The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a chain of barrier islands located off the eastern shore of the state. Most famous for the Kitty Hawk dunes where the Wright Brothers first achieved powered flight, the Banks have a long, rich history. The pirate Edward “Blackbeard” Teach sailed out of Ocracoke Island, while the treacherous waters offshore have claimed dozens of ships over the centuries. In World War II, German submarines sunk merchant vessels there; divers recovered an Enigma decoder machine from one such German submarine in 1981. Merchant hunters once used massive shotgun-like weapons to down hundreds of duck and geese in a single outing on the 30-mile wide Pamlico Sound.

For hundreds of years, the Banks were remote and hard to get to; this quality, along with the wind and sand, was part of the appeal to the Wrights. The 1960s saw the beginning of a period of rapid growth and discovery by the outside world. Bridges and causeways replaced some of the ferries, world-record marlin were caught by Hatteras Island charter captains, and the rapid growth of such southeastern cities as Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, and the Washington, DC area helped drive a rapid increase in tourism. Finally, the rise in such adventure sports as surfing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding coincided with the area's unique combination of wind and waves to draw international attention to the area. For all the snowboarder-like attitude, however, fishing—on the sound in a skiff, in the Gulf Stream ...

Get Information, Technology, and Innovation: Resources for Growth in a Connected World now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.