Thanks to my dear husband who read my Christmas list, I recently added The Natural Traveler: Along North Carolina's Coast to my outdoor reference library. It's a fantastic book, one I regret not purchasing earlier this year. I learned more about NC's estuary system from the pages I read than I had in the previous year surfing the net and reading material on my bookshelve. I also learned something that should have been old news--during a 1969 Apollo mission, an astronaut took a picture of North Carolina's coast. Upon reading that nugget, I surfed to Nasa's image library and using their download feature, downloaded the following:
Lake Mattamuskeet is clearly visible just to the left of the center of the photo and above that, the Alligator River and the Albemarle Sound. Knowing hurricanes and other factors have altered the OBX, I wondered how this photo compared to the view today, and then realized I have the ability to find out. Switching to http://www.mappoint.com/, I captured this screenshot:
The angle is a bit different but you can still see the same features. Interestingly, Lake Mattamuskeet is shaped differently, as is the upper curve of the Outer Banks. Zooming in, it's clear a few of the inlets remain the same, but from what it appears (and I could be wrong) the older photo shows more more breaks in the banks.
Viewing the coast from the heavens--and from the past--and comparing it to the present perspective was fascinating. I'll have to add Mr. Adams' North Carolina Then & Now to my library.
I think we're going to need another bookshelf.