast of North Carolina has all but vanished, thanks to Hurricane Maria.

Shelly Island was a mile long before the storm, and it was starting to host plant life.


"Ninety percent gone," says Ken Barlow, the Virginia businessman who filed a quit claim deed last month for island ownership.

What's left of the 100-acres is an oval shaped sandbar that is 300 feet from Cape Point end of Hatteras Island, he said.

The Outer Banks Voice reports the storm essentially re-arranged Shelly Island, dividing it in half. One end is now connected to the rest of Cape Point (adding more beach) and the other is isolated off shore, surrounded by rough surf.

Barlow is not giving up hope on his island. He believes a nearby dredging operation led to the formation of the island, and that dredging work is starting again.

News outlets had reported in recent weeks that the channel separating the island from Cape Point had filled in, raising questions about whether the island was still an island. However, the channel began to deepen again before the storm, keeping Barlow confident in his land claim.

The island, or sandbar as sticklers call it, first started growing last fall and was noticed by beach goers in the spring. Once the island began to draw tourists, ownership claims were debated, culminating in Barlow filing a quit claim.

Dare County officials have maintained the land is owned by the state.

Experts had predicted the island might be washed away if a strong enough storm blew threw the area.