Until Next Time

Early this morning my husband and I took our camping chairs and a cup of coffee down to the beach. We let the waves lap against our toes and watched as the tide slowly receded in its endless cycle of highs and lows. We let the sunshine warm our bodies and felt the morning breeze cool our skin. We watched the plovers run along the water’s edge picking at the wet sand with their tiny beaks for bits of food, and then run away as an incoming wave chased them off. We watched the willets chase the plovers away and try to steal their food. We sat holding hands and sipping coffee, and waited patiently for the dolphins to pass us by on their morning journey up the coastline of the outer banks.

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Plovers

Willets

Willets

The first two years that we came to Hatteras Island, the dolphins swam up and down the coastline like clockwork, heading North at sunrise and back South at sunset. Over the years though, the timing has changed and become much more random. I think this is probably due to many hurricanes and the ever-changing shape of the shifting ocean floor and coastline. Yesterday they didn’t swim by until almost 10:30 in the morning, but when they did it was a larger group than usual with several different pods swimming by and lingering in front of our spot along the beach. Occasionally a single dolphin could be seen circling back to reunite with its family group, mate, or friends.  As always, seeing the arched backs and dorsal fins of the three to four dolphins at a time as they popped out of water brought me that magical rush and then that sense of peace that all was right with the world. I had seen my dolphins once again, and for some reason, seeing them never gets old.

Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin

Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin at the Outer Banks

The beach was deserted. He and I were the only people out this morning, except for the odd surfcasters who dotted the visible coastline here and there. Today, half of the renters had to move out. That means that the beach would be pretty quiet for most of the day since they had to be out by 10:00 AM and the new renters would not be checking in until after 4:00 PM. Tomorrow, it would be our turn, leaving our house behind for another year.

I expect my husband to sit on the beach for most of the day, taking in as much as he can before the packing, cleaning, and last minute details of leaving begin later tonight. He loves this place. We all do, but he always becomes melancholy when it’s time to leave. I think that I have less of a hard time leaving because I grew up on the shore. I was spoiled with easy access to the beaches of Southeastern Connecticut literally just a mile or two from my childhood home. I was also lucky enough to spend one or two weeks each summer in Cape Cod with my father, step-mother, sisters, and brother.

Still, I sit on the beach with my husband for as long as I can, until I feel my skin beginning to burn, soaking in the special feeling of sunshine and wind against my skin, the smell of the sea air, the sound of the surf, reenergizing and refueling my spirit until we come back to our house next year.

Rain

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Rain at the beach is like punishment for a crime you didn’t commit.

The Internet at the Beach

The internet here is intermittent at best.

Therefore I am going to write less.

I will try to write another post this week,

But the signal here is very weak.

I miss writing for you all,

But I will be back on Monday, once and for all.

Same Place Different View

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2009

It has been three years since we last visited Rodanthe. We love to stay at this one particular rental house, Sandcastle By Dawn. The house is on the first row, ocean side, and we make payments all year long so we can stay here and have a family vacation. The first time we stayed was in 2009. The rip currents were severe, the beach rocky, and we had to climb over a dune to reach the beach. The houses on either side of us had pool. The next year, the pool next door to our right was filled with sand. In 2011, the house to our right has severe water damage, the lower level of the house was full of sand, and was now condemned. On the bright side, our house, as we’ve come to call it, was fine. The dune was gone, and our walk to the beach was much less taxing.

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2010

After hurricane Sandy hit in 2012 we couldn’t stay in our house, because there had been so much damage to the property and the surrounding area. The roads were washed away and several houses nearby were damaged. Although we had already reserved the house for that summer, our reservation was put on hold for the following year. The septic system had been damaged and our house was still not available in 2013. Finally, this summer, our house and the roads were ready. We waited breathlessly to hear whether hurricane Arthur had damaged it.

Luckily, the damage caused by Arthur was mild in comparison to Sandy, and we were able to keep our plans to come to the beach. Phew!  But when we arrived we were in for a shock. Three houses to the left were gone. The house to the right had been reclaimed and was occupied, but the pool still was gone. Our house was now just feet from the ocean. I was speechless. Will our house be here next summer? How will we feel if our house is taken by a storm during the year? How close will the ocean be next summer? We spent the first hour unloading the car, looking around, and just staring silently at how close the water was from our back door, now literally just steps away during high tide.

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2014

Come to find out that all three houses to our left had been moved by the county to other beachfront locations further south. Thank goodness they had not been damaged by Sandy or Arthur. Our realtor told us that our house was very solid and would be safe for the next few years, that the pilings were reinforced and there was little chance of losing it. What a relief.

The point of my story is that it is all about perspective. We care very much about what happens to this house, even though it is not really our house, because have shared so many happy memories here and hope to continue gathering memories in the future. We feel at home here. When we thought that the houses next door had been irreparably damaged by hurricane Sandy, we were sick with worry about the future of our house. Once we found out those houses had been moved and our house was structurally sound and in no danger of being lost to the ocean, we so were relieved, our perspective changed. Our view may have changed, but our place, our house was still the same.

We’ve already reserved our house for next year.

Sunrise Over Rodanthe

Beach week officially began this morning. The view is spectacular!

Sunrise over Rodanthe_72114

Posts will be sparse this week, I’m going to enjoy the ocean and the time with my family.