Maps of North Carolina’s Outer Banks may not necessarily be accurate from one year to the next. Sometimes, new islands pop up among the string of larger barrier islands along the coast—like the latest addition off Hatteras Island. The new island was formed from an existing sandbar by currents and storms over the last several months.
There’s a good chance “Shelly Island”—the name given to it by an 11-year-old visitor, which seems to have stuck—won’t be around next year, the Virginian-Pilot newspaper reports. The same currents that created it could wash it away, or they could grow it and connect it to Hatteras Island’s Cape Point, a popular fishing spot. For now, the island is a mile long and nothing but sand. Best not to expect to build a vacation home there.
The golden sands have been attracting seashell collectors, but getting to the island is not easy. Local officials warn that only experienced boaters should attempt the crossing. Even though it is short, strong currents rip through the narrow inlet, and while it is tempting to wade across, decades worth of fishhooks could also lurk in the sand. Oh, and then there are sharks and rays swimming around. Beachcombers are advised to exercise caution.