BACK TO SUMMER

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Comes June and my digital darkroom heads to the beach.  It isn’t easy, especially at my age (about 34 but, yeah, that’s just from the brain up).  It’s not like getting ready for a shore weekend; it’s packing for two to three months.  There are a couple of soft-goods trips but on the BIG day, the day of the groceries and frig contents, of 32 house plants, of  three printers and the spare inks and 15 varieties/sizes of print paper and the monitor and the tower and the Bose speakers and the wireless keyboard and mouse and the backup drives and all those cables and tiny power supplies (now which one goes where?) and the laptop, and………………

The BIG day is when my daughter, Sigrid, shows up with her GMC and loads up alllllllll that stuff and a couple suitcases, too.   And after she’s loaded the Jimmy she pulls out the two meat loafs she made for me and has time to fluff up the pillows in the town house before we leave.  Then she hauls all my stuff down Route 72 to the island and up to my suite.  Sweet.

Then, I have to find that button that causes everything to put itself away.  Right.

But I digress.  For such a major grunt, why do it?  In part so that I can see and capture the beauty and drama of scenes like the opening image.  It is soul-cleansing.

As my artist friend, Marilyn Flagler, once said “Living near the ocean means continual washing off of the sometimes grimy dust of living.”

~≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡~

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But they’re not all dramatic mornings, are they?  While I was preparing this post there was a foggy morning. My friend, Fog,  always creates a mood of mystery and this morning was on script.

All sound is softened.  It’s still … and moody.  Yes, follow this marker and the posts to …. to where?

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The stillness of sound and light, however, can also reveal other scenes as in this still life.

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On the beach there’s a parade of marching dune grass, added to help stabilize the new, giant dunes.

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Back at my house the fog had left droplets on my Rambler Roses.  The roses and I both liked that.

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As the day moved on the fog lifted to the point where I began to think about a sunset image.  In the event, however, the clouds proved more interesting than the sunset.

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“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.”
–Richard Bach, Johnathan Livingston Seagull

~≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡~

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All but one of these captures were made in the past few days.  I’ve posted , however, on the 21st, the day on which summer began at 12:24 AM.  Glad to see it.

But, there’s always a slight concern for me. It means that the days will now start being a little shorter; a second or so today, three tomorrow…..

Does that mean I have to pack up and go back home already?

 

 

SEPTEMBER SONG

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Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December
But the days grow short when you reach September
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
And I haven’t got time for the waiting game.

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I get it … I get it.   Summer’s slipping away.  Fall is flexing its muscles.

The juvenile gulls are screeing for Mom to feed them, wondering what happened to the dole.

Each evening the sun slowly sneaks a little bit further south.  I’m watching you, sun, and I know where you’re going;  I’ll catch up with you again in January at Sanibel.  Meanwhile, the mornings can be hoody but the days are still hot to balmy.  The last-of-the-season vacationers have gone from the Bagel Shack every morning.  The Shack also put up plastic curtains around its outside eating area to ward off the early morning chill.

There are pumpkins and potted chrysanthemums at the Acme.

After the reds of sunrise the early morning photons are mostly yellow.  They paint the marshes, enhancing the glow the grasses have worked all summer to achieve.

The old Great Blue Heron basks in the copse on nearby Mordecai Island. I look at him thru the binoculars and see him looking back at me. He’s got the early morning sun; I’ve got the coffee; neither would trade.

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Nor would I trade for the summer experience.

From a post four years ago:

“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon …. the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

Henry James.

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With family and friends it was a good summer.  Here are some memories:

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The annual Twilight Sail – one of the best events of the summer.

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Even on cloudy days the beach is still a place to be.

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Storms are part of summer, indeed, of life, and they bring their own drama and stark beauty.

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In mid-August part of the A-cat fleet arrived for the Downbay Regatta weekend.  Always exciting, and seven of them this year.

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Summer brings fog as well, drawing me to …. where?

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One day, friends arrived for lunch!?!

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Our captain, Jenn, for the twilight sail.

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Nobody to protect.

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On Labor Day afternoon the guards went off duty at the usual 5:00PM.  As they climbed the dune to leave the beach they turned, blew a long whistle and waved goodbye.  Those still holding tightly onto the sand and summer waved back.  I’m told this is customary in order to warn all that the beach protection was off duty.  On this day, however, marking the season’s end for the guards as well, it was poignant.

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The day after summer.

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Shucks, I guess the season’s over.

I closed with this image a couple of years ago.  I’m reusing it because it’s perfect for the mood.*

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*There’s also a techy note about using Nik’s Tonal Contrast on this image  The note is on one of the tabs at the top of this post.

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A SPRING FOG

My friend, Fog, showed up again.   I haven’t seen him for about a year and a half.  He’s probably been skulking here and there but not in front of my camera until last Saturday.  That afternoon I drove to the shore for an overnight getaway.  As I left the mainland at Manahawkin  the temperature dropped and the fog appeared.  The Ocean County Sheriff’s office had been warning about this, and they were right.  I dumped Pearl at the house and headed to the beach.  Here was the scene at about 5:30.

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It was still light enough to see what was happening but the approaching mists were clearly on the way.  Just to the left of this walkway leading to the beach I was also welcomed by blooms of bayberry.  I don’t remember seeing this profusion before.  They were enjoying the moisture of the mists.

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As the evening progressed the mists crept further into the town, bringing the usual mystery, silence, and dimmed lights.  There is no motion as though the mist absorbs anything that dares move.  I wonder as I write this about the connection between the words mist and mystery.  It’s there.  Later, the view through one of the windows brings out the same feelings.

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At the docks at the foot of the street the fog had also taken charge.  Nothing moved here either except some shimmer.  Even the in-residence Purple Martins were anxious and just hanging out on their perches.

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The next morning the drive to Fred’s Diner was a matter of cleaving through the fog.  At Fred’s there was breakfast and life.  Friends reappeared,  my last view of them having been on Labor Day.  Materialization from the fog?  No, snap out of it.

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After breakfast, a drive south to the tip of Holgate on the edge of the wildlife refuge.  First sight was this sentinel, also a residue of last year.

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The jetty there was taking a beating.

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Down on the sand, the swells were impressive.

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On the other side of the jetty the dampened swells provided only a modest challenge to this young boy, ready for a day on the beach and the fog be damned..

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Fog is fascinating to me.  For my earlier posts on the subject click on the blue titles below:

Fall Fog at the shore – November 2013

Fog, A Little Before Breakfast – December 2011

Fog Blog, A – Beach and bay scenes – September 2010

Foggy Fall Days at the shore – Ole October – October 2011

Fog Fix, A – July 2011 -Beach and bay scenes, Charon fishing, Pearl Street pavilion, Sandberg’s “Fog”.

Fog, Fall at the Shore – November 2013

Foggy Farewell, A farewell to Charleston Moor – November 2011

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WHERE MY CAMERA TAKES ME – II

It would be a cliche to refer to my camera as my flying carpet so pay no attention to this sentence.  My camera, however, does, indeed, travel with me, and I gather scenes along the way.  Typically there aren’t enough to justify a post so once in a while I thumb through that hamper and find some scenes to speak with you about.

A few weeks ago we drove down to Winterthur, always a pleasant trip.  We were early or the March bank was late so most of the daffodils and blue scilla were just watching the weather channel and waiting.  The hillsides, nevertheless, were handsome and there were lots of flowers here and there including crocuses such as these.

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I liked the image but it wasn’t a great scene so I “enhanced” it with Topaz’s Impression software filter.  I like it better, now.

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I also liked this Winterthur scene below.  Some of the blue scilla can be seen but mostly snow drops (Galanthus).  What struck me, however, were the tall trees against the dark sky, with last year’s leaves still in place, lit by cross-lighting which is always a more dramatic light (thanks to Kurt Budliger for teaching me that a couple years ago).

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We’ve also been to the beach a couple of times, in fact to a couple of beaches.  I wanted to revisit the Foxes of Island Beach (a good name for a novel?).  My colleagues and friends have enjoyed many excellent captures there this winter and I had meant to get down before the snow melted but life got in the way.  Anyway, a nice visit and here’s one of the results.  I was pleased with this uncropped image taken with my lens at 105mm.

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On yet another day we visited the place where summer lives.  It was a glorious yes-spring-is-coming day.  This scene is from the beach at Holgate.  Please no letters and phone calls about the specular light reflections.  I did use my polarizer but I love this kind of light and I refuse to dampen it all away.  Also, yes, Atlantic City’s casinos should be in the background but it didn’t fit my artistic intent.  Let them get their own photographers.

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Now, what else has happened?  Oh, yeah, spring seems to have arrived here on campus.  I enjoyed this scene this past week as the cherry blossoms emerged.

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Walking on the red trail behind my apartment I found this tree in beautiful bloom.  This was more into the woods and so didn’t have an arboretum name plate.  My best guess is wild cherry but I’m consulting others more knowledgeable.  Regardless of its name it was lovely.

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 Finally for this post, Barbara and I attended a party at Basking Ridge and then elected to drive home through Frenchtown, a pleasant little community on the Delaware River with a bridge over to Pennsylvania.  We’ve enjoyed a visit here before.  One crosses over a small river when entering Frenchtown which continues on to the nearby Delaware.  It takes almost as long to say the name of the river, the Nishisakawick, as it does to drive through town.  It’s a quirky little village with some fun shops and good eating places.

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Just down Route 29 from the village center we found an eclectic shop owned by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, a search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia.  My daughter, Sigrid, knew of it and suggested we visit it.  The shop, more a warehouse, is filled with statuary from those countries, numerous other goodies, and a free fresh popcorn.  On the way out I photographed this Dancing Shiva in silhouette, a symbolic end to a lovely weekend.

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A SEPTEMBER DAY ON THE BEACH

We’ve all heard it:  September’s the best month at the shore.  Weeellll,  yes and no.

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This morning’s forecast was for showers to be followed by steady rain.  We decided to get a beach walk in before the showers and although one’s tan wasn’t going to benefit, it proved to be an interesting, fun time.

We enjoyed watching a kite-surfer which is still on my bucket list.  I thought it would be a shoo-in for the competition category, “Stopped in Mid-air”, but he left the water too soon.  Here he is trying to put it away, a lot of work.

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There were others enjoying the no-rain morning, and the water, though rough, was comfortable.

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There were a couple of guards on duty (through 9/14) and I imagine they were grateful for something to guard.

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As Barbara remarked, there were almost as many birds as people.  One of these was screeching, “OK you people.  Go home!”

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There was also another old bird saying “Happy Season’s End.”

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I’m also happy to note that in early September my photo galleries had their 500,000th page view.   Where do they come from???

These galleries were started on Pbase.com in February 2005.  Today there are some 4,400 images stored of which about half are public, displayed in some 170 galleries.

The home page for the galleries is http://www.pbase.com/bergiesplace

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FALL FOG AT THE SHORE

I drove down to the shore house to enjoy it for one more night this year and then to drain its bodily fluids for winter.  What a pleasure driving down the island at 45 mph through blinking traffic lights.  No wonder the locals resent our summer arrival with its return of traffic lights and lower speed limits.   The sky was overcast with broken clouds so no dramatic sunset but it was pleasant to have a couple drinks in front of the gas logs as they brought the house from its winter thermostat setting of 50°.  The near-full moon asserted itself through the spotty clouds and I kicked myself for not having brought my long lens.

Later, a good dinner at the Engleside and a good night’s sleep which Pearl ended at 7:30.  Not bad.  The day seemed gray.  At first I thought the window was just dirty but when I cracked the sliding door I saw that the fog was on its way.

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Later it began to thicken up.

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At the boat landing, however, there was a bright spot.  These marigolds have dodged the frosts so far.  I wished them well.

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I enjoyed one of my favorite breakfasts at Fred’s Diner and learned that they’ll close in two more weeks.  They weren’t busy so we could chat a little. He said that Sandy’s waters a year ago reached the tops of his booth tables. That’s scary.  The town looks as though it has recovered and it has been functional but there are still closed shops and homes that are sad shells.  The town really closes down though I know that several merchants will stay open through Christmas, and a handful even beyond.  Uncle Will’s and Buckalews will continue as oases till next season.  My year round friends down there will survive though some will surreptitously slip away to Florida for a few weeks.

After breakfast the fog was becoming thicker so I set off down Bay avenue to Holgate.  On the way I passed these tidal ponds in the marshes.

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Further down at the end of Bay Avenue at the entrance to the wildlife refuge the foggy waves were more interesting.

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At this time of year pickups and vans are permitted to drive onto the refuge beach for fishing.  Here, one just passed me and another can be dimly seen ahead of it.

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A surf fisherman was working three rods in front of me.

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And this seagull was working the fisherman.

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THE BEACH NAP

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                                                    THE FIRST BEACH NAP OF SUMMER

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The napper's view.

The napper’s view.

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               The waves, a sibilant roar.

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               The soft wind, a balm.

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               The warm sand, bumpy

               But accepting.

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               Sleep comes.

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              The wave sounds, restful.

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               The wind’s balm, soft.

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               The warm sand, bumpy

               But accepting.

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               Sleep moves in.

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CROSSING THE DUNE

The first Saturday in June dawned without the cold winds so I headed for the beach.  In my April 25th post I showed the way to the beach blocked by the artificial dune which the borough created after Sandy; now there’s a path.

Before & After

On the left is the little entrance deck which used to lead from the street behind you to the beach.  But, the image is from two years ago, and on the right is the new approach.  The deck is still there under the sand.

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The deck is still bounded by the Rugosa Roses which are at their peak of bloom in the spring.

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and the Dolphin tiki survived the storm.

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Once over the dune and onto the beach the desert analogy continues, the shadows of the mini-dunes being created by the early morning low light.  This is the view I see when I take my summer naps down here.  No, I didn’t capture this by dropping my camera onto the sand  but I was tempted; it’s tougher getting up from these shots than it used to be.

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The tidal pools drew both the gull and me.

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Later I drove through Holgate to the restored parking area at the entrance to the Forsythe Refuge.  Driving past the homes on the boulevard is still a sad, sobering experience.  Seen from the entrance to Forsythe a 10-15 knot wind from the southwest was pushing waves onto the beach.   We frequently impute a personality to the sea depending on its mood (and ours) .  Looking at these waves and thinking about the destruction through which I had driven I think the sea was saying “Don’t mess with me.”

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BACK TO THE BEACH

I made my first trip to the beach for the year and found things in good shape and headed for better.  I was pleased and impressed to find many stores open but there are more to come.  Even the Ferris Wheel was dressed up for the weekend.  Beach Haven favorites and stand-bys such as Buckalews and Uncle Will’s and Hands and Fred’s Diner are open for business.  There are, however, still many signs of damage and sadness as people work to restore their summer and even year-round homes.  My friend, Nick, continues to restore the boat landing at the end of my street where there is still evidence of damage but signs of life coming back.

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These tulips had about five feet of salt water above them during Sandy.  Yet, here they are.  Nick also has most of the Purple Martin houses re-erected.

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At the beach the artificial dunes created post-Sandy presently block the entrance from the street ends and give one the feeling of being on the edge of a great desert.

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Clearly, however, people are crossing the desert and the dune, and wandering around

Where'd everybody go?

Where’d everybody go?

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The erosion caused by Hurricane Sandy has exposed a number of groins and jetties from past years.

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It’s a good feeling to see people back enjoying what the beach has to offer.

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SANDY’S SAND (AND OTHER DEBRIS)

The streets and lots closest to the beach were left covered with sand, as much as two feet and more in spots and looking somewhat like snow drifts…but it wasn’t going to melt.  Amongst the many contractors who have arrived at the island to help out are those who are specializing in removing the sand, using front-end loaders which dump to trucks.  In Beach Haven, Taylor Avenue at the beach was designated as the transfer point for collected sand.  Here’s the process.

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Contractor’s trucks arrive from the right and dump onto the long sand pile in the background.  The orange clam shell dumps loads of collected sand into the hopper forward on the green truck.  From there it passes through the rotating brown-colored screen, falling down onto a conveyor which takes it to the beach on the left.  Debris in the sand which doesn’t fall through the screen moves on the conveyor belt on the right to a pile on he street.  There it will be picked up by the orange front end loader and trucked away to a debris consolidation site.

The cleaned output is then transferred to another truck which distributes it along the beach to restore the protective dunes.

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There is still much, much debris to be picked up elsewhere.  Here are the shops on the bay side of Bay Village.

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Much of the debris from Beach Haven (and probably Holgate) is brought to a transfer station at the bay end of Taylor Avenue.  Trucks arrive and have their contents screened by an inspector who scissors his cubicle up to look into the trucks (for what?).

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They then move into the transfer area and have their contents transferred to an interim pile.

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On the other side of the pile, two Star Wars creatures grab bucket-fulls of the stuff and place it in other trucks which then head off to the landfill in Stafford Township.   If you threw something out by mistake that’s where you’ll find it.

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Meanwhile, immune to the tragedy for a moment, here’s a testament to the future of Beach Haven.

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