Wednesday, August 31, 2011


The day or so before Hurricane Irene was scheduled to arrive on the New Jersey coast, having already battened up the house, stowed away outdoor furniture, trash cans, flower pots etc, I got out early with my camera.

Of course my first destination was the beach where the sun had just come up.

Then I hopped in my car, before stowing it in the garage for the duration of the storm, to take what I thought would be my last picture of the causeway shack. I had already planned a name for the shot I would take after the hurricane - "Good night Irene".

I then walked around the neighborhood to see what people were doing before complying with the mandatory evacuation - we had already made the decision to stay. Our neighbors behind us were taking a last dip in the outdoor Jacuzzi.

Or out with camera, as I was, after measuring the beach to see how much sand we would lose.

Carol Freas, our friendly artist and barber was trimming her husband's hair. Chuck, my sister and I immediately got in line.

And the shop at the corner was already boarded up in preparation for high winds.

As were our friends on the ocean front.

Later that day I returned to the beach to see what was happening to the beach replenishment as the sky darkened and the surf increased. This cliff had been created by the high tides,

And was gradually being breached by the waves.

As the surf gained strength huge plumes of salt water and sand were thrown up into the air. I decided it was time to leave.

Looking back, there was still plenty of beach in front of the dune fence. I would wait to see what Irene did.


After spending the day glued to the TV while working on a jigsaw puzzle, and an amazingly good night's sleep, we went to a friend's walkway by the ocean to assess the damage.

At first light we could see that the ocean had come up and broken some of the dune fence.

Going back a short time later we could see that it was still doing so.

The bay at the end of the street was churned to a fury,

And water covered the street. Damage in Surf City was non-existent and we never lost electricity or water. Later we learned that the eye had broken apart before reaching our island and the storm had been downgraded to a tropical storm with gusts no higher than 55 mph, a typical winter nor'easter. We really dodged a bullet - not so with a good part of the East that is suffering with massive flooding.

After the storm the sun returned by 4:00 in the afternoon prompting a beach walk. The jettys (groins) which had been covered by sand had reappeared.

The rocks were still covered with barnacles, though now quite dead.

The waves threw up interesting plumes against the blue sky,

and sprays of mist as they collided with the off shore winds.

Long buried sand reappeared to create patterns on part of the beach

The surfers returned in large numbers,

And exited the ocean with big smiles.

When the sun shone on the ocean spray it created a rainbow of colors.

This shop owner said it all with his newly written message. All we "Islanders" are very happy to be safe, and very sorry for the in-landers who are still struggling with their after effects of Hurricane Irene.

P.S. The Causeway Shack still looks the same.

Friday, August 19, 2011


The other night I received a very welcomed call from Sandy Sandy, a wonderful artist and photographer who I see too rarely. She had a new camera and lens and wanted to come to the island early in the morning to try it out on the beach. In preparation I took a quick walk to on beach to see what I could see.

This fisherman was really getting into spirit of the sport in going after the fish - if the waves don't get him first.

The June beach replenishment, which I documented on an earlier post, covers the jettys for the time being, and took away a source of food for the gulls. This lone gull found one newly exposed rock complete with muscles.

The beach was speckled with the occasional moon jelly fish which if stepped on was very slippery.

These four little girls scared -

These four sandpipers which took off over the waves. There were photos to be had.

However, the next morning we decided to head first to the light house at the northern end of the island. Though the light wasn't very good, someone had gone to the trouble to arrange rocks into a heart and peace sign.

This young father was out on an early walk with his young children following, while, as he told me his wife got to sleep in late.

After admiring some of the flowers by the light house on the way to the car, we decided to head for the Viking Village, the home of most of the commercial scallop and fishing boats on the island.

Having taken many pictures of the fleet on other days, my eyes when to this colorful pile of nets on the dock behind one of the boats.

And on the boat itself these shredded lines were still wet with water, though the largest droplet at the bottom of this strand dropped off before I got my camera out and focused.

On the bay side of the docks the grasses picked up the sunlight as the sky cleared momentarily.


Leaving the Viking Village we headed south towards the other end of the island, looking along the way for an interesting entrance to the beach. The replenishment and new walkway made it difficult.

I suggested we stop at the Surf City Yacht Club to see if anything might be going on there - it wasn't. However the view of the causeway bridge is always good from the waterfront.

The sunfish fleet lay idly on the shore -

And the American flag and Yacht Club burgee were just being hoisted up the yardarm.

Moving down the island on the ocean road, we continued to look for an interesting beach entrance at the end of the streets - finally stopping at this one.

The walk over the dune was worth it, providing this view of the ocean and beach as I remember it before they "replished" our beach. Ours will surely return to "the way it was" after a few good storms.

Though the sun was now higher in the sky, the dune fence still provided some interesting shadows.

Reaching the end of the island at Holgate, Sandy continued to work with her new camera. Check out some of her photos on her blog -

As we were heading back to the car I spied this hurriedly parked little girl's bike along with her shoes. I am sure her feet were already deep in beach sand.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Now that we are back at the Jersey Shore, to beautiful weather I might add, my thoughts return to the wonderful 3 weeks we had in Crested Butte, Colorado. The saying out there is, "people come for the winter, and stay for the summer" - and this year, especially, it is understandable why.

Our first morning in our Colorado home we were greeted with this spectacular view of the wildflowers and Red Lady Bowl at the top of Mt Emmons.

But our first chore was to stock up of cat food for our 4 legged family members necessitating a trip to Pet Smart in Montrose. On the way to Gunnison we encountered a cattle drive, a common occurrence here in the mountains.

On the way to Montrose we were impressed with the Height of the water in Blue Mesa. With the melt off of the big snow pack of last winter and the heavy rains of the early summer, it was filled to the brim.

In fact it had overflowed to the other side of the road creating lakes of clear reflections.

Back in Crested Butte the Slate River had deposited new "sand bars" from the early fast run-off.

The horses across the street were in heaven with luxurious grasses and wild flowers to munch on during the afternoons and evenings.

But they still came in willingly each morning to get their special treat of oats before the day of taking riders up on Snodgrass began.

Lucky horses - a corral with a view!!

A bit further down the valley these fortunate horses were saved from a glue factory by a local rancher for $1 each (with probably many more $$$ in vet bills). They arrived starving and in poor health but have been regaining strength feasting of the nourishing vegetation of the Gunnison Valley, and some have already been adopted.