It begins with all that’s involved.  Onto the island (Long Beach) and I am slowed by the reactivated traffic lights. In all innocence I pull into the Acme to pick up some milk.  The checkout line is half the width of the wide store.  But folks are in a good mood and there is a guide moving us quickly to the next available register.

Eventually at the house, fully de-winterized by Sigrid and Bob and freshly cleaned.  I greet my beloved marshes and bay.


Saturday brings some ticket punching …. bagels from the Bagel Shack, hello-ing on the deck in front of the club house, check out the logo shirts from the Ship’s Store and even buy one, and what-did-you-forget from Murphy’s Market.

Saturday night is to be the annual club opening ceremony and there is anxiety about the thunderstorm forecast.  The wind is whipping around and the clouds are thickening.  The flag and burgees for the opening ceremony are secured, ready to go.


The flag officers make a command decision: order the tent, a budget-breaker but prudent.


The members and guests arrive to greet each other and catch up and renew friendships and revel in the camaraderie.  The weather holds and the ceremonies go forth in sunlight while the rest of us are tent-protected just in case.  Trustees and officers lined up, Fleet Captain Tom Masterson welcomes us to


Fleet Chaplain Bob Stevens gives the invocation; the bugler plays the call to colors….


and that goes well.

and then he plays the poignant, moving Navy Hymn,

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep,
Its own appointed limits keep.

Oh hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!



Commodore Van Saun makes welcome and interesting comments and the lineup of past Commodores is introduced — twenty-five present tonight representing all those years of dedication and service to the club.

They stand according to year of service, the oldest in service here being Commodore John Walton who presided in 1976, forty-two years ago.


The Chaplain prays a blessing for the fleet and the season … apparently a good prayer as it kept the storm at bay.



The next day, a warm feeling about the evening.  Good, because the day deteriorated to more of a traditional, chilly, overcast Memorial Day.  By afternoon the fog had descended and the island seemed to have drifted away and the gas logs were lit.

A great inaugural weekend.  Now, when does summer begin?


A nor’easter storm hit the Jersey coast on Monday and it proved fearsome.  High winds gusting to 60 mph, high seas, and coastal flooding.  Originally projected to be low to moderate flooding, the reality exceeded expectations.  From what I could see on Facebook I began to worry.  One graphic showed the surge tide at nearby Atlantic City at 6′;  my ground floor storage area pad is at 4′  My two engineering degrees helped me conclude that I might have a problem so I drove down Tuesday to inspect.

Long Beach Boulevard was closed because of flooding (earlier it had been closed from Shipbottom to Beach Haven).  In fact, before I diverted I passed a couple of ducks paddling on the boulevard.  I then drove down the higher-dryer Beach Avenue to my place in Beach Haven.  When I opened the backdoor I found that the floor was only slightly covered with water.  There had been enough, however, for the elevator pit to become a 5″ deep pond.  Oh, well;  cleanup time and my terrific son-in-law, Bob has volunteered to see to it.

I checked the rest of the house and found that we had lucked out as far as any leakage so I headed down to Holgate to see how the surfer’s beach had made out: Lots of damage.




In the foreground are the remains of some dune fencing, installed to help resist dune erosion.  Further out and straddling the jetty is a large section of railing from a walkway that led onto the beach over a dune.


The walkway came from further north along the beach.  Here we see what’s left of the dune after the waves had their way.



Southward on the beginning of the Forsythe Preserve below Holgate there was this pile of dune fencing.  Pieces that had broken loose from the wiring were scattered far and wide; great material with which to make driftwood frames.




Our friends, Nancy and Bob D., have a home in the beach block of Essex Avenue.  They lost access to the beach last summer from nor’easters so I drove there to see if it had worsened.  The walkway had the ominous yellow Police Closed tape across it.  I certainly wouldn’t cross such a line but, mysteriously,  I found this image later on my cell phone.


The dark line is some kind of cloth which was put down to support the orange gravel base for the walkway.  That walkway originally sloped gently out and down for some distance to the “old” beach and the then-shoreline beyond.  The under-layment now stretches more steeply down to the “new” beach, about 30′ to 40′ below.

Scary.  They should put Police Closed tape across the entrance.


Note to my fellow photographers:  I deliberately chose not to correct the horizon of this cliff scene.  I tried it but the result wasn’t as stark as the reality.




I wanted to get away to foliage country but I couldn’t get it together.  I dithered over a destination.  My photography colleague, Ken C., had kindly given me some itineraries for the Lake Placid area.  I was tempted but felt it was too far to go alone.  Next I thought about the gorges at Ithaca, NY but also ruled that out for the driving.  I even thought about Ricketts Glen;  I wouldn’t have climbed up very far because of my prior experience there.  As a last resort I decided to work the Catskills beginning with a Saturday major train collectors show in Kingston.  The welcome signs were out … for any other weekend.

So, bent and determined to get away for a couple days I returned to the shore.  I found that, as advertised, summer has definitely left, but there was lots to enjoy.  Friday night the skies were clear so I headed to the southern end of Long Beach Island to try and photograph the Milky Way.  The quarter moon made that difficult so I made some lemonade.  The moon’s sheen on Beach Haven inlet was beautiful.

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The Milky Way was there albeit dimmed by the moon and Casino City’s lights.  It’s still a sobering sight when developed.  It always makes me think of Dave Bowman’s exclamation as he flew his pod into the monolith (2001; in the book not the movie).  “My God!  It’s full of stars.”

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I was so pleased with my evening’s work that I set the alarm for sunrise.  Back at Holgate again, I was rewarded with great color although not much cloud structure nearby.  Another of life’s many, simple pleasures, shared with the gulls and four other early risers.  Two of them were from Easton, PA.  Wait, they’re supposed to be up there enjoying foliage.

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After breakfast I headed off to Cape May.  There I found fall foliage — if you’ll let me include Goldenrod.  Cape May enthusiasts will recognize this as Sunset Point with its concrete ship, the S. S. Atlantus.  Intended to be a part of a Lewes-Cape May ferry dock, it broke loose and grounded here in a 1926 storm.

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After lunching here in the wind I headed off to the light house area and the adjacent Wetlands State Natural Area.  There were more bird-watchers here than birds.  Lots of oooohs and aahhhs — “Look, there’s a Tennessee Warbler in the goldenrod.”  (What does a southern accent warble sound like?)  Thousands of dollars worth of telescopes and cameras with their stove-pipe long lenses.  I was delighted to find just a couple of Monarch Butterflys enjoying the goldenrod.

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I finished the day with a walk along one of the trails which brought me to the beach and some more beach fall foliage.

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The next morning I made a coffee and headed back to the beach for sunrise, this time at the Pearl Street pavilion in Beach Haven.  The sea was calm with small wavelets breaking within a few feet of the shore line.  It was chilly — about 40°, but absolutely awesome.  Looking left and right and seeing as far as the Revel casino (about 17 miles away as the gulls fly) I counted only six souls in view.

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After the sublime God beams, to Fred’s Diner for a perfect breakfast.  Then home, delighted with my non-foliage weekend.





One of our Long Beach Island symbols for many years has been the Fisherman’s Shack.  More properly a hunters’ shack it was said to date from the 20’s and to have been on the marshes adjacent to Route 72 since the 50’s.   It became a traditional signal that one had arrived at the beach and, passing it on the way home, a farewell to happy vacation memories.  Unfortunately the years took their toll and the shack deteriorated.  There were outcries for preservation, and volunteers installed interior bracing.  When I last photographed it three years ago the roof was gone and the internal bracing 2×4’s could be seen.


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I had photographed it earlier in 2005 when its character was still on display.

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The 2005 winter image became the basis for a Christmas Card, and many prints of it have since been sold at craft/art shows.

There have been hundreds of Shack scenes, photographs and paintings, but only one with a Christmas Tree in a gentle winter’s night snowfall.

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Well, Hurricane Sandy came and went last fall, and the Shack went with it.  It was completely flattened and its timbers were disbursed to the meadows.  This was a very sad event for residents and the thousands of annual visitors to LBI.   A strange thing, however, happened to me this past week.  I was returning to the island on a sun-filled, puffy cloud day.  Held up by traffic I momentarily looked over at the Shack’s former site.

Wonder of wonders…..a phenomenon….. some weird diffraction of the sun’s rays…..a shimmering mirage.  Whatever… it was briefly there and saying softly,


“Please don’t forget me.”


Gone But Not Forgotton E 700 B