Block Island

New London Ledge Light, at the mouth of the Thames River, Long Island Sound

Saturday was an overcast day. “Welcome aboard the Jessica W,” our captain’s voice came over the sound system. “We have rough seas today so please stay seated.” And we were off! Our very first high-speed ferry ride! We zoomed past the red lighthouse (above) and, a short time later, the lighthouse with solar panels on the deck (below). We kept our eyes on the horizon so we wouldn’t get sea-sick and a little over an hour later we docked at Old Harbor and set foot on a very picturesque Block Island for the first time in our lives.

Race Rock Light, off the coast of Fishers Island, Long Island Sound

“What took you so long?” quipped our taxi-driver/tour-guide, when he found out we lived just over the sound in Connecticut and had never been to Block Island before. He was a gregarious old salt with many a tale to tell about the heroes and villains of the island’s history. And we were amused by his frequent references to the historical society, which he called the “hysterical” society, presumably because of its overly zealous efforts to keep the island “as-is” for future generations.

Rebecca-at-the-Well? Sophrosyne?

One story was about the woman portrayed in the above statue. Apparently the temperance movement was quite active during Prohibition on Block Island and to pacify its members this monument was erected by the town to honor the biblical Rebecca-at-the-Well. Because of the grape clusters hanging from the woman’s ears, though, it is thought that the woman is actually Sophrosyne, the Greek goddess of moderation, self-control, restraint, and discretion. In other words, Temperance.

Look, stranger, on this island now
The leaping light for your delight discovers,
Stand stable here
And silent be,
That through the channels of the ear
May wander like a river
The swaying sound of the sea.
~ W. H. Auden

Our new friend took us to Payne Overlook where we could look 182 feet down the bluff to the beach below. Next time we go, we plan to bring a picnic lunch and spend some time at Mohegan Bluffs. There are 152 wooden steps down to the beach below, so we can do some beach combing and then climb back up the steps at a snail’s pace with time for lots of rest stops.

When I inquired about the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge I was told there were lots of them. (Later on I bought a trail guide and found that there are indeed ten wildlife areas on this small island.)

Picking up on my interest in nature, our guide then asked if we had ever seen a great black-backed gull. It is the largest of all the seagulls. As he described it I began to think that perhaps he had helped us solve a mystery about a pair of gigantic seagulls that were visiting our beach in Groton (left) for a few days near the end of August. They were so much larger than the regular gulls, but were speckled like immature gulls. After we got home I did a little more research and found a picture of an immature great black-backed gull which does very much look like the ones we saw here in Groton.  Larus marinus

Later on, we visited Southeast Lighthouse. The following picture I took looking up the five-story stairway in the light tower.

Southeast Light, on Mohegan Bluffs, Block Island

It was a delightful day trip we had, something we’ve been meaning to do for many years. There are many more things to explore on Block Island. A cemetery that may be the resting place of some of my newly discovered Littlefield ancestors. A labyrinth… Below is the Jessica W, high-speed ferry, waiting to take us home.

Amelia Island II

4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Georgia
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Florida

The turtles live with huge hotels for neighbors!

4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Georgia
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Florida
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Georgia
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Florida
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Georgia
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Florida
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Georgia
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Florida
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Georgia
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Florida

There are more pictures of other places to come! But first, Tim took a couple of short videos of the turtles and lizards…

It still amazes me how the turtles can go about their business so close to so much human activity….

Amelia Island I

4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Georgia
Barbara and son Nate caught on film ~ 4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Florida

Another place we visited on vacation was Fernandina Beach, across the border in Florida, on Amelia Island. Shea had spotted some turtles here when she spent a day at the beach with friends. Because Tim is crazy about turtles we had to come see them! This place isn’t a nature sanctuary, and we found the close proximity of nature to civilization a little strange.

4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Georgia
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Florida

We were taking turns using the camera this day, too, but Tim took most of the pictures as I recall…

4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Georgia
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Florida

With a special pass recreational vehicles are allowed on this beach.

4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Georgia
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Florida
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Georgia
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Florida
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Georgia
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Florida
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Georgia
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Florida
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Georgia
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Florida
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Georgia
4.8.12 ~ Amelia Island, Florida

A few more pictures from Amelia Island tomorrow…

Cumberland Island IV

4.9.12 ~ St. Marys, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ wild turkey ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
whelk egg case ~ 4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ tufted titmouse ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ bonaparte’s gull ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ turkey vulture ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

This is the end of the Cumberland Island National Seashore pictures…  Stay tuned for pictures of other places!

Cumberland Island III

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
tufted titmouse ~ 4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
a little nest builder ~ 4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
female and male cardinals ~ 4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
baltimore oriole ~ 4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

Still more pictures coming!

Cumberland Island II

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

More wildlife from Cumberland Island National Seashore… I should also mention that we only visited a small portion of the island – perhaps in the future we will allow more time in our plans for further exploration of its charms…

The crab below was on the Atlantic side of the island.

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

The crabs above were on the Cumberland Sound side of the island.

Cumerland Sound ~ 4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
a mummified fish? ~ 4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

We weren’t sure if the barnacle-encrusted horseshoe crab (above) was alive until its tail moved. When we took a peek underneath its shell it started moving swiftly away from us.

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

Methinks the horseshoe crab was relieved when we finally left the scene.

Cumberland Island I

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

Between the four of us (Nate, Shea, Tim & me) we took well over a thousand pictures with the new camera over our five-day visit to Georgia. We kept taking turns getting shots and spent several evenings dazzled in front of the TV screen watching the digital slideshow of the day’s pictures. It’s been difficult to choose which ones to share here on the blog!

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

Starting off here with our day at Cumberland Island National Seashore, a 45-minute ferry ride from St. Marys, Georgia. Nate had the camera for most of this day so the majority of the shots are probably his. It’s hard to remember who had the camera when, but, he most definitely took the one of the tiny lizard puffing out his throat (above) and we are all blown away over how well it came out!

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

We had hoped to see the wild horses but all we got to see of them was their droppings and hoof-prints. However, the island was teeming with wildlife everywhere we looked, so there wasn’t much room for disappointment.

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
Atlantic Ocean ~ 4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

I will be posting more photos as time allows…

tiny moments

acorn woodpecker by David Brezinski
acorn woodpecker by David Brezinski

It must be those brief moments
when nothing has happened – nor is going to.
Tiny moments, like islands in the ocean
beyond the grey continent of our ordinary days.

There, sometimes, you meet your own heart
like someone you’ve never known.

~ Hans Børli
(Happiness…?)