Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chincoteague, VA - Mon. 8/20 thru Weds. 8/22

Tues. 8/21/12

I arrived here in Chincoteague on Monday at about 5pm.  Met Barb and Dean – Jessica’s Mom and Stepdad – and we went to dinner at a local seafood place.  It was good seeing Barb again, and I realized I had never met Dean in-person before this. . . altho I know so much about him from Jess telling me and Barb telling me that we hit it right off from the start.

Jimbo and Jessica arrived here in Chincoteague this afternoon.  James goes to his conference in Assateague starting at 4pm tomorrow.  Before that, we may kayak or just go to the beach for the day.

Barb and Dean and I explored the area a bit today.  Dean found a boat ramp where we can ‘put in’ when we use the kayaks, then he and Barb biked around the National Wildlife Refuge awhile while I went to the lighthouse on Assateague Island and climbed it and chatted awhile with the volunteers there, comparing notes on what it is like there versus at my Fire Island lighthouse.  The history of theirs intrigued me.  Theirs is 9 years newer.  It was built alongside the village of Assateague, of which absolutely nothing remains – but a bit of a clearing in the woods - today.  View from top of the lighthouse was spectacular. . . .  all the marshland, the bay, the ocean and everything surrounding it is so pristine, unspoiled and natural.

The mosquitoes here are voracious.  When I was at the lighthouse – sitting on a bench outside the entrance to it – the mosquitoes were attacking me in swarms.  I didn’t stay on the bench very long. . . .  walked on over to the Visitors’ Center where they have a nice area with rocking chairs.  Addressed a few postcards while there, waiting for Barb and Dean to return from their bike trip.

Barb made a great meal for dinner.  A bean salad, homemade potato salad and a huge platter of crabmeat that she got at a local seafood store.  She said the place was run by some folks who were very busy cracking open crabs and pulling them apart. . . .  seemed to me like what she was describing was like a busy Chinese restaurant, but only for cleaning crabs that must’ve just been caught – maybe by the fishermen in the family? – locally.  Jimbo – when he got here - said he thinks the crabs weren’t locally caught because the Bay has had such a dwindling crab population in recent years and the price of true Chesapeake crabs is much higher than what Barb paid.  Whether they were local or not, they sure tasted fresh!
Jess’s sister Jennifer and her family – as well as her Uncle Dave – are supposed to arrive here later tomorrow.  We will then have ‘the full contingent’ and plan to take Jenn’s kids to see the ponies and to the beach.

Here's the photos of what I saw this day:

The tower
The original Fresnel Lens that was in tower in 1867.  Unlike ours at Fire Island, this one did not rotate; hence it is shorter, has no clockwork wind-up mechanism box, and the back of it, facing the marshland, is covered by sheetmetal.

Denny, the top of tower volunteer.  He was very infomative and we compared notes on what it's like to be a volunteer at a lighthouse.

A visitor

The original plaque, just inside the door at base of tower.

Weds. 8/22/12

Was up at 7am and had quiche – made by Jenn and sent here ahead of her and her family’s arrival with Jamie and Jessica.  It was really, really good. . .  lots of veggies and tasty, not spicy nor bland at all.  After breakfast we planned our day.  Jamie and Dean and I to go kayaking while Barb and Jess went to a salon/spa to get their hair done and some pampering. 

Dean has brought two kayaks with him, so we needed to rent only one.  We headed out towards the beach and went to a kayak rental place along the way, where we picked one up and car-topped it on Dean’s minivan, which had the two he brought inside in back.

Stopped also at Ace Hardware.  Jamie bought a rod and reel  and some hooks and weights. . . .  He decided he wanted to fish from his kayak. 

Finally made it to the boat ramp by about 11am.  We paddled across the bay to beneath the lighthouse and then out and under the bridge that connects Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island.  Lots of birds. . . .  neat to see white heron flying by, with wide wings outstretched. . . .  so close it felt like you could almost reach out and grab it.  Cormorants floating nearby. . . one of them took wing near the kayak and it amazed me how easily it just paddled its feet , gaining speed, then outstretched its wings annnnd liftoff!  Flying fish, jumping close by, too.  Jimbo caught a total of 7 croakers in his kayak, but lost 3 of them when his stringer holding those 3 came undone, providing a meal for the waterfoul.

This place is so unspoiled compared to Fire Island.  It was very relaxing to spend the day on the water.

Didn’t see any horses on Assateague, tho I was told yesterday that the herds are near the lighthouse.  Figured they are farther back in the woods and that they come out to water’s edge at dawn and dusk, like the deer back home on Fire Island, maybe?

Jess’s Uncle Dave arrived today at about 5pm.  Interesting fella.  He lives in Wisconsin but spends his winters sailing in Florida and the Carribbean.  His boat is currently in port in south part of Georgia and he says he and his wife will be starting their journey for this year in October.  (Hmmm, I wonder if he ever hires-on any amateur deckhands?  Nah, I’m too old to be climbing sailboat masts!)

Jenn and Andy didn’t make it here today.  They and Wills and Emily will be here tomorrow, barring any further problems.  Andy ran over some “road junk” today and blew-out a tire, so they had that repaired and the time it took to get the repair done put them so far behind schedule that they decided to wait till tomorrow to leave for here.

Jimbo-Bubba went to his first conference meeting tonight.  Some Conference of Park Rangers of some sort or other, being held over near the NASA Wallops Island facility.  (I had thought that this conference was going to be in Baltimore, but now I see why he was saying that this would work out so well as a “working vacation” for him. . .  his meeting place is only a few minutes away from here.)  He left here a bit after 5pm and was back by 8pm.  Basically, tonight’s meeting was just for registration and to meet and greet and to have dinner.  The food was terrible, he says.
Today's photos:
Jamie preps the rental kayak for me.
Before getting to the boat ramp, we stopped at Ace Hardware and Jimbo bought some fishing supplies.
What the lighthouse looked like from the boat ramp on the bay.

1 comment:

  1. Bob, you are such a good writer. I really enjoy your descriptions. Hope you get to see those famous horses. That should be fun with the kids! Hope your photos will include some of the wonderful food you have mentioned! Can't wait to see them. J