The days and hours leading up to the arrival of new swell are rivaled by little else. Like Kaiser Sosa, you need only whisper its arrival “and like that, [it] is gone”. You are left with only the promise of what might have been and the swell report that changed so unfavorably overnight now looking you in the face as if it had told you all efforts to clear your calendar and call in favors were futile from the very beginning. Too bad birthdays are not the same. As far as just disappearing anyway. There is no warning or forecast. You just sort of stumble along till someone reminds you that “your birthday is Wednesday”. Crap. This year was different though. There was cake. Two of them. One chocolate chip cookie and one double fudge, chocolate heart attack special. In fact, as things go, the time around the 34th birthday here at “the notes” was not so bad. Just before June really started laying on equatorial type heat, there was a solid Nor’easterly swell which broke on a local barrier island as well as it has in a long time. Since the camera is still somewhere in California or crossing the country, “the notes” only had to negotiate a strong head wind aboard the Sonny Days and then surf without guilt. And it was worth it. The outer shoals of the island were breaking at head high to 3 feet overhead.
When “the notes” made its home on Whiskey Creek, a solid Nor’easter was easy to note since the sea buoy would ring and the direction of the wind carried it back up the creek and into the still neighborhood. I told my brother that once as we sat around his fire drinking beer. He thought that was the kind of thing I should write about-there ya go man. Now, down here on the river it takes the right conditions and wind and you can still hear the buoy at this end of the barrier island. Before this swell rolled in the buoy could be heard all day. A faint reminder to get my plate clean and have the boat at the ready. Sitting in the line-up, the sets would show on the shoal, toss around some of the SUPs or longboards and then slide back under water. From there you only had to wait as it jacked up over the inside bar. Clear blue-green water and solid overhead and clean surf.
My brother joined me for the third evening and we ditched work leaving from the trusted old dock. By then the swell had dropped and the crowd increased but we stayed till the last light disappeared and the crowd dwindled back to school or to jobs. We rode home in silent exhausted satisfaction.
Then the Bermuda high steamrolled in with its 11o degree heat and the surf has all but disappeared. A few mornings on summer time shapes or longboards have kept us sane but basically its been a good time to go fish. Some good trout and a couple solid flounder made it to the boat as a recently-turned-12 Sonny joined “the notes” for a birthday fishing excursion. On top of that there was the birthday loot. My daughter gave me a pirate costume for rescuing her when she is a princess. My parents gave a similar gift, a costume, pirate playing cards and a pirate themed painting. Either Jimmy Buffet is right and I’m just discovering it too late or my family believes I’ve taken a wrong career path and are encouraging a change. Hopefully there will be rum. It is said to embolden the spirit when rescuing princesses. The eye patch stayed at home for the fishing since the squinting was giving me a headache and makes tying and baiting hooks while at sea a bit precarious. Good thing too as it might have encumbered the fight with the shark we caught (check the video below. All apologies to Hemingway and Hans Zimmer). Really not a bad birthday.
Now we roll into July. In the spirit of new changes, the site now has a new look. Let me know what you think. The pages for the wall of fame can be found at the top (more additions coming soon). And, hopefully, you will find a little more regular posting here at the notes (next up a late, but heartfelt, follow-up on the UNCW surf team, perhaps an interview or two. And if the camera ever returns from the left coast, more pics. For a review on the Digital Wunderland Ding Repair DVD by yours truly, grab a copy of the new ESM.) But not this weekend. On the same weekend that everyone in the country from the midwest and east is driving to the coast, Mrs “the notes” has us travelling to visit friends in Ocean City Md. What? Traffic worries no pirate. Avast ye minivan-lubbers or I’ll run you through. Arr.