Thursday Thirteen 45: Topsail Island

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I had the good fortune of spending the past week at my parents' vacation home on Topsail Island, North Carolina. What a place.

1. Their home is on a beautiful stretch of sand down the road and around the corner from Camp Lejeune, so the Ospreys fly with the ospreys.

2. This stretch of sand was once a proving ground for some of the United States' first rocketry efforts during the 1940s.

3. The principle of the ram jet engine (the mainstay of today's supersonic flight) was developed and proved on Topsail Island.

4. The Navy labeled this endeavor "Operation Bumblebee."

5. Beside a relic from those days in the museum is a poster with a few lines bumble bees: they should not be able to fly, given their weight and proportions, but they do; they do not know they can't. The homely innocence of this is somewhat startling alongside munitions.

6. The Assembly Building and the observation towers remain on Topsail Island and have survived the hurricanes without fail year after year. Just goes to show what's possible with a determined military and a pile of money.

7. This sandbar didn't have a name until 1971, when it seems to have become Topsail Island, according to the museum.

8. The waterways were bandit country in the days of Bluebeard. Legend has it that pirates would hide in the sound behind the dunes waiting for unsuspecting ships. Merchant captains would watch for their topsails and take evasive action. Thus Topsail became a regional name and maps from 1774 carry the names Topsail Sound, Old Topsail Inlet, and New Topsail Inlet--again, according to the museum.

9. Topsail Island is also home to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, which opened in 1997. Jean Beasley opened it to honor the memory of her daughter's efforts to assure the survival of sea turtles.

10. The Project has been a major force in ensuring female turtles and their nests are protected on Topsail Island and that baby turtles make it safely from their nests to the sea.

11. The Center provides refuge and specialized care for sick and injured sea turtles.

12. Volunteers and donations keep this work alive, and the teens who work there are able to tell the stories of each of the turtles. Like Lennie, a permanent resident of the center who was blinded by a fisherman who struck him on the head with a blunt object after the turtle was caught in a fishing net.

13. Twelve to 20 recovered turtles are released each year after they are healed from the injuries inflicted primarily by boats and pollution.


The strange coexistence of the military, past and present, and nature asserting herself in myriad ways was a paradox. I couldn't help thinking that for all these various shows of strength life is very fragile, indeed.

Thursday Thirteen

Comments

  1. Wow, Sounds like this place has some great history. This was very interesting to read. Thanks. Happy TT!

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  2. Fascinating list. I didn't know anything about the area. Happy TT.

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  3. i love sandbars! i love the beach.

    that structure looks dangerous like it can go down anytime.

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  4. Interesting facts. I love to hear how places got their names. There is a creek near here named "Two Baby Creek" and a landmark called "Black Post". Of course I've heard highly conflicting stories as to how they got their names. Top Sail, hmmm.

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  5. i'm glad someone helps the turtles!

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  6. Anonymous9:57 PM

    What a gorgeous area of the country! I saw the island on the map when we were out that way recently. You make me sorry that I didn't get to visit it!

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  7. It sounds like you had a good time. It's pretty there.

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  8. Anonymous10:33 PM

    I've seen a building like that in Scituate or Mashfield Mass. Funny, I'm on vacation too and wrote some facts about my hometown beach.

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  9. thanks for all the info. i learned a ton. there is history everywhere...

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  10. Topsail Island sounds like a facinating place. Perhaps I will visit one day.

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  11. Wow...im speechless. What a wonderful vacation and a beautiful location. Thats awesome:) Happy TT my friend and thanks for stopping by. Its always great to see you.

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  12. This place sounds fantastic! What a great view. The sky is so blue. Happy TT and thanks for stopping by.

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  13. Very interesting facts. beautiful place!

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  14. Thanks for the explanations, Sandy.
    It must be really a beautiful place.

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  15. Awsome list. It's always fun learning about different places. Thanks for sharing. Happy T13!

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  16. what a wonderful 13 Sandy, you have a great gift! can't wait to see you.

    pyrate

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  17. always an inspiational post on Thursadys!

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  18. Sounds like an interesting place. The relationship between military and nature is quite a paradox. In the UK there are large stretches of land reserved for the occasional military exercise and live firings. Almost totally untouched in many parts, it has, nonetheless, allowed nature to thrive in these areas.
    It's amazing how signs such as 'DANGER, LIVE FIRING' keeps people out and actually protects nature.

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  19. That must be a wonderful area !

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  20. Interesting place to stay, fascinating facts! The Sea Turtle Center does a great job.
    Thanks for visiting my Olympics TT.

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  21. Anonymous8:03 AM

    What a wonderful photo and composition!! Very interesting list too - never heard of Thu 13 before.. Have a great day! :)

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  22. My hubby and I were just talking the other day about Topsail. We nearly bought a house out there when we lived in the area. (We spent 13 years in the Camp Lejeune area). He was even there for one of the all-nighters for the sea turtles, since one of our friends worked with The Project. This post was like a warm memory :-)

    Peace - D

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  23. i'm so jealous!! sounds fabulous! happy tt!

    she
    www.shebecameabutterfly.net

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  24. We need the entire package to remain the great country we are. It's good to know they can work in concert. Pappy

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  25. A wonderful thoughtful essay, Sandy! What a lovely place to vacation with family! :)

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  26. Interesting list we have a red eared slider turtle recovery here in FW

    good list
    http://joyismygoal.blogspot.com/
    name game fun

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  27. Anonymous10:24 AM

    Enjoyed all the history, and the photo. Intriguing structure - and it strikes me that something which might be just another eyesore in an urban setting can look so picturesque when abandoned beside the ocean!

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  28. I've never been to NC, but you make it sound charming. Poor Lennie the Turtle! I'm glad he has a safe place to live out his days. (Thanks for visiting my TT)

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  29. Amazing about the old buildings that make it through hurricane season over and over. They really DON'T make 'em like they used to.

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  30. As alway your TT is very interesting. I always learn something and love that. This sounds like a very beautiful and interesting place. Happy TT

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  31. It looks beautiful! I have never been to NC, well except for the airport.

    Happy TT!

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  32. Fantastic TT, sounds like a wonderful place to visit and relax, with lots of history too!!!

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  33. Anonymous2:01 PM

    oooh my good friend Betty just got back from there. What a lovely place and I am so glad you had a nice time. YES!! A well deserved break!

    Happy TT!

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  34. How fun to learn of this place. My sister & her husband have just returned to Maine from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and will be headed south over the next few months, so I’ll be sure to mention this place to them as something to check out.
    Hugs and blessings,

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  35. Fun and interesting information to read!! I will also pass it along to our office manager who's planning a trip to the area in September. It's always more funto visit a place when you have a little ofit's history tucket in your pocket or your memory. (I have to use my pocket...memory has too many holes in it)

    Enjoyed this post!!

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  36. Anonymous3:33 PM

    What a great lesson!!! Thanks! Happy TT! Glad you had a nice weekend with your Mom and Daughter.

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  37. What an incredible experience! So glad you got some time away with family in such a beautiful place. Happy TT ;)

    http://dogeareddigest.blogspot.com/

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  38. Anonymous4:46 PM

    Quite the place! I'd never even heard of it before now.

    Happy TT!

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  39. Anonymous9:28 PM

    I didn't know most of the facts in your list. I'd never heard of Topsail Island either. Thanks for the info.

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  40. Looks and sounds like a fun place! I love places with history like that. :)

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  41. Sounds like a fascinating place. Hope you are having a wonderful visit. Safe travels Sandy.

    www.mypoeticpath.wordpress.com

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  42. Anonymous10:11 AM

    So interesting!! My Dad was stationed at Camp Lejune many years ago.

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