SUMMER SNAPSHOTS

Coffee on the deck at sunrise. The 70° wind is out of the NW at about 9 knots.  The humidity’s low after a cool night in the   60’s, and the bright early-morning sun is warming the Great White and Great Blue Herons resting in a copse out on Mordecai Island.  The pair of Ospreys which favors us in August, on their way to some more hospitable space, is breakfasting on the stand on Mordecai. the Purple Martins have left on their way to samba in Brazil, and as another part of the general migration, my kids and their dogs and one cat have gone home to prepare for the fall semester.  Clearly fall is headed this way and I haven’t even posted any summer snapshots.

The Centennial Sneakbox race

The club’s Centennial weekend was hectic but fun and full of warm feelings about the years.  Sunday afternoon’s highlight was the sneakbox races.  These shoal boats began their lives as low-profile hunting boats which drew very little water and could thus hide themselves in cuts through the marsh grasses.  They evolved to the racing world and, pigs though they were, the kids learned on them for many years into the mid-90’s when the Opti Prams were adopted.  Those in the picture had all been restored and returned to their sailing days for one afternoon.

Saturday night brought the dinner dance where over 500 gathered to reminisce.  Descendants of the 1912 founders were well represented.

I thought the summer was the hottest I could remember and it seems that those who keep track of such things have reported that it was.  There were many days when this was the best possible thing to do, especially before the boomers rolled in.

But some days you couldn’t do much of anything except maybe put your feet up with a good book.

Barbara hosted her biennial gathering of her family from around the country, arranging a lovely place for all of them right on the bay.  Lots of fishing and water sports.

Aside from my kids having to return early — one to pre-season soccer practice, the other to start at Cornell, it’s been a good summer.  As you can see from the snapshot below with Bob, my favorite son-in-law, I haven’t aged much more.  The glasses of icewater were refreshing on a warm evening.

AUGUST AMBLES AWAY

August is getting ready to follow July; I can feel it.  Aside from Irene it was a pleasant time.  Even though I expected Irene to slam us we escaped with minimal damage.  The eye touched Jersey about five miles from my house.  My damage?  One half of a shingle; no water on my utilities/storage floor with its elevation of 4.7 feet.  I live as far from the beach as I did when a 140 mph hurricane (life was simpler then; no storm names) brushed Margate in 1944.  During that storm I watched room-sized sections of boardwalk float by the house and became a believer.

Anyway, August is heading out.  The morning light is warmer on the spartina grass, emphasizing its fall shades of amber-brown.  This year’s flock of almost 200 Purple Martins left about three weeks ago and Nick’s son, Nicky, lowered the houses before Irene. 

Vacancy

 Below is the annual August round-Mordecai-Island trophy race for kids.  We see this and we sigh, “Summer’s almost over.”  I’ve enjoyed seeing more and more paddle-boarders out this summer.  I missed one earlier this month who was out there with his dog on the board!?!

Sorry ladies. Those hulls are not allowed in this race.

Of course we had a couple other routine August storms.  It’s nice sitting on the deck under the rotunda roof and hearing the rain patter above.  Even nicer to see the promise that sometimes shows up.

Tomorrow's coming.

There was sadness in August, as well.  I lost my friend, Nick Cotov, a second generation fisherman.  He operated the boat landing at the foot of my street where we’ve kept our boats since we moved here.  He and his father had commercially lobstered from here and also brought in other fresh fish from off shore.   Our friends speak of going there on a Friday night in the 50’s and buying fresh lobsters.

Cotov's Boat Landing

For Nick in retirement it was a place to come to be back by the water, to build stuff, to work on the restoration of Sultan, the family fishing boat, to inspect for tenants at the Osprey rack across the thorofare from his place, or just to get away from it all. 

Rack for rent. Nick's phone number on the sign.

Nick was a solid citizen, a great guy, and a genuine local.  His father had become known as Captain Bly and Nick cheerfully adopted the title.  My first exposure to his style was our first New Year’s Eve here.  As night descended I saw the Sultan emerge all gussied up for Christmas.

Sultan at Christmas

Nick deserves more coverage than this post can provide.  There are some great stories.  I’m sad that there’s an empty chair there now.

An empty chair.

THE ANNUAL TWILIGHT SAIL

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One of the highlights of the summer season is the Twilight Sail around Mordecai Island, just west of Beach Haven.  The event began with hamburgers and a keg on the deck.  After dinner we strolled down the dock to find a boat with some room in it.  For a little background music (dated, I know), click on  the arrow below.

 

 

 

 

 

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We boarded a boat and after some milling around the start horn was sounded and we were off.

 

 

 

 

 

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Unfortunately, the wind was light and variable and soon we were all tacking in different directions (some not so good).

 

 

 

 

 

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         But, the party mood prevailed.  Here is our lovely masthead figure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eventually the twlight closed in on us and we returned safely to the dock after a great, fun evening.