As ocean tides shift, North Carolina gets a new island

Tides and currents formed a mile-long new island on North Carolina's coast in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Photo by Chad Koczera/Instagam

June 28 (UPI) — North Carolina has a new, mile-long island along its seacoast formed by ocean tides, a drone view confirmed.

The island of sand, about 5,000 feet long and about 500 feet wide, was discovered off the tip of Cape Point, part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It started as a sandbar but grew because of shifting ocean tides, and the 150-foot-wide strait between the new island and the mainland features a flow as fast as a rip current, the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot said.

It was nicknamed “Shelly Island” for its abundance of seashells, and the name has begun to appear on social media.

A drone flown by tourist Chad Koczera photographed the new island after he realized it became essentially inaccessible by foot.

Although some visitors are braving the tides to visit the new island, Dave Hallac, superintendent of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, advised against attempting to swim to it.

Bill Smith of the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association also warned that sharks and stingrays are seen regularly in the area, and that hooks from decades of fishing could be a hazard.

“We’re worried about shark bites but we’re more worried about drownings,” he said.

The new island could disappear by next year. It also could expand further into the Atlantic Ocean or connect with the mainland, depending on tides and currents, Smith noted.


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