A New Island Appeared Out of Nowhere Off the North Carolina Coast

Without warning, an island has appeared off North Carolina's Cape Hatteras National Seashore, inspiring curious travelers to head out into the waters and explore what they're calling Shelly Island. 

The island was first spotted by locals on the shore and was later photographed from a drone by Chad Koczera, highlighting the scope of the island that appeared seemingly overnight. Starting as little more than a sandy bank, it's now "a mile long and three football fields wide," according to The Virginian-Pilot.

The mile long island that has formed off of Cape Point Hatteras. #shellyisland #kayaking #hatteras #capepoint

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Janice Regan and her grandson Caleb christened it Shelly Island because it was a good spot to hunt for shells, she tells The Virginian-Pilot. The name has caught on. 

However, officials around Cape Point are advising that no one attempts to swim to Shelly Island, as attractive as it may be. The current is dangerously strong between the shore and the island. Additionally, there could be hooks littering the ocean floor, Bill Smith, president of the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association, warns. He also notes that stingrays and sharks up to five feet long have been spotted in the area. 

That hasn't stopped many from getting there by boat or finding another way to safely cross the channel.

Cape Point is a constantly changing shoreline, shaped by currents and storms, Cape Hatteras National Seashore superintendent Dave Hallac says. Those same forces are likely what shaped the island and are what could make it disappear or connect to the shoreline at some point in the future. For now, adventurers are enjoying Shelly Island while they can. It could disappear as quickly as it appeared.

h/t CNN