Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hometown Adventure - Our Salty Sea Hour

We had the morning free yesterday (ahh, Freedom, I love you!) and with just a couple of hours to spare before Casey had to go back down to school for a test, we took to the road and officially logged our first Hometown Adventure into the annuls of adventure history.

The decision to begin our adventure series came about because Casey recently made the determination that there were far too many things around here, not too far from home, that she had never done or seen, despite the fact that she is 19. I too had taken note of the same in my own regard, and I passed 19 decades ago!

Times a wastin', so we're going to get out there and off our homebody butts and find us some adventure. We're gonna make the most of this time while it's just the two of us living this humble life of ours together.

Freewheeling and fun - we're up for it...

...after all, the two of us get along easily enough. We know how to leave each other alone when necessary, and we make good companions when we're out and about as well, especially since I spring for lunch and slushes and Snowballs and Slurpees. I may or may not be known to get on Casey's nerves in that "mom way" now and again, however, since I offer slushy incentives and other food, not to mention the occasional clothing purchase, she's more than happy to put up with me, even if that means I'm taking scads of pictures and keeping the ever-vigilant eye out for cool stuff and junk on the side of the road. Plus, I do the driving, aka: paying for gas, and I'm a load of fun (ignore her rolling eyes), so of course she's more than happy to have me as adventure compadre. Right, Casey?

The plan is to traipse around town checking out places everyone and their brother has been going to for ages but which we never have (because we're cheap or busy with other life like jobs and school and alternately sitting on the couch and redoing furniture and scraping and sanding the house as well as other creative endeavors). So while we're out shopping new shops or discovering the odd trail, finding attractions or other outings, or figuring out where a certain road or path leads or whatnot, we'll try to get creative as we tell the tale for our own memories, allowing you to come along if you like.

So it happened that we took to the road today, more with the intent to get a Snowball from Hogan's Snowball Shack (prime way to spend a midday) and stroll at the ocean's edge, relishing that shaved ice treat like we are on vacation for an hour. However, it turns out the Snowball Shack wasn't going to open til 1:00 [sigh] and we would be long gone from the beach by then. [pouty faces].

Since we were already up that way, we decided to park in the lot by the pier and walk across to the ocean and see what was up at the shore, even if we didn't have any sour frozen goodness. They sky was a mix of sun and clouds and while driving up Ocean Avenue on our way North, we could see ahead of us across the road that the atmosphere was hazy and thick with salt spray blowing up and over the burm. Quite a change from earlier this week when this part of the world was calm and clear.

Click images for large slideshow

Once we crossed the road, I was ready with my camera, and since we rarely camp out at the pier part of the beach, I decided to take a few shots of it from up at street level before we went down to walk a while.

 Surfers were out in force due to the unusual good fortune of surfable waves.

This may sound kind of silly and rather a shame, but neither Casey nor I had ever actually been out on the pier. Well, shoot! You have to pay to go on the pier. We ARE admittedly cheap. Maybe if we had a pier purpose, such as fishing, we might have sprung for the expense at some point... but we don't fish per se, so it just never was one of those things we did.

Never, until today and the onset of our hometown adventures, that is. After all, what's the point of a hometown adventure if not to get you going where you never went and spending dollars that you never spent.

As it turns out, we discovered you can walk out on the first part of the pier without paying, so we took advantage of this in order to get a better lookout from which to view the surfers and the beach-goers and the lifeguard driving through the sand on his 4 wheeler around the towels dotted with quite a few people for a Friday, if you ask me. Doesn't anybody have to work (says me who has plenty to do, but no paid work on Friday myself)? 

Keeping Watch

With the wind blowing at a good clip, the surfing flag was flying.

The sun played games behind the clouds, floating in and out leaving that far away look to the expanse of the sea, whereby part of the world is under clouds while further in the distance the sun shines brightly on the white caps. I love that!

So much to see and it was fun to spectate from even the close end of the pier.

However, that little taste of pier life was enough to tell us we wanted to go further, out where we could look back at the world from what would seem like the middle of the sea.

Of course our sense of thrift had something to do with not having become people of the pier before today. We always hem haw about spending, (except in the case of buying slushy drinks, of course). Yet being of the mind that we are now Adventure People, and remembering that we just "saved" $5 on snowballs, and the money was actually still in my pocket in cash form, justification appeared just in time for us to cross over into the world of the pier elite. Casey checked out the sign and discovered it was a dollar per person. Hmmm... although the cheapskate in us still nagged, we conferred and agreed we would spring for it. Our time had come. This was to be our first hometown adventure. Woo hoo!

We paid our money and passed through the gate, like entering a world not meant for us or like the feeling you get when you finally make it through the gates of Disney World imagining what awaits.

 Okay, I exaggerate. It was, after all, only a pier and not at all like Disney World. But, hey, we were on our way, and we did feel a little like we were on vacation going where we hadn't been before. And once we get the hang of spending dollars, heaven knows but we might find it in us to spend hundreds and hundreds more at Disney one of these days. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

On any other day, I'm not sure how worthwhile the pier would really be (another reason perhaps we'd never been), but today, aside from the fact that we were having an adventure we'd never had, there were waves and surfers, and I had my camera with my 200 zoom lens. 300 would have been better, but 200 could get me a substantially decent view. The picture perfect water ranged from a clear aqua to cool blue and the spectrum in between, with lots of frothy white and colors that were constantly changing depending on which way we turned.

Looking down to the water below and the barnacles attached to the base of the pier

Add to that the misty quality of the air sitting like a heavy fog over the frothy sea and shore, and the sparkling gems sprinkled across the surface, it was quite a sight. Seeing as our vantage point is usually from shore to sea, there we were unnaturally perched out over the depths, beyond the surfers and we were looking back toward land at the little people (they literally looked tiny from out there) who hadn't forked over a dollar a piece to be among the adventurous few with a lofty perspective.

A number of birds made the pier their home.

This one had a perch in the rafters above the water and below the deck. Nice digs.

This guy swooped above the surfers and made a dive for some lunch.... it and carried it off to who knows where.

These little guys waddled around together in a big group and fought over scraps of food they had scavenged. Still others swooped down and flew down the center of the pier just missing our heads as if it was their highway and we were moving too slow.
Then two manatees came swimming from out beyond where the surfers were, and proceeded underneath the pier. 

They surfaced just as they came out from underneath on the South side, mooned us and in turn flipped their tails in our direction. Well!

They left with the same lumbering, slow-mo stride they'd arrived with. Not the most fascinating of creatures if you ask me, but fun to have them saunter by while we were having an adventure.

The North side surfers kept their eyes peeled for just the right swell...

...occasionally caught a good one...

fought the good fight...

...and showed us their moves.

The surfers seemed to be having a great time and the waves came and went and offered ample opportunity for everyone to shine.

The South side gang seemed to be a younger crowd and they were busy having fun too.

I had a nice chat with a man who asked if I was a photographer. People always wonder what in the world I'm shooting so many pictures for, especially when I'm working the big lens. I let him know my camera was a gift from my children and I was making them happy by putting it to use. Casey nodded in agreement.

I enjoyed the cool salty air and the view of the changing scenes I was able to bring closer through my lens.

I marveled at the aqua water that in spots looked like a bubbling swimming pool.

We didn't have any quarters so we couldn't use the viewfinder thingy. But I had my camera and that served me well.

The Southern view from the pier

I liked the homemade sign with an "n" for a "z" and its missing letters.

Some sort of fisherman's hanging rack. I don't know. I don't fish. I just liked the weathered look of it. There were only a handful of fisherman out on the pier while we were there.

Casey wandered and watched and contemplated the lure of the ocean. Then she took a few photos and sat and enjoyed her moment in the sun before she had to take the long drive to school and back and then to work.

We left relaxed, sporting salty beach hair, a bit more of a tan and the satisfaction of having finally become people of the pier.

Until our next adventure...


  1. Liz - the pictures are wonderful and the story is fabulous! My girls are 33 and 28 and I'm receiving my first grandchild in June! I remember when they were 19 and at college - it seems like it was just yesterday! Thanks for taking me back to the beach, if only for a few minutes. Mountain Man and I took a trip down to the Keys a couple of months ago for a few days - so, I have had some time at the beach lately. I was born and raised in Florida, but I don't think I have ever been to Juno - maybe we'll just have to take a day trip - or maybe bring the camper and the pups and stay a couple of days! Have a super weekend!
    Hugs -
    P.S. We got rain today! YaHOO!!!!

  2. I learned just a few weeks ago that there are people who experience and people who wonder. I decided I go around being in wonder or awe inspired. Which category do you and Casey fit into?
    Joyce M

  3. Mom! We need to have another adventure soon! Maybe we could take on the lighthouse next? I say yes.

  4. Talk about virtual vacations! How wonderful to live in such a gorgeous area! As I am sitting here freezing in NJ, it was so nice to see all that sun and turquoise water! Thanks for stopping by to see all the snow!...I'll trade you!


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