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2023-11-17 05:36:35

A Getaway for the Fearless - Frying Pan Tower, 30 Miles Offshore North Carolina

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What's up wicked if adventure is falling rich , Neal may be on the other end of the line .

This weekend's story brings us to Frying Pan Tower , a historic landmark .

Turns eco tourism hot spot for thrill seekers and nature lovers alike .

Oh .

And did I mention it's also over 30 miles offshore in international waters ?

But don't , let's check it out .

Ok .

All right .

Get your feet up .

All right , I'll bring you right in here .

That is the way this weekend starts .

I can't wait very good .

I want you to stand up .

I , I'm Richard Neal .

I'm the executive director of the nonprofit FB Tower Inc .

And what do I do ?

I restore the facility we are in currently originally Frying Pan Tower was for the safety of the Mariners that were going out here .

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The tower is actually the end result of several 100 years of people knowing about the shoals and trying to avoid them .

And in this case , uh the frying pan shoals goes about 35 miles out into the ocean and has caused thousands of shipwrecks over the years .

It's going into the rec room where all the coast Guard guys used to hang out .

This was the main area for them to spend their time with everything from eating dinner to watching TV , or playing pool .

We've hung out flags that have been here through hurricanes and through storms and we've auctioned off a lot of them and given away the proceeds to other charities that needed them .

We fly about one a month and then it's time to be replaced .

It looks like these flags have seen a lot for sure .

They've had a rough life when I was out here and thought I'd be going back to shore , uh , for one of these hurricanes , the chopper didn't come and we were here and we got to see what it was like to be in 100 and 10 mile an hour winds .

We've been through many hurricanes .

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Now , we're experimenting with actually having live streams of what's going on right here because I want you to be able to watch this , look on your phone , your smart device and feel like you are right there next to a hurricane with the flag fluttering in the wind on one of the major channels , for example , or with the underwater camera with the sharks cruising by or you're watching a ray batting itself across the sea floor .

So if you are stuck on shore , you can always have a viewpoint into some of the habits of the creatures in the ocean , whether or not they're sharks or other fish that have been tagged knowledge is power .

All those different ways of reaching people and letting them see what we have is a way for them to better understand and be part of what we're doing .

So , as we go down the main hallway , the whole facility is set up on a north , south east west corridors .

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With that being the sunset over there , sunrise over there , north star at night and southern breeze that we feel right now .

Nice and cool .

Can't complain about the views .

That's for good .

Come on down and take a look at the room .

We've got laid out for , you , check it out .

You get one of the queen rooms , you're in the Roanoke room and you'll notice all the rooms are laid out with names of the various North Carolina lighthouses around here .

This was the most important room in the whole facility because it had all the radio communications , it had all the wind instrumentation , which I think comes off rather well .

I think .

So .

It's a nautical chic and just a little heavy duty .

Also notice we have live streaming through the internet through the access that we created straight to shore 56 miles away .

Now , later on tonight , when you get a chance and the sun goes down with the sunset over there , be watching up in the sky through the telescope , take a look right up that direction and you're gonna see the moon bigger than you've ever seen it .

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Because we're in a dark sky location and it's still really full and bright tonight .

Oh , my gosh .

That's incredible .

People ask me , why did I buy the tower providing a research station that was truthfully designed as a home gives people the ability to come out in a stable platform that we're restoring so they can have a place to stay , have communications , do their work and then safely get back to shore by helicopter .

This is not about making money .

This is about making a future for people that can learn about our oceans , experience them themselves and educate people about how to take care of this world that we live .

Frag tower , this is no , should be too fast .

I want to take some cap on .

So this is Richard on the tower right now .

We're headed right next to the tower .

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There is a wreck in this area that we're gonna try and map it tonight and potentially dive on with scuba divers tomorrow .

And what we're doing here is evaluating and assessing how to place artificial reefs in the future so that it can officially thrive and , and you know , help fishing communities as well as the ecosystems of the area .

I'm gonna step outside to have a handheld on channel six .

Hey , Chelsea , you guys were able to get a little bit of stuff for the uh researchers .

Yeah , we uh we got the soil sample off the bottom .

It sounds like the college has um a pretty cool program .

So like you can literally just drop the soil samples off when you're onshore .

Wow , that's actually cool .

When we bring volunteers out .

The question is always , well , what are we gonna do when you're out here ?

It's never boring .

The tower being out here , you have to keep wrapped into your mind .

How is this benefiting others ?

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How are we providing information to others , researchers , marine biologist , weather and climate , people , scientists from all around the world .

If I can provide information , if I can do viewpoints into things , then the people that have the experience and the knowledge to really make some brilliant deductions can see this information and help make it safer for the people over on shore when a hurricane comes or for that matter , if we can have a camera that's being used by the coast guard , so they can look through it six miles that way when I'm not even here through our microwave connection to determine whether or not someone on that boat is truly in distress or if they just set down on their emergency beacon , keeping people safe .

That's a big part of being out here .

When the tower was built , it was built with a 50 year lifespan estimated .

And when they were done with it , they were looking for a way to get rid of it .

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They were planning originally on just decapitating it and dropping the top down in the ocean creating a natural barrier reef area , but they were stopped by the local fishermen who decided that they did not want their icon out in the ocean to be destroyed .

So many boaters as they're going past know that this represents basically the outreaches of America out here with us saying yes , we will help you if we possibly can .

And obviously it struck a chord in me .

Fried and Tower .

This is Cape Hatteras on 13 .

This is Richard on the tower , sir .

We got a boat that's just off to our southeast by our small way , buoy .

They are having some motor problems and they are looking for someone to help them drag back to dirt .

Anybody including yourself might want to throw a rope to him .

I'm sure they'd be very appreciative frying pan tower in addition to providing , you know , the B and B or the , the volunteering opportunities that the tower provides .

It's a safe haven for Mariners .

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It's a place that many of us will consider a grocery store .

We'll go there to harvest fish , but it's a dangerous game to be out that far .

And there's always some sort of communication and safety net with that .

Just having the tower out there functional gives us another point of radio contact .

You know , it's so unique in its own way .

You're out in the middle of the ocean , but on a safe solid platform and then you get in the water and like on a good day .

It's like just crystal clear .

You would think you're in the Bahamas and there's just so much life us as free divers , we're literally just moving left and right and back and forth around the tower and going to specific rocks and reefs and areas that we hunt certain fish species and find lobster .

It's unreal .

Yeah .

It takes a special someone to like , wanna share that experience with other people .

It's hard to describe it sometimes and only , you know , getting people out there to experience it themselves is the only way to really understand the sheer beauty of it .

Ok .

I'll bring that in .

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Yeah , people should visit so that they can contribute to keeping it above water .

We're blessed to have it .

Yeah .

It's very rich and abundant right , right here in our backyard and it's a very special place .

You know , one of a kind , it is interesting to me when people come out here most of the time , they don't really know quite what to expect .

Yeah , they're gonna work hard .

We have all the tools that they would need .

Uh , but then we also have the refreshments for after a hard day's work .

It's our job to let you know that as much as we love this place , we love the fact that you're here and helping us .

And when you do that , you get our thanks , you get our gratitude , you get everything we can do to make your trip here as pleasant and as enjoyable as possibly can .

So we've thrown open the doors , we've made it .

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So if you wanna come and you're able to make a donation enough to assist us with , basically getting you here and back and feeding you while you're here .

You're welcome .

You're not only welcome if you're needed in the tower for it to actually survive another decade .

People have to not just go .

Oh , that's cool .

They need to say , what can I do to help you ?

Wanna help tell everyone that is the way to take and just accelerate what we're doing .

Because if we keep this place up and going before it falls down , that next generation takes it and continues to increase their knowledge and understanding about this world of which we only have one to live in .

We better get it done .

I'm gonna get this side , not on just enough and then we'll pull it , pull it back and then you tighten it .

All right .

Ok .

Go , it's all yours .

I'm learning so much here because I've been coming out here for over a decade now .

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I've learned that people can go beyond themselves with their knowledge , their skills , their abilities and achieve incredible things .

You know , the tower has actually made me think about life itself .

I don't want any regrets , things that you want to have happen are worth working for .

If you have a job that you absolutely adore doing and if you are presented with something different and new challenges every day , it's the best job in the world .

And so my advice to anyone watching this is that you have your own tower in your mind in your heart that you may have not done .

Maybe there's a book that you've not yet written .

There's a activity or a language you've not learned .

What are you waiting for ?

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Jump into it , put all your effort into it that you possibly can .

The worst thing that can happen is you fail .

The best thing that can happen is is that you tried to find out more about the frying pan lighthouse and to support preserve or even spend the night on this iconic tower .

Go to FP tower dot org .


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