Thursday, June 7, 2012

Long Beach: Beachiness, Bad Shirt Night, and Beryl's Briefness

Awaiting tropical storm Beryl's possible arrival or aftereffects, we settled into our regular beach routine: walking on the beach, swimming and splashing in the surf, reading and more reading, making great meals, taking pleasant naps, and enjoying evening libations, often to the tunes provided by  a virtual pile of music constantly playing on the portable iPod player we brought with us.  Tides and sunlight dictate the movement of events at the beach.

View of the cottage from the path over the dunes.
The first morning there I dropped one of my cameras and broke the UV filer, so I used it with a polarizing filter for the rest of the week. This make the sky appear very dark blue, as noted below:

View from our deck.
Our friends Mark and Cindy joined us for the first part of the week.  We have a long history of beach trips together that dates back to the 1980s. With careful study and research, along with years of diligent practice, we have developed our own finely-tuned version of Power Lounging, which includes all the attributes noted in the first sentence of this post.

A long-established tradition, arguably a sub-set of our own take on Power Lounging culture, is the ritualistic beach Bad Shirt Night.  Bad Shirt Night Digression:
The historical origins of Bad Shirt Night have been lost to scholars, but it is rumored to have emerged from a workplace ritual Mark and I participated in called "Bad Shirt Friday" back in the 1980s. Developed to instill a sense of mirth to the workplace, Bad Shirt Friday involved wearing (yes, you guessed it) "bad shirts." Individual interpretation of what constitutes "bad" varies widely, but typically involves some variation of the Hawaiian shirt motif (apologies to members of the Facebook Hawaiian Shirt Fans group or the Hawaiian Shirt Bigfoot Fan Club). Back in the 80's, however, one fellow employee with discriminating musical tastes sported a Madonna T-shirt during a workplace Bad Shirt Friday, claiming that he liked Hawaiian shirts but really couldn't stand Madonna. Hard to argue with that logic.
For Bad Shirt Night at the beach, we broke out variations on the Hawaiian motif, plus general colorful stuff. The evening also included a great meal of goat cheese hors d'oeuvres, trigger fish, and the festive and obligatory drinks-with-umbrellas course.  Here's photos of our mirth:

Mark strolling on the beach while Cindy sits in the sand.

Barrie and Cindy doing Bad Shirt yoga on the beach.

Barrie on the deck, festively attired.

Yep, we drank these kinds of drinks with umbrellas at the beach.
An "installation" was created with the umbrellas, and graced our table all week.
Some kind soul wrote this in the sand.  We took it to heart.
Mark and Cindy left Tuesday afternoon, and by late afternoon it appeared the Beryl-generated storms were nigh.  The sky grew dark and very cloudy by nightfall, and huge storm hit around 2 or 3 in the morning, rattling the windows with rain and slightly shaking the house.  It rained heavily for about 10-12 hours, pouring between 1 and 2 inches of rain on the beach, then stopping in the middle of Wednesday afternoon.  Seeking rainy day activities, we hopped in the car and headed to Kings Beachwear (for a dose of kitsch) and the pier.

Storms a' coming, looking east on Tuesday evening.

Looking west at polarized storm clouds.

Wednesday morning, looking at the beach through sheets of rain on the windows.
The weather had cleared up by the time we got to the pier, but nobody was on it. Nice.
Barrie stands beside a very tempting inflatable object at Kings. After much debate we decided not to buy it.
Kings has your wacky slogan shot glasses, your coffee mugs, and your neon bikinis.

By Wednesday afternoon the sun came out, and it was beautiful for the rest of the week. While no sand architect, I did erect a small sand castle and watched it tumble in the surf. Why is this always so fun?  Barrie added a collection of shells she had picked up and created a shell garden in the castle's courtyard. An unanticipated result was that, after the castle succumbed to the surf and the tides turned for a few days, we noticed the same shells from the castle as they were disbursed along the beach: a brief, very unscientific study of tidal activities and shell movement on an Atlantic seashore.

A crab's eye view of the castle entry, with shell garden and seaweed banner.
The tide is just starting to roll in.  The castle has been evacuated!

You can guess how this turned out.
And, finally, a few images from the rest of this wonderful week:

Barrie strolling down the beach at dusk.
Sound-side of the island, just a block from our cottage.

Pelicans in formation at sunset.