Category Archives: beach

Chalk Up Another

After a few days of northerly gales, I got up this morning to hear about another oceanfront building succumbing to the perils of the sea. It was not unexpected. I wanted to have a look, and the area south of the Rodanthe pier was ground zero.

There was already a contingent on hand to see the spectacle. With visitors here, I’m sure most of them had never seen such a sight. Walking in I saw photographer friends, Don Bowers and Dan Pullen. Sauntering around various vantage points, I settled in on a wind-protected elevated perch where Don and Dan joined me. They were shooting up a storm.

Over the years I’ve lost count how many buildings I’ve seen destroyed. I’d venture that it approaches 50. In 2008 I watched one on Sea Haven Street actually buckle and go down.

Today after a 2 hour wait I got to witness another one in the process. It was leaning eastward on piles high over the beach as waves plowed beneath it.

 After an hour we heard a little snap. Fifteen minutes later another cracking sound. It was then I knew it was going to sea. Five minutes later we heard another crunch. A minute passed and the creaking picked up into a crash. Suddenly before our eyes, the foundation gave way and lowered the structure on to the incoming waves. It reminded me of the Wicked Witch  getting splashed with water and melting away.

In a matter of seconds, it had collapsed…

At first it floated around, teetering in the surf.

As water poured in, it began breaking apart, expelling contents.

Dan got up-close and personal as a wall of debris washed toward him.

In less than 5 minutes, you’d never know it was a two story house.

As man builds so close to the sea, the messy spectacle continues!

Parting Shots

Some of my first memories living on Hatteras Island involved surfing next to the Salvo shipwreck. Locals referred to it as the Richmond. It was, and still is an iconic feature of the village. Over the years, even surrounded by tumultuous seas, it has held fast and never budged.

According to state records it is the remnants of the Pocahontus, a Civil War transport steamer that wrecked during a storm in 1862.

I go to it regularly, sometimes checking the waves, to meditate, relax or take some pictures. Last Saturday I did just that. It was a beautiful day, waves rolling in with four cormorants perched on it.

Early Sunday morning an approaching front brought gale force winds. Anxious to see the transforming ocean conditions, I drove out on the beach to see how it looked. Hunkered in my truck, I photographed the wreck through a windswept downpour. 

I shoot impulsively. So could these be my last photographs of 2021?

Maybe not!

Larry

There are 3 kinds of hurricanes, good, bad and somewhere in between. The good ones stay far offshore as did Hurricane Larry most recently. As a beachcomber, I have always loved watching the power and beauty of waves. That fascination has been a constant subject for my photography since beginning life on Hatteras nearly 50 years ago.

Traveling from several hundred miles away, Larry’s waves arrived as a south swell, with a hefty current sweeping northward. Most of the surfers left the island for points north where conditions were smaller and more approachable.

I hadn’t worked a beachscape in a few years, and felt I was in the company of an old friend. It was just me, my camera and Larry’s pulse.

The outside bars were breaking nicely.

The inside bars were hard and hollow.

I was entertained by an occasional wave rolling back into an oncoming one.

Larry put on a show and was good to stay well off the coast.

Christmas 2020

For years, I went to my parents’ house for Christmas, although sometimes I’d stay at home here on the island. Christmas Day on Hatteras is a time of indescribable peace, quiet and hardly any traffic. There’s no feeling like it any other day of the year. Most transplants leave and travel to be with families elsewhere. The beaches are nearly empty and it would seem those still here have the entire place to themselves.

Combing the beaches on Christmas Day I’ve found a traditional symbol of the time, what I’d call makeshift Christmas trees. Whenever I see them they touch my heart and, I photograph them.

Christmas Day of 2018 this undecorated tree stood out on an empty beach.

On Christmas Day of 2019, I was happy to see this naturally decorated one. They’re always anonymous and delightful to see.

Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving Past

Thanksgiving spawns memories of togetherness. A fond recollection for me took place 5 years ago. Members of my family rented a vacation house in Avon, and a Thanksgiving meal was planned around 6 o’clock. What made this one so special is that my 91 year old mother was there.

As Denise and I headed south to join them, the sun was beginning to set. We were just approaching beach access Ramp 25 when I noticed a tinge of color in the clouds, so I pulled over and watched one of the best rainbow displays I had ever seen. Normally gone in a few minutes, this one stayed bright and brilliant for nearly twenty minutes.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was to be the last Thanksgiving that I shared with my mother…. and it was a good one.