Hurricane victims on coast: 'You just rebuild and move on'

Posted August 1, 2013 7:00 p.m. EDT

— Mickey Daniels buys and sells crab part-time at his family's dock in Wanchese, but it wasn't always this way. For more than half a century, the Daniels family had Daniels Crab House.

"My dad bought it in 1958. I was 9 or 10 years old, and I would work with him in the summer," Daniels said.

But no more.

"It kind of hurts my heart," he said. "But everything has its time. Everything can't last forever."

In 2011, Hurricane Irene – like many hurricanes before it – trashed the place. Last year, Superstorm Sandy left the building intact but took the crabs away.

"Oh, Sandy, last year, it blowed them down south, blowed out of this area," Daniels said. "We didn't have crabs this spring."

Add fuel prices, labor costs and foreign imports to the crab shack's troubles, and Daniels ultimately had to close it down. But hurricanes, he said, are just part of living on the coast. 

"I hated to do it," he said. "You just have to deal with it. There's nothing you can do."

Irene also flooded downtown Manteo, including Jeremy Bliven's shop.

"It just ruined everything," Bliven said. "I grew up in Manteo, and I've seen the floods here, but I had never seen one that large."

But it's not in his nature to give up.

"That's not the Roanoke Island spirit," Bliven said. "We've been doing this since the first settlers got here. You just rebuild and move on."

Daniels is reluctantly moving on as well. 

"If you can do nothing about it, you just adjust," he said. "Do what you can do."