Tag Archive: ocean

After the 4th of July, it was time to pack for a quick trip to Hilton Head to pick up Ray’s 2003 t-bird, which was still down there, and needed to come back to New York to be inspected. On July 6th we drove south together to accomplish this task. This would not be a long trip, and definitely was not considered a “vacation”. We planned only to spend two days there to rest up before returning north again, with Ray driving the t-bird and me driving our Ford Edge. Of course I took the time to take some photos while we were there…

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1. Front Yard – Hilton Head Island
2. Sego Palm branch
3. Sego Palm

We didn’t do all that much during the two days there in order to rest for our return trip. The weather was hot — triple digit hot — so we limited our outside activities unless absolutely necessary. However, I connected with my friend, Kim – and we took a sunset photo walk on a beach up in Sea Pines the night before we left. It was hot and humid – even at that hour of the day, but the breeze was stiff which tempered the heat.

However, I ran into an interesting problem when I tried to take photos. The temperature and humidity difference between the air conditioned house and car and the hot sticky beach was great and my camera’s lens totally fogged up – – so much so that when it was at it’s worst, there was no way the camera would auto focus on anything. When I looked through the camera, it was like looking through my own foggy eye glasses when there is a change in temperature from cold to warm, so I understood what was going on. It’s not as if this was the first time this has happened to me with a camera, either. However, it seemed to take an unusually long time for the lens to finally right itself. Kim wasn’t having issues, and was taking photos, which worried me some. I didn’t know if I should intervene and clean it – but my instinct told me not to mess with that inner lens – especially on a windy, sandy beach where sand particles could get inside. Thankfully, right before the sunset, it finally cleared out – – just in time!

Here are pictures as taken through the foggy lens once it would auto focus:

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1. The first picture my camera took with foggy lens of sea debris
2. Oddly beautiful — eerie – facing into the sun.

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1. Professional photographers often use the beach as a backdrop for formal family photos, and this family is organizing for their picture. I think the choice of turquoise is nice contrast to the color of the sand.
2. The water is “liquid gold”!

The Sunset
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Sunset – far away and close up

If you wish to see any of my photos larger, click on them to see them in Flickr.


Whew! It’s taken me way too long to get back to blogging since our trip north. Though stressful, the trip went well. The cats were excellent travelers, although Felix’ “meow voice” was working over time! We are now safely settled into our home on Long Island, but during this period of time, I’ve been distracted and scattered, so much so that there were three days when I did not get that daily photo taken. I had vowed not to allow that to happen, but perfection is elusive. My few days “lapse” will not stop me from continuing to take daily photos.

As I said I would do, I’m going to return to the beauty of Hilton Head in order to update my daily photos from the last days on Hilton Head before heading north. It will be fun to relive it.

On May 1st, I took a gorgeous sunrise walk on Folly Field Beach with my friend, Kim. We moved from Folly Field, to Port Royal Beach, then onto to the edge of Mitchelville, where the ocean moves into Port Royal Sound. It was a leisurely walk, as we stopped often along the way to take photos of whatever fancied us. I’m not much of am morning person, so I miss way too many sunrises. However, once I’ve managed to tear myself out of my cozy bed, I’m always grateful that I’ve made the effort. That time of day has the best lighting for photos, as well as being much cooler and more comfortable in spring and summer. As we finished our walk, the temperature got oppressively warm, I was anxious to get out of the sun and the heat.

It will be difficult to choose one photo to be the photo of the day for May 1st – but with the option of bonus photos – I’ll just choose one:

365 photo #122. I have never considered jellyfish to be attractive or pretty, but they become almost like a stained glass window in the low morning light! There were tons of them on the beach that morning

Bonus photos:

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1. Good Morning! Sunrise!
2. Tide Pool reflections (of a house on the shoreline)

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1. surf line — with sea foam
2. sea creatures and plants – including whelk egg sacs

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1. shell – we placed it on end like this for photographic purposes
2. driftwood

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1. snowy egret
2. pelicans and sea gulls out on the sand bar

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1. sanderling – oh my do they love to scurry on the beach!
2. more driftwood out in the tide pools – with barnacles

I think it may be time to see what the beach is like here — before the tourists invade. We don’t have much more time until then….

More catch up in next entry…

Once again a portion of the world is covered in rubble from an 8.9 earthquake — and the ravages from a "wall of water" from the tsunami.  Since then, I have been watching the news.  But – more than that – I’ve been thinking about the ramifications of these natural disasters that come our way in the form of earthquakes, tsunamis, and even hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, floods, droughts and the like. 

First of all – the videos that have come from Japan are heartbreaking – watching cars and houses crumble and move about like they were toys shows the amazing power of amassed water. The fear of what is going on with the nuclear power plant is also frightening. I’m not sure they are reporting the total truth about that. The human element in all of this is the worst – the mass death and destruction, is hard to imagine. Realizing all of this — it is hard for me to "sit" with this in the comfort of my home. Prayers are all well and good, but the victims need the basics of life now. What is the world’s role? What is *my* role? Yet – too many helpers only confuse things. In many respects – we are all "one" on this planet earth – or we should think of it in that fashion, but how do we take action?

I initially got immersed in the news right about when it happened. I was not able to sleep for some reason – and had also changed the channel from my usual HGTV to CNN. As I watched in the dark and silence of the night, the reports were almost surreal, and there was no going back to sleep for me. Basically I had only 2 hours of sleep that night – max.

Japan was as ready as any country for this kind of tragedy. They know their land is prone to this, and even the word "tsunami", I think, is a Japanese word. Their government is as well structured to handle it as is any country. (as compared to Haiti, for example). But – no one can be truly ready for what happened. 8.9 is "the big one", and I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been if the buildings / roads / bridges had not been built to earthquake codes. And, it’s my opinion that no one can ever be ready for a tsunami like the one they saw. Who could prepare, short of banning all habitation "that" far from the ocean’s shore?  To me – this shows, beyond the shadow of a doubt that WE humans are never not in charge. 

We humans think we are so smart, and have become cocky enough to think that our brains, amassed knowledge and technology can (or has the potential to) master anything, control everything, and be strong enough for any contingency.  The reality is – the universe rules.  No matter what we are able to do, or seemingly control, the universe is always capable of being in charge of the outcome.  Control is truly only an illusion.

This leads me to the role of God in all of this, and, to be honest … I don’t know.  I don’t want to get too heavy into this because, for me, my faith is weak and the unknown is too great.  I ask too many questions for which I have no answers.  Is God behind the universe and all these natural disasters?  If so, how much so?  Did He create them and cause them?  We give Him credit for nature’s beauty.  Should we not also give Him credit for the “bad”?  Is it possible that because of our limited human capacity to see the larger picture that we cannot see that there will be some good which can – and will – come out of tragedy?  Maybe that benefit won’t affect us – or the Japanese now, but could there be a future plan for all of this?  I can’t imagine that this would be much of a consolation to the Japanese most affected by this tragedy, maybe even feeling like a slap in the face!  I have heard it said that to try to answer these questions is not our job.  Our job is simply to trust that God has a Good Plan for us, and is there to give us strength and comfort during our trials.  I also get to thinking about some of the Old Testament “punishments” for “evil doing” by an “angry god”, and it’s also easy for me to go there when these huge disasters strike.  I write all of this, but continue to shake my head in bewilderment and skepticism.  Yeah … I did start this paragraph about my faith being weak, didn’t I…  I’ve come full circle.

Like the US, Japan’s people are used to all the amenities of modern life — electricity, plumbing, technology, communications of all kinds. Once we get "soft" by getting used to these things, having to go without, with little sign that these things will return is maybe harder. I am often amazed at the strength of human character when faced with these kinds of things, though. I’m not sure any of us know our own strength unless we are forced to be strong.

Thankfully the affects of the tsunami was lighter on Hawaii and the Pacific shoreline. Yet — there were people who were either crazed with fear beyond what was necessary – or those foolhardy folks who decided to purposely go out in the surf at the time of the "wave".

Yet – it is reminding me that Ray and I have houses on the two largest barrier islands on the east coast of the US. Are we crazy?  We’re not the only ones, either… Humans flock to the beach for it’s beauty and recreation — building houses, hotels, restaurants on the edge of gorgeous beaches, forgetting that all that beauty can turn on us.  It’s true that tsunamis and earthquakes aren’t quite as commonplace as they are on the west coast — but they DO happen, and there are fault lines in varieties of places all over the US. It is not out of the question that we could have "the big one" here, too. It’s probably not "if", but "when". I guess we all hope that it’s "not in our lifetime". Humans have a knack for burying their collective heads in the sand and forgetting that even though the ocean is magnificent – and gorgeous. It can turn nasty and mean during storms and tsunamis. Mountains also are majestic and beautiful – but we can’t forget how hills are formed — good old fashioned earthquakes (and volcanoes) are one way our landscape changes. Out of the ashes rise such beauty…?!  And good?

Sometimes I think we know precious little about all of this, and we need to learn more.

The day of the earthquake, a friend of mine and I went on a photo walk along a local beach not far from home.  It was kind of bittersweet for me to see such beauty – realizing that on the other side of the planet – this same water did such destruction — and how this water could do the same with us. Oddly – I found I appreciated the beauty more – maybe because I was more keenly aware of it’s potential strength, too.

There really are no good words about all of this, and this entry is just me — spinning my wheels – trying to find them. I suppose there rarely are understandable words to explain things when this kind of tragedy hits.

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this tragedy…. I guess that’s the bottom line.

As is so often the case with hurricanes, the authorities prepare for the worst, but, in the end, the storm’s bark is worse than it’s bite. Each time this situation is repeated, it makes people less likely to follow the advice of the authorities to do the preparedness. I noticed this in the days prior to Earl’s arrival yesterday, and worried if we really got creamed by the storm. Ray, as a volunteer for the Red Cross, would not allow us to slip into apathy, and we prepared as best we could — or to the extent that the authorities suggest. And — in all honesty — one of these times it WILL be the "real thing" – – as it was with Hurricane Gloria (1985), or Bob (1991)- and even Belle back in 1976, though I’m not sure that ever reached hurricane strength. All three of those were either Cat 1 or 2 hurricanes, and they do damage. Trees and branches come down, houses are damaged, there’s ocean flooding, and lengthy power outages. I remember the aftermath of them…  Of course it was nothing like Katrina – but there was clean up and it took days – and in some cases weeks to get power back.  I cannot imagine a cat 3, and that’s what the Legendary Hurricane of 1938 was, which was back before they named these storms.

The storm was lame. It rained off and on from about 10 a.m. on, as the outer bands of the storm marched north toward us. The storm, however, HAD moved east as we hoped it would, so we only got the outer bands. Plus – it lost some of it’s punch and was downgraded to a Cat 1. The wind was minimal here — less than a garden variety nor’easter – and I think only Montauk (35 miles east of us) got anything significant in that department. Before we were sure how the storm would go, Ray and I decided to go out for lunch in town so that we had a nice meal in our belly before we might have to eat the simple things I’d purchased to be cooked if we had a power failure. I think everyone else had the same idea, and the restaurants were jammed.

Since Katrina, and the year that so many storms hit Florida, I think many communities which are in line for these storms are revamping their hurricane preparedness, and Suffolk County is no exception.  The county, along with the various organizations which supply help to storm victims now work together toward a common end, and the EOC was created. 

This storm HAD the potential to hit us head on, and as it made it’s way up the coast, it was a Cat 3 storm, and was worrisome.  The EOC planned for this, and went through all the steps to protect citizens, which in retrospect seemed like overkill.  To some people, all that was done is now seen as a joke and a waste of precious tax payer’s money.  Even before Earl came through I noted many residents (and tourists) not bothering to heed the warnings to take the precautions suggested.  Why bother because it “never materializes anyway”.  In this instance, they were not wrong.  It’s like the little story, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” – and at some point after repeated false alarms, one doesn’t believe the cries. 

However, one of these days some hurricane WILL hit.  Even in this case, a few degrees “wobble” on the part of Hurricane Earl, and it would have been a “slam dunk” – and we would have been hit head on.  Conditions could have been such that the hurricane would have retained it’s strength, as it is true, they often lose strength as they hit the cooler waters off the northeast coast.  Forecasting has come a long way from when residents were clueless that a hurricane was even out there – like before the 1938 Hurricane.  We can – to a certain extent – predict these wobbles in hurricanes – and know when they will lose strength.  But – – not totally.  It is better to err on the side of caution and do those preparations rather than cavalierly ignore them and take the risk of not being prepared if it ends up being aimed right at you at the last minute.   

By the afternoon I was pretty confident that it wasn’t going to veer toward us, and we were going to dodge this hurricane bullet.  As a closet “storm chaser” (no – I’m sure I’d never do this in real life, but, I admit, storms do excite me when I know I’m in no danger), I decided to drive up to the ocean beach to see the waves.  There was rain, but little wind, but hoped I would have some time to go out and photograph the waves influenced by Earl which was out at sea….

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I was lucky as the rain slowed down and then stopped as we were probably between rain bands at the time which allowed me to use my camera more freely.  When not using my camera I protected it under my raincoat from any droplets or spray.  Thank God for the zoom feature, which allowed me to appear to be up close to some of those waves. I loved the spray on some of them. And – in the 4th shot – it shows the stupidity of some of the people there — as they played in the surf, maybe not realizing it’s true intensity.  Even I felt this, as occasionally when I was standing on the sand behind the surf line, one of the waves would be extra strong and come up right to the dunes – and beyond.  I was then caught in ankle high water as it rushed in.  The strength of this small amount of water reminded me that if it was too much deeper, it could knock me down WITH my camera in hand.  I realized the respect we need for a hurricane ocean. 

The last photo is of New York WABC News Channel 7 reporting on the little hurricane that “wasn’t”, though the ocean did have a dramatic look to it.  I saw the report on the 5 p.m. news.

Today is a marvelous day as they often are once a hurricane or tropical storm has passed.  Our windows are open and a gentle, refreshing breeze is feels good – so unlike the muggy, stifling weather of yesterday.  It’s a gift that the hurricane gives you after it’s destruction, though in our case we were blessed to have avoided that.

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