Tuesday, August 30, 2011

the broken coast

Back home after an interesting six days down on Hatteras.  As we rode the ferry into Stumpy Point other ferries were being loaded with relief supplies and workers.

We rode on the ferry Cape Point.  It was a strange feeling as our car was the only one on board.  Crew members came by to visit, making sure we were doing ok on the four hour trip, even making sure we had food for lunch and water to drink.  These same crew members were still cleaning up their own homes for Irene.  It was kind of them to check on us.

It was a breezy ride for the 32 miles up Pamlico Sound.  We were all glad for the wind.  After a couple of hot humid days on Hatteras with no electricity, no hot water and no air conditioning the breeze felt pretty good.

I regretted not having my gps and charts with me as we headed north on the Sound.   We left the docks in Hatteras Village about 11:00 a.m.  I stood up on the observation deck looking west for landmarks on the coast.  By 1:00 I could pick out the entrance to the Pamlico River with Swan Quarter on the north side.  By 1:30 we were off of Wyesocking Bay and thirty minutes later we were passing Englehard and Pains Bay.  It reminded me of a lot of fun sailing I've done in those waters the last couple of years.  I need to get back there soon.

Below is a photograph I shot last night, the last evening on Hatteras.  Storm clouds built the to the north. We pulled our chairs out on the walkway, sat in the evening breeze and watched the show as lighting erupted in the clouds.  We drank a couple of beers, laughed and talked about our visit to Hatteras, the storm, the aftermath and the good people on the island.

I have been on Hatteras for a few hurricanes.  I've been asked to describe them and I can't.  Words fail me.  Thinking about hurricanes this evening I opened my copy of Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen.  The opening scene takes place after a hurricane as Mr. Watson returns to Chokoloskee where he will be gunned down by an angry, confused mob.   Matthiessen talks of tattered birds, dirty in the somber light looking for lost seamarks. "In the wake of hurricane, the coast lies broken, stunned," he says in the eloquent novel.  That phrase caught my attention.

In Hatteras the coast is broken, literally.  But the people are not.


1 comment:

EyeInHand said...

That one was worth reading twice.

There happens to be a stack of Matthiessen on the floor, here, too.