Ocracoke Express makes maiden voyage

A dog named Cotton was one of the Ocracoke Express passenger ferry’s first passengers. [Photo courtesy N.C. Ferry System]

The Ocracoke Express passenger-only ferry made its maiden voyage Monday morning with “57 smiling women, men and children, four bikes and a dog named ‘Cotton.’”

It was the first ride for the new ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke Village, which will make three daily round trips through the summer. Rides today and tomorrow are free. An initial cost of $1 each way starts Wednesday.

The division is leasing the ferry, the M/V Martha’s Vineyard Express, from the New Jersey-based ferry company Seastreak Marine. Last week, the vessel successfully completed test runs of the route in the Pamlico Sound between the two Outer Banks islands.

Bikes lined up on the maiden voyage of the Ocracoke Express. [Photo courtesy N.C. Ferry System]

The ferry will depart from the Hatteras terminal at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m., and departing the Ocracoke Silver Lake Terminal at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 7 p.m. A one-way trip takes approximately 70 minutes.

On May 20-21, the ferry service will be free as a preview to passengers. An initial cost of $1 each way will begin May 22. There will be no extra charge for bicycles.

Passengers who would like to walk on to the passenger ferry should proceed to the Hatteras Terminal at least 20 minutes before departure time. When reservations become available at a later date, they can be made online at www.ncferry.org or by calling 1-800-BY-FERRY (1-800-293-3779).

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.