Tuesday, July 30, 2013

OUT OF COMMISSION

We've had company this month and finding time to even power up the computer has been challenging. I think our busy season is over for a while though. And I find I miss it! No hurrying to go to the beach or the pool or the Village. No going out to eat. No biking around the neighborhood. No engrossing conversations.

Not that it isn't nice to have the house back to ourselves. The cats are of two minds: they've had people spoiling them, whipping out the brush at the first pitiful meow, petting them and calling them beautiful. On the other hand, they can roam through the house without being picked up and hugged, and they can take their naps in peace.

They can't decide whether to be happy company's gone or sad. So she wakes up and looks around expectantly to find her admiring audience.



And he peers around corners trying to see if he needs to make a grand entrance in case someone's waiting to fawn all over him.



Yep, I think we're all suffering from withdrawal!


Friday, July 19, 2013

DANGEROUS WATERS

A sandbar runs alongside our island. At high tide, it's invisible. At low time, it entices tourists to go out with umbrellas and beach chairs to enjoy the ocean.

What they don't know is that when the tide turns, the sandbar becomes a trap. The tidal pool they waded through or the wet sand they walked on to go out onto the sandbar, quickly changes to a rapid current of water when the tide comes in, a current that can carry strong swimmers away. Unfortunately, it's happened several times in the few years we've lived here.

Like a fourteen-year-old girl in 2010. Her mother and young sister made it to safety, but she didn't and was lost. And last year, a soldier and his family were out on the sandbar. He got them to shore before being swept away, though his body was later recovered.

Now it's happened again. As I wrote Monday about the lovely beach and how we enjoyed living here, searchers were out. A teenager who'd been out with a couple of his friends to play in the ocean had been washed away. This time was a little different because the tide wasn't coming in. He simply stepped off the sandbar on the ocean side into a drop off and never resurfaced. That happened Sunday. His body was retrieved a couple of days later and his funeral will be tomorrow. His friends, fortunately, were rescued by a kayaker who gave them life jackets and towed them to safety.

Strangely, the police chief was already on the County Commission's agenda for last night, to ask for funds to post warning signs and put an emergency response center beachside. It passed, of course, as it should have after another tragic drowning.

What I don't understand is why it's taken so long to get this done. There are lifeguards between certain hours, but there is nothing to warn people that the sandbar isn't safe, that the tide is unpredictable and dangerous. I remember a proposal to put red flags out whenever a rip current threatens, but that never happened. I wonder if it's because the authorities were afraid of discouraging tourists?

So we've lost another person, a fine one from all accounts. He would have been a junior this year and was in the Navy Junior ROTC program. Everyone agrees he was a quiet, likable young man whose too-young demise leaves his family and friends griefstricken. My heart goes out to his mother.

Maybe he would have stepped off into the ocean anyway, even with a series of signs and in full knowledge of the dangers. But maybe he wouldn't. I find it hard to understand why it's taken so long to get warning signs and a rescue station set up.



Monday, July 15, 2013

GREAT WEATHER

We've enjoyed wonderful weather here hot-wise. In the eighties and low nineties. Oh, an occasional thunderstorm crops up but otherwise, it's been great.  There have been years of 100 plus degrees.

On the pier last week in the early morning, we watched a ship come through.



A few fishermen were out, but the adjoining beach was nearly deserted.



We're so lucky to live in a place like this!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

AFTER THE FOURTH

We hung out on the Fourth of July and mostly stayed in, away from all the people on the island. It's only twelve miles long but it was packed with tourists and other visitors for the weekend.

We had 800 entrants in the annual 5k run/1k walk they hold every year. I thought they started at seven a.m. and would be through by our usual walk time. Nope. We went out, ran into them, had to stand back while men, women, mothers pushing jogging strollers, fathers running with kids, and what looked like a couple of military squads from one of the nearby forts (One had the sergeant running along singing cadence, poor guy!) rushed by.

We finally caught a break, got through them, and walked on down the road. To the park where the finish line was. Naturally, the whole group came up just as we got there so we had to wait again.

But we did finally make it to village and the Sunshine Festival held in conjunction with the other Fourth activities. Here are a few pix of this arts and crafts fair held in the park:

These are some of the sidewalk tents. We got there as they were getting ready to open so not too many people were around, thank goodness.



This artist booth puts it up front on his sign. Buy his paintings now while you can still afford him!




Don't know if you can tell much about them, but the greenish figures are those of a sailor at the wheel and (on the right) the pirate captain peering through his spyglass.  Made me want to cackle and say, "Argggh, my hearties!"



After that, we came home and stayed inside. It was hot and traffic was horrible and there was no way we were going to venture out, not even for the fireworks display. After all, we could hear it from our house!

On the whole, a pretty nice day.