10/6/08

The story of Hatteras Jack

Not all unexplained mysteries on Hatteras Island are unhappy ones, as evident by the story of one of the island’s most beloved legendary figures, Hatteras Jack. Visitors will spot the moniker almost everywhere they go, (as the name of local businesses, tackle stores, and vacation rental homes), as the phrase “Hatteras Jack” seems to have proud and trustworthy implications.
According to legend, in 1790 the Hatteras Inlet waters in between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands were well known for being a treacherous passageway for ships trying to get to port. With shifting sandbars and currents, many mariners struggled to make it through these waters.
Assistance for these ships came in a very unusual form.
Captains soon began to notice an albino, white as snow dolphin preceding each boat through the inlet, indicating the path. Somehow, the dolphin, who was dubbed “Hatteras Jack,” always seemed to know the exact route to follow to avoid cuts and sandbars. It wasn’t long before the captains began to trust and even seek out Hatteras Jack, blowing their foghorns as they drew close to the inlet.
Hatteras Jack would lead the ships through the inlet, and after a successful journey, he would jump and splash in front of the ship before disappearing back into the inlet waters to await the next ship that needed a hand.
As the years progressed, and the US Government stepped in to aid navigation through the inlet, Hatteras Jack was seen less and less, and finally disappeared, as apparently it was evident that his work was done.
He was never seen again, but his story, and the image of the white dolphin, has been a source of Hatteras island pride for centuries.

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