Part One: Sandy
It’s very rarely that I get to spend time on Martha’s Vineyard. Economically, it’s just beyond my reach to spend a week there during “the season” and even “off season”, lodging is still precious beyond belief. However the last week in October Dotty and I were given the generous gift of a weeks stay at a cute and comfy timeshare in Edgartown.
Yes, you’re absolutely right! Sunday the 28th and Monday the 29th, hurricane Sandy was wreaking havoc on the east coast and the islands as well. Actually a fever of common sense both on my part and on the part of the Steamship Authority pushed the scheduled Sunday departure to the calmer and “more sensible” seas and winds of Wednesday.
When we arrived in Edgartown there was far from subtle evidence of the storm on the streets of the town. Seaweed on the sidewalks told a tale of seas high enough inland to leave a residue of marine algae behind as memorabilia. Townies told us the water was more than ankle deep on North River Street, where we had dinner on Wednesday.
Wednesday after unpacking and before dinner we tooled around the island in a “get reacquainted” run. Sandy’s visit was evidenced by many downed sizeable trees. Cruising in the Jeep on Beach road revealed an entire lane which had been literally washed away into the ocean. A friend who lives in West Tisbury acknowledged that the power blinked a time or two during the heaviest part of the storm but mercifully did not fail completely. Others mentioned seeing fish complete with water to support them, in their formerly grassy back yards. All of this amounting to impressive evidence of Sandy’s ferocity but nothing in comparison to what we would encounter later in the week.
Thursday and Friday as well, remnants of the huge meteorological disturbance made for blustery cool gusts of wind, uncertain looking clouds and a damp chill to the atmosphere. The “more sensible” part certainly didn’t translate to more comfortable and Sandy was still busy reconfiguring a number of things including our agenda.
On Thursday we drove to the to the lighthouse at Aquinnah (the area formerly known as Gay Head) because the only image I have from that area was shot on film and scanned to digital more than 10 years ago. I wanted something more recent for my catalog and to observe if there had been significant changes. The image above illustrates the disposition of the weather. Dark threatening clouds and gusty winds persevered with the occasional shaft of sunlight breaking through the rapidly moving banks of cloud cover. (As it turns out, just a few days ago a group of concerned citizens and townspeople are trying to raise awareness that the light is only fifty feet from a rapidly eroding seashore and calling for the light to be moved inland to relative safety.)
Friday evening as our West Tisbury friend regaled us with a wonderful meal and glasses of red wine, I bemoaned the fact that I hadn’t found my “Ah Ha” shot for this rare visit. She then mentioned what would be the best tip I’ve gotten in a long while. You see, many well intentioned tips turn out to be cluttered and rather unspectacular vistas from a photographic standpoint. However, as I am known to say, “This one had legs”. She said the word was out that Sandy had “split a dune” on Lucy Vincent Beach and then she gave us “spot on directions” to get there as the road to Lucy is not marked and difficult to find unless you get a tip from an insider. The stage was set for a dramatic Saturday experience.