Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Fun in the Sun

Okay, I knew that I was in for colder experiences today, but there was still room for a little surprise at the magnitude. Fortunately, a heavily insulated parka and expedition-engineered long underwear made it an enjoyable day, as I traveled to the Northeast end of Long Island with my brother Joe and his son George.

This is the upper deck of the 1000-passenger ferry to Long Island from New London, Conn. Notice that there are no other people at all out on deck. Perhaps the 10 degree air being being blown at about 25 mph had something to do with it?

The ferry was huge, the view was nice, and the trip was enjoyable, especially from the enclosed lower decks.

At Montauk point, Joe's adventurous spirit led us beyond the "state vehicles only" sign and right onto the beach near the Montauk lighthouse. Of course, all the state park employees were far away in heated spaces and we were able to realize our error on our own and get back to the sanctioned parking area without reprisal. As I snapped this photo, I felt like I was living a Toyota ad.

Here I am standing on the beach near the lighthouse. Imagine driving wind, keeping in mind that Montauk point juts right out into the Atlantic, home of some of the most intense wind and surf in the Northeast. The air is in the single digits, and the wind was unreal. I thought I was smiling here, but could not feel my face.

Don't believe how cold it was? This is a facing the other way from the same spot. See all that white stuff? Not snow - that's frozen spray from the surf, piled several feet deep. And we're talking seawater, which freezes not at 32 degrees, but somewhere in the teens.

Despite all the cold, and partially because of it, the setting was beautiful. Montauk point is a fascinating place, and the icy transformation added to the experience. It's really a great place, scenic, historic, and peaceful when devoid of the summer surfcasters and tourist throngs. The shutter-finger on my right hand will finish thawing soon, and then I'll really be able to reflect fondly about the scene.


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