THE PANDEMIC SUMMER AT THE YACHT CLUB

Our summer yacht club social and sports life was sharply curtailed because of the covid threat. Members, as usual, pitched in to do what could be done but the effort was driven by our Commodore (sometimes referred to as the Covidore) Laura Darling. Both the May opening and the September annual meeting were conducted via Zoom. One benefit was that at an in-person opening the bars at the club don’t open until the ceremonies are completed. Watching on line from home I noted that our bar was open.

A covid committee was established to review and plan activities compliant with state mandates. Even they met via Zoom, and the frequent trustee and committee meetings were also Zoomed. Our Friday Night Happy Hours were reduced to social distancing with masks under the open air pavilion. Monthly dinner dances were a thing of the past. The junior sailing program went forward under tight controls as did senior sailing and bocce. For pickle ball and tennis the players are already social distanced. Occasional gatherings for drinks or dinners among small groups were also severely limited and the emphasis was on gathering at home.

Please do not misunderstand me; I know that people were terribly sick and dying. Knowing that was a possibility I think we tried to make the best of what we were fortunate to have. With gallows humor I envisioned our summer sinking away. It didn’t.

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Some of our traditional opening ceremonies had been video taped earlier for inclusion in the Zoom telecast. These included, for example, the raising of the flag to the bugler’s call-to-the-colors. As an addition to the ceremonies, however, the Commodore delivered a wreath which was then cast upon our sailing waters in memory of those we lost in the past year. This included two dear friends, past Commodores Phil Flagler and “Tommy’ Thomas, and to add to the stress of the year, Laura’s mother, Audie, long active at the club.

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The annual meeting is always held on Labor Day and includes committee reports, special awards and the election and transfer of flags to incoming officers. Below is a screen shot from the Zoomed annual meeting. Usually there are probably a hundred or more people in this room but it was empty except for these principals and Zoom support.

You’ve read my comments here in the past about the history that pervades this one hundred and eight year old club, and the sense of traditions and continuity but in looking at this image I was struck again by the connections to the past.

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On the left is Commodore Darling whose father, Bill Haig, was commodore in 1973. On the right is Vice-Commodore Caroline Flagler whose father, Bruce Rosborough, was commodore in 1992, and whose father-in-law, Phil Flagler, was commodore in 1974. In between are the succeeding commodore, Bob Kiep and his wife, my daughter, Sigrid Kiep.

Those cases in the back of the room contain several sailing trophies bearing granddaughters’ Gretchen and Madeline’s names so we’ve also started to build the family connection. Elsewhere in this “Commodores Room” along the walls there are framed portraits of past Commodores. Many of them are a part of my contribution to maintaining the history of the club either from making the original photos or restoring water damaged earlier versions.

For the pre-taped conclusion of the annual meeting the flag officer burgees and the American Flag were lowered, attended by several past commodores.

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After the meeting it has been customary to have a receiving line in which members thank the officers for their years of service and wish the new ones well. With covid it wasn’t going to happen because members had been asked not to come inside. So, Sigrid Kiep and Caroline Flagler came up with inviting everyone to the club house for a salute to Laura as she left the building. I am indebted to granddaughter, Maddy Kiep, for capturing this scene which I have titled Laura’s Laudation. The event was moving, especially as Laura’s grandchildren ran to join her. (Sound on?)


Our club has been sustained as has our sense of its history. It’s just going to be remembered as a little different. 

AN END OF SUMMER REVIEW

Summer’s so over that I’m already back in my winter cave at the Old Folks Farm (Medford Leas). Covid or not it was a great summer with family. We had Bob and Sigrid and Maddy and Gretchen and the old guy all mostly quarantining and working our computers from various rooms in the shore house and we all got along.

In the warm early morning September light on the day after Labor Day this was the scene from Grampa’s deck…one lonely sailboat that had anchored over night and one lonely osprey where there had been a family with two chicks. The season was over.

Within another 38 hours I was unpacked back in the cave.

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SUMMER PROJECTS

I completed a couple of projects this summer and worked on others. This one (below) started with a screen shot from an on-line video camera facing a beach on Sanibel Island. I reworked it into more of a landscape scene. Details may be learned here, and a full-size version of the work can be seen here,

Another completed project was the addition of LEDs to the candles in the windows of my Beck farmhouse image. I’ve posted before about this 1874 home in Beach Haven. The land could hold six McMansions and that’s what happened. I had photographed the house before it was taken down, and had simulated a scene in moonlight. Then later I photo-shopped candles into all of the windows. This summer I punched pinholes in all of the candle images and glued an LED behind each. It came out just “OK” but wait till you see the next one. Anyway, here’s the result. Click on the image to see it full-sized.

Another completed project was a redux of my Gateway web page. This page is an overview and entry point for most if the things I have on the web. Click on the image below to be taken there (but please come back.)

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OUR WEEKEND TRAVELS

I don’t get to do the beach anymore so Barbara and I resumed our weekend driving to other places. We particularly enjoyed driving out the dock roads of West Creek and Cedar Run on the mainland opposite Long Beach Island. These both lead to Manahawkin Bay and are characterized by a lot of one-off homes built over the years and ranging from tiny shacks to McMansions.

We also explored the so-called Seven Bridges Road out of Tuckerton which leads to Great Bay. Turns out they never built two of the seven and the official name is Great Bay Boulevard. It passes a number of small marinas or launching ramps and dead ends at Great Bay. Here’s a typical lonely marina from the past.

And what are the odds of running into a traffic light out on the marshes? This one controls access to a one-lane bridge and has a mate on the other side.

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AND THROUGH FORSYTHE

We enjoyed two drive-throughs at the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville. The first was an overcast day but we photographers know that bad days can help create appealing images. Here’s an Osprey family silhouetted against my old home town. (Colleagues: the pole’s leaning; not the photographer.)

On another day we arrived during the mid-tide drainage of the waters bounded by the perimeter road. Those in the know seek out the culverts at this time in order to dine on the fish leaving the interior ponds in the tidal flow.

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BACK HOME

Summer as with all seasons has its bad days. But for a photographer some bad days mean an opportunity to add feeling to a scene. A foggy day does that well.

And on only a slightly better day this Cormorant was thinking about where to dive next.

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I close with this image making its fifth year-end appearance. It symbolizes our sadness about Covid and its effect on so many, and it has always symbolized my sadness at the end of a season with my family.

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NOW, ON TO NEXT YEAR WITH

FINGERS CROSSED.