November 12 and the good weather keeps on coming. How long can it last before the winter storms come calling and I have to haul Harmony? Sails this time of year have special import because you never know if it will be the last. For the time being, Saturday was almost as perfect as it gets. However, only a handful of mariners took advantage of it. Here's shot of a sloop beating to windward. She has a pretty good heal, considering that the wind was 7-10 knots. Harmony was on a reach at this point, which is the fastest, most comfortable point of sail. The other sailboat was a sign of things to come: that was the tack I would have to take going back to Browns River.
Here's a power boat, just to keep the balance.
Getting over to Davis Park, the first impression is one of abandonment. Here's a couple of shots of the marina. This is a place where in the height of the summer, you will fail to find a single open slip. If you look closely, you will see Harmony just to the right of the dock master's tower.
Here's another shot of the marina. Take note of the pile of dried eel grass in the foreground. This indicates that water had washed above the dock during the storms of October. Long Island experienced a drought this summer. Then we had a spring, summer, and autumn's worth of rain in the space of eight days in October. The eel grass was a portent of what I would see on the ocean side of Fire Island.
I had some difficulty crossing over to the ocean side. The town had started repairing boardwalks in preparation for next summer.
In other places, the steps leading down to the beach were swept away or mangled by the storms of October.
When I found passage through the dunes, here is what I found. More particularly, what I did not find was an expanse of beach.
It's only November. The winter storms are still waiting in the wings to scour sand from the beach. The current level of erosion is not a hopeful sign. It reminded me of the winter when the Casino Restaurant itself was washed away by the storms. Here it is, still standing, boarded up, the gay, brightly colored ribbons at its doorstep hanging in twisted, wind-swept, sun-blasted tatters.
A closer look showed houses that appeared to be on stilts, with tons of sand washed away by waves that must have licked at their foundations. The dunes that once served as their bulwarks are now somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.
One gem of a find was a sign dated 1961, a time capsule unearthed, still remarkably readable.
Still, with the shore community's inhabitants abandoning it to the elements, there were echoes of summer. A street pole with faded paint from children's brushes.
A faded poster from the Casino Bar, offering half price "Rain Vodka". It's a good thing there weren't many people around during the storms of October. They would have gone bankrupt.
Summer flowers valiantly struggling to ignore the onrush of freezing nights.
Even a solitary surf-caster, who graciously allowed me to take his photo.
In the midst of the sun-bleached grays and muted browns, you could still see elements of beauty that make the shore such a special place. Some grasses blowing in the wind, for example.
A sea shell fragment sculpted by nature's forces.
Just before returning to Harmony for the return voyage, I spied thousands of birds over the ocean. This low resolution shot doesn't show much detail. I counted at least three different species. You might notice a line at the horizon on the left side of the image. It is not a defect in the photo. It was a line of hundreds, maybe thousands of birds. If there are any birders out there who want to try their hand at counting the species, I can make the full resolution shot available for your perusal.
By the time I got under way, the sun was near to setting. Here's a shot of the sunset rays on Harmony's sails.
As a final gift, three shots of the sunset itself. Earlier, it had shown signs of not being interesting. I was hoping for some high cirrus clouds that make for grand sunsets on autumn Long Island. But it turned out okay. See what you think. Unlike the summer sun, which sets over land, the autumn sun sets over water, which I think is a nicer touch.
That's it for this week. Will there be another good sailing day this year?