August 26, 2017

Shelly Island and the Great Power Outage

Filed under: beach,inlets and sandbars,Outer Banks,Sea — j0jgvm89bj @ 3:45 pm

When the bridge to Hatteras Island at Oregon Inlet was opened in 1962, it changed the way people live here. Road access and electricity made life easier for the locals and boosted the economy.

The recent power outage reminded me again that we’re living on an island and dependent upon on  mainland conveniences. Disruptions in electric service have been commonplace historically, but less common as transmission lines got updated.

After years of living here I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. The recent power outage is a good example. It came as a surprise and unlike numerous other events was due to a manmade error. Once the island was evacuated of visitors there was an immediate quietness from the busy peak-summer noises, and streets became eerily deserted.

For two days, a portable generator kept our freezer and refrigerator from spoilage and kept some lights on, until the electric co-op could bring in the generators to give us needed relief.

Luckily, during the outage we experienced the best weather of the entire summer. Temperatures moderated and humidity was minimal.

On a gorgeous evening, I rode my bike down the center of highway 12 without a car in sight.

To help in the repair, huge bucket trucks were staged on the road to the Rodanthe Pier.

Normally packed with fishermen, the pier was empty.

Throughout the Summer we kept hearing about the newly formed island off of Cape Point. This constantly changing location has always been a geographic phenomenon. There have been island shoals there before, but I haven’t witnessed one as large as the new Shelly Island.

It became wildly popular and made national news. The crowds out there made me want to avoid it. But when the lights went out, and the evacuation order came, I changed my mind.

That’s when I decided it was a perfect time to check it out.

Upon arrival we could see Shelly Island across the waves in the distance. There were a few people out there and perhaps 2 dozen vehicles parked along the Cape Point shoreline.

I saw children and adults frolicking in an ultimate water park. Tide pools created big spas and everyone was clearly having a wonderful time.

I was taken by a little girl happily playing with a doll.

My friends Chris and Chandra were paddling back after exploring the island.

Another paddle boarder was on his way over with his dog behind him.

People walked to and from the island on a shallow sandbar.

Once I waded to the island, I could understand it’s namesake, as a nice small wave rolled along shore.

A surfer cruised by on his long board.

Shelly Island is a shell seeker’s paradise.

Mike Bigney found and old piece of a shipwreck timber.

By some estimates, Shelly Island is a mile long.

In an unscheduled day off, the whole crew from Lisa’s Pizza was on hand to make a good time of it.

At the far end of Shelly is the shoal were north and south swells converge. It’s also been an area of numerous shark sightings. I expect to make more visits to Shelly Island.

 

 

 

 

May 11, 2015

End of the Road

Filed under: People,Sea,travel — j0jgvm89bj @ 9:56 pm

Continued from previous entry dated May 4, 2015…

What seemed a scavenger hunt, we knew we were headed in the right direction. Journal entries confirmed a place at the end of the road, near Ke’e Beach. There were references to an area revered by Hawaiians. Known as a Heiau (hey ow), locals told us it was next to the trailhead for the Na Pali Coast, at end of the road.

journal

Robin’s leather-bound journal from 2010 was the key.

trail info

The trail entrance to Na Pali is at the end of the road.

trail in

We found an overgrown path and walked through lush vegetation.

discovery

Approaching a rock wall, I felt elation, and knew this was the right place. The view was remarkable and whales spouted offshore. What an affirmation! Robin’s descriptions, photos and journal entries were a perfect match.

ocean view

Stones were laid in an orderly fashion by ancient Hawaiians. The site was a temple and served as a school for the Hula. Students would come from surrounding islands. It is said that the goddess Pele came here from the big island after hearing the drum beats.

arrangement

I tried to imagine what was here hundreds of years ago.

oval

There could have been thatched structures and large carved Tikis.

altar

A shelf in the rock wall looked like an altar where ceremonies could have taken place.

offering

Someone left offerings wrapped in Ti leaves and a beautiful flowered lei.

Ke'e

After finding the location of the Heiau, we explored the beach at Ke’e.

Haena

Ha’ena State Park is next to Ke’e.

Haena beach

The waves at Tunnels were big and breaking on the distant reef.

hanalei l

We spent some time on the wide crescent beach at Hanalei.

hanalei r

Surfers love Hanalei.

entry

The following day we began hiking the Kalalau Trail.

stream

There were torrents everywhere.

Ke'e overlook

The first overlook gave a spectacular view of Ke’e Beach.

precarious

At times the steep drop-offs were precariously close to the trail.

edge

coast

In a heavy downpour it got so muddy, we had to turn back after going in ¾ mile.

orchid

On the way back to our cottage, a man on the roadside sold us a lei made by his wife.

going up heiau

Early next morning we went to the Heiau with Robin’s ashes.

ascent

view from Heiau

It was a spectacular day, and a few whales breached from the ocean.

wall

We spent an hour contemplating the moment, and the sacredness of the site.

me

cocos

We placed the ashes up against a sheer rock wall, splashed an offering of Hawaiian rum and presented the lei.

lei

Our task was done.

 

 

May 4, 2015

The Journey

Filed under: Sea,travel — j0jgvm89bj @ 8:39 pm

In the Fall of 2013, I did some blogging about Robin. He had a rich life but now is gone. We said our goodbyes and have had lots of time to reflect. Robin had directives in place to disperse his possessions. But there was also a last request. He wanted his ashes taken to the island of Kauai.

After he lost his wife Carey, to cancer, he returned to Kauai in 2010 to scatter her remains. Years prior, they made a number of trips to the island. Carey worked as a nurse at the hospital in Lihue and went again in 1993, after Hurricane Inniki ravaged the island. They were both very fond of the place and told captivating stories about it.

Robin wanted his final wish to be carried out by me and Denise. His directions where to go, were not crystal clear. As clues, there were vague vocal descriptions about “the end of the road”. There were also some photographs and a journal that we used, to narrow down the possibilities.

In March we embarked on a journey that ultimately took us to the North Shore of Kauai to carry out our calling. It was an introduction to a gorgeous part of the world. And for me personally, it was inspiration to remember a friend and revitalize my photography.

wing

Reality didn’t set in until I was cruising high over the Pacific Ocean bound for Kauai.

Waimea

The next day I was standing on the edge of Waimea Canyon.

secret

We spent some time exploring beaches around Kilauea.

nice

The water was amazing!

Kilauea

Kilauea Point is a National Wildlife Refuge with a lighthouse on it.

stairs light

Originally built in 1912, it was recently restored.

albatross

There were sea birds like this Laysan Albatross nesting in the surrounding cliffs.

farm

We hiked through a farm with 40,000 mahogany trees on it.

market

And we loved the local farmers market on Saturday.

taro

We saw how taro plants growing in Hanalei Valley provide critical waterfowl habitat.

Hanalei

Perfect waves at Hanalei were visible from an overlook a mile away.

bridge

The single lane, double bridge going over the Wainiha River would eventually take us where we needed to go.

one lane

to be continued….

November 25, 2014

Sargassum

Filed under: beach,Birds,Outer Banks,Sea — j0jgvm89bj @ 1:21 pm

The beach is a dynamic place, and has many faces. Like the seasons, it’s ever changing. The warm Gulf Stream meanders in and out, and even influences our weather.

A sure sign of the Gulf Stream is the presence of seaweed washed up on the beach. Sargassum is a free floating seaweed that drifts in island-like masses and goes with the current. It is an important habitat for various forms of marine life while at sea. It provides food and protection for juvenile fish and invertebrates.

When it washes up on the beach, it attracts birds and other creatures that feed around it.

close upbirdsDuring Summer and Fall, sargassum can drift up in huge rafts.seaweedEventually it dries and decomposes. I’ve used it in my garden after it’s rinsed and composted.marrymeLast month while on a beach walk, I noticed another use for sargassum. verticle                                                        I don’t know who the author of this message was, but considering the effort, I hope the answer was an emphatic “YES”.

 

November 30, 2013

Skipjack and Cold Front

Filed under: Chesapeake Bay,history,oysters,Sea,Weather — j0jgvm89bj @ 12:02 pm

I’m often asked what my favorite picture is. The answer is that I can’t single out any one, from many preferred images.

One of my most endearing shots was taken the day before Thanksgiving, 31 years ago. I was into my second season of oyster dredging on the Chesapeake Bay, aboard the sailing skipjack, Virginia W.

There were reports that the day before another workboat, Hilda Willing, had dredged its limit of 150 bushels near the mouth of the Choptank River. With oyster populations in steady decline, that was a rare occurrence.

So early that Wednesday morning, all the Tilghman Island skipjacks set out for the same spot. There was no wind, however an approaching cold front was forecast to sweep in. We had our sails up ready to work. A light breeze began to fill in, though we were still underpowered and moving at a slow pace, barely able to pull a single dredge.

skipjack frontSkipjack and Cold Front-1982- prints available on request

As was typical of my working the middle deck, throwing the starboard dredge, I had my Nikonos rangefinder camera by my side. The massive clouds of the cold front began rolling in, getting closer. I looked over to see the Sigsbee, full sails up, waiting for wind. I took 6 shots, then put my camera away.

The front was an ominous sight as we prepared for more breeze. We tied 4 reefs in the main, deployed a second dredge and began catching a few oysters. Our speed increased, a gust of wind hit, and the boat heeled over, filling my right boot with sea water. There were some tongers  working nearby, and maneuvering was tight. Coming about for another lick, we had a near collision with one of them, our massive bow sprit crossing over his cabin top.

By that time it was blowing a gale, and impossible to control the boat safely. We dropped our sails, deciding to call it quits after bringing in 4 bushels and headed home for the Thanksgiving holiday.