LIFE ON A SANDBAR WITH A NOR’EASTER

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A FALL NON-FOLIAGE WEEKEND

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.

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GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

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,

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“Please don’t forget me.”

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Gone But Not Forgotton E 700 B

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