SUMMER BEGINS

Appropriately the day before the summer solstice Sigrid packed me up and I relocated my flag to the shore for the summer.  It’s good to be back.  Here’s the customary scene of the marshes and the bay from Grampa’s (my) deck for morning coffee.  In the foreground is Liberty Thorofare which separates Mordecai Island from the farther Intra-Coastal Waterway.  The mainland in the distance is Tuckerton.

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Timing was excellent as this was the weekend for the U.S. Sailing U.S. Youth Championship Regatta.  Our Beach Haven club, The Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club (founded 1912) was honored to be the host to 123 sailors and their families from all over the country including the Virgin Islands and Hawaii.  As witness the stature of the event, the crew of the America’s Cup candidate, American Magic, came to help coach and inspire the young people.  My son-in-law, Rear Commodore Bob Kiep, spent the days (all day) roaming the sailing grounds as part of the thirteen boat security fleet.  Daughter Sigrid spent Friday registering arrivals and then four days of electronically checking out the sailors as they launched and then rechecking their returns to insure no one was missing.  The sailors stayed out all day having taken lunches and water with them.  Not a relaxed summer day.

Here was the scene in the launching area.  I wish I had recorded some video to capture the flapping of the sails in the 15-20 knot wind. It was colorful and exciting.  Most of the sailors being from other parts of the country had never sailed our waters, and they looked a bit apprehensively at the whitecaps out on the main bay.  There were knockdowns during the day but all returned safely.

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Here was another way to view the pre-launch activity.

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The observers below were Ozzie and Opel Osprey, and their chick, Ophelia, whose head can just barely be seen sticking up left of the nest center.  They’re admiring the three International 420’s heading out to the sailing grounds for the day’s competition. *

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Meanwhile, regatta or not, summer continues to work its magic.  This is the perennial bed along one side of my house.  The foreground hydrangeas are shaping up nicely  this year, followed by Shasta Daisies and Knockout Roses.  (Photoshop’s usefullness shows up again as I was able to easily remove a large, dead dandelion from the foreground.)

Growing up on Absecon Island (Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate and Longport) the hydrangeas were a big deal in the down-beach communities.  In fact there was a committee that promoted the annual Hydrangea Trail. I’m probably too far north to be included.

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* Tech Note to Colleagues:  The birds were 600′ from my camera.  I was using a 400mm Canon zoom plus a 1.4 Canon extender.  The camera was tripod mounted; mirror-up mode, and stabilizer off.