Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Wicked Good Day at the Beach

This past three-day weekend, which included Memorial Day, marks the unofficial start of summer. This is particularly so within the small communities along the shore.  And although most businesses look forward to the influx of tourists ("have to make it during the season, ya know")  most residents dread the up tick in traffic, long lines at the island liquor store, etc. and so look forward to the other three-day weekend which marks the unofficial end of summer--Labor day, in early September.

The view from the cut in the dune at the oceanward end of 22nd St. is timeless.  The beach grass and bayberries which stabilize the dune quickly give way to the arid vegetation-free zone of constantly salted beach.  If you study the sea in the background you can just make out whitecaps.  There was a strong SW wind all weekend long.  This did not keep people from attempting to lay about in beach chairs but the chill air and the sandblasting tended to make lazy beach reading a bit of a chore.  The west wall of the Gulf Steam is far beyond the horizon.  We occasionally get lucky with  random Gulf Stream eddies which radiate landward off the west wall, and the wall itself can move in and out, but from my perspective the water temp in May is suitable only for those below the age of 12 or those wearing a wetsuit. 
A few of the island's beaches did have life guards over the long weekend.  Looking towards the beach at 26th St. revealed a goodly crowd.  Full life guard coverage doesn't start until the end of June.  Beach tags go from the preseason cost of $15.00 each to $18.00 each on the 1st of June.

The old hotel, built during the initial land boom in 1927, survived another winter.  In a couple years it will be 90 years old.  I remember back in 1977, a local bakery baked a huge cake in the shape of the hotel to honor its 50th year.  Fifty years seemed like a big deal back then when I was a good bit younger than fifty!

Another tell tale sign of the arrival of summer is the renewed flights of banner planes.

This one staggered slowly across the sky into the face of the 20 knot breeze like a fat old bumble bee .  No doubt the exposed engine makes life easier for the mechanic but one would think that having a streamlined cowling would help aerodynamics.

I had no idea what "Wicked" was all about so I googled it for you.  Apparently it's a musical that retells the story of the Wizard of Oz from the various witches' perspectives.  The producers must be trolling the beaches for a New York crowd since South Jersey isn't included as an off Broadway stop for this show.  Personally, I find it easier to relate to banners instructing me to drink beer or buy a particular brand of sunscreen.  As the plane and its banner gradually got smaller I reluctantly crossed the dune and returned to my spring chores of removing storm glass, installing screens, mending the drive way gates and pulling weeds.  The annual BYC Classic Moth Regatta is just four weeks away!

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