August is getting ready to follow July; I can feel it.  Aside from Irene it was a pleasant time.  Even though I expected Irene to slam us we escaped with minimal damage.  The eye touched Jersey about five miles from my house.  My damage?  One half of a shingle; no water on my utilities/storage floor with its elevation of 4.7 feet.  I live as far from the beach as I did when a 140 mph hurricane (life was simpler then; no storm names) brushed Margate in 1944.  During that storm I watched room-sized sections of boardwalk float by the house and became a believer.

Anyway, August is heading out.  The morning light is warmer on the spartina grass, emphasizing its fall shades of amber-brown.  This year’s flock of almost 200 Purple Martins left about three weeks ago and Nick’s son, Nicky, lowered the houses before Irene. 


 Below is the annual August round-Mordecai-Island trophy race for kids.  We see this and we sigh, “Summer’s almost over.”  I’ve enjoyed seeing more and more paddle-boarders out this summer.  I missed one earlier this month who was out there with his dog on the board!?!

Sorry ladies. Those hulls are not allowed in this race.

Of course we had a couple other routine August storms.  It’s nice sitting on the deck under the rotunda roof and hearing the rain patter above.  Even nicer to see the promise that sometimes shows up.

Tomorrow's coming.

There was sadness in August, as well.  I lost my friend, Nick Cotov, a second generation fisherman.  He operated the boat landing at the foot of my street where we’ve kept our boats since we moved here.  He and his father had commercially lobstered from here and also brought in other fresh fish from off shore.   Our friends speak of going there on a Friday night in the 50’s and buying fresh lobsters.

Cotov's Boat Landing

For Nick in retirement it was a place to come to be back by the water, to build stuff, to work on the restoration of Sultan, the family fishing boat, to inspect for tenants at the Osprey rack across the thorofare from his place, or just to get away from it all. 

Rack for rent. Nick's phone number on the sign.

Nick was a solid citizen, a great guy, and a genuine local.  His father had become known as Captain Bly and Nick cheerfully adopted the title.  My first exposure to his style was our first New Year’s Eve here.  As night descended I saw the Sultan emerge all gussied up for Christmas.

Sultan at Christmas

Nick deserves more coverage than this post can provide.  There are some great stories.  I’m sad that there’s an empty chair there now.

An empty chair.

6 Responses to “AUGUST AMBLES AWAY”

  1. Elaine Walsh Says:

    Nick has a special place in your heart and his memory lives on
    Perhaps one of the benches near the inlet should bear his name to mark his place on LBI

  2. Linda Kamholz Says:

    Glad to hear you weathered Irene OK.
    Your tribute to Nick was heartfelt and “An Empty Chair” is a poignant remembrance.

  3. janfineartducci Says:

    Ralph- The empty chair photo- evokes a mood — and a remembrance.
    Beautifully done.

  4. Kathleen Lapergola Says:

    Ralph, thanks for the images showing August on LBI and your wonderful tribute to Nick!!!

    The empty chair say’s alot!!

  5. denisebushphoto Says:

    Love ‘Empty Chair’ … all the detail is great and the telescope really makes it. I like the regatta pics in the previous post and especially like ‘Who’s got the right of way?’ I can’t believe summer went by so fast!

  6. MikeP Says:

    Another season come and gone and like the seasons a part of it will stay with us forever. “An Empty Chair” hit home. One of my first photo teachers just passed ‘Nancy Rotenburg’. I took the seashell in the waves pic after listening to a poem read by her on the beach. No one since has ever reached out like that during a workshop. Thanks Ralph I can now say goodbye to August.

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