CLOUDY DAY COMPOSITIONS

I slept in until 7 (?).  I wondered why and discovered that cloud cover had kept the light level low.  While waiting for the caffeine to boot my head’s RAM I enjoyed the swirling cloud clumps.  Yep, picture time.

Here’s Liberty Thorofare and Mordecai Island, looking north to the center of  Beach Haven.

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At the foot of my street is Cotov’s boat landing, family owned and maintained for over seventy years, a unique reminder of Beach Haven’s past as a fishing community,.

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There have been two generations of Cotovs know as Captain Bly.  The third generation, young Nick Cotov, continues to maintain the property, rent boat slips, care for the martin houses, and harvest bait for sale to the island day-boat rental places.

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The original fishing boat, the Sultan, has been on blocks since I moved here in 2001.  She suffers a little more each year.  At one time, the late Nick,Sr. had offered it to the Tuckerton Seaport.  Not everything gets done.  Hemmed in by Sandy debris, the vegetation moves to enfold her.  Sic transit gloria.  No matter; if my RAM continues to work, I’ll know where she is.

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It’s hard for me to think about lobsters off-shore of central Jersey.  Everybody knows they come only from Maine.  But that wasn’t always so.  The family worked lobster traps off-shore here for many years.  Now, the traps age along with Sultan.

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In the brush and vegetation that is engulfing Sultan and the lobster traps there is still the here-and-there flash of color, seeking to reproduce itself.  As a centerpiece the wild aster says, even with a dark cloud cover, still, “It’s a beautiful day in Beach Haven.”  Thank you, Walter Smedley (R.I.P.) for this wonderful statement.

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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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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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