Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Seasons in the OBX

Well, so much for trying to keep the blog up-to-date. The days are speeding into weeks and the summer is passing at warp speed. There have been a few stormy days and nights here but nothing so terrible. Weather-wise we have been very fortunate - not too hot and not too cool. The daytime highs for the end of July are quite mild, mid to upper 80s, but the constant breeze keeps the temperature tolerable, sometimes even a bit cool.

The weather is certainly changeable, and we've changed up a couple of scheduled activities, had to cancel one or two, changed a few plans on our days off and such, but all-in-all not too bad. We have the very best intentions of keeping the blog current, but after a long day and sometimes evening activities, the blog is the last thing on our mind.

Work is going exceptionally well. The park is busy, busy, busy. Activities are humming along and participation is strong. Kathy's birthday came and went with no major problems other than a pulled calf muscle from trying to play tennis like a 25-year-old again. The leg is much better, but she still hobbles a bit. (And she never played tennis all that well anyway). On the other hand, Jerri pulled a muscle on the top of her foot running the beach and has switched up from running to biking to give the foot a rest. She still hobbles a bit, too. But neither of us is going to let a little hobbling slow us down. Our most attended activities continue to be tie dye, ghost crab hunts, and marshmallow roasts.

Now, back to topic: Seasons in the OBX. We arrived here in May to gale-force winds and rain. The only greenery were the stubby pines around the campground that looked a lot like bonsai. The ducks and geese had teeny, tiny babies following around in a cute line - the ones that survived are grown now. A couple of weeks ago, the Indian Blanket wildflowers were blooming in clusters all over the dunes. Almost overnight the dunes sprouted tall grassy fronds resembling Pampas Grass, which bloomed into Sea Oats, waving gracefully in the wind. The cattails on the pond were beautiful but have almost bloomed out. The Morning Glory vines are prolific everywhere and there are some unidentified pink flowers by the Marina and one of the ponds. Without fanfare, the seasons of the OBX are giving slight clues indicating what might be next.

We were surprised to hear some of the other workampers counting down the days left before they move on to other campgrounds and other jobs. We strive to just be here now.

We've given up trying to use the awning since the wind can gust up at any moment. Everyday we see the other campers put out the awnings only to take them back in a few minutes later. No point in fighting a losing battle with the wind. It's great for kites but not so good for awnings, umbrellas, and such.

Not much is going on right now... we plan campground activities, we facilitate activities, we plan activities for us on days off and so it goes. We visited the Aquarium on Roanoke Island yesterday. After visiting some of the larger aquariums, like in Atlanta, GA and Mystic, CT it was very small and quaint, but the folks were nice. Tried our hands at crabbing from the Marina walkway today. Caught a couple of small crabs and turned them out to grow some more. The point being, there's not a lot to report. Life as usual seems the norm, so no complaints in that area.

The Workampers are planning a shrimpfest the evening of August 12th at the Marina, so there's always something to look forward to. We've met some really cool Workampers from a variety of backgrounds. They, too, have shucked the bonds of the corporate world for a much freer lifestyle. We've met some really interesting members and guests from all over the world. There are a lot of French speaking Canadians in the park right now and trying to explain that next week is 'pirate week' was more than we bargained on. Also, the men like to wear Speedos (not pretty!). Of course, serving hotdogs by the pool every Saturday has proven to be quite interesting as well. We have seen more "crack" than most DEA agents! Where has the modesty gone?

Enough rambling. Here's hoping that we all have 'life as usual' with no complaints.
Life is an occasion. Rise to it!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's Tuesday - We Must Be Off....

Yes, it's Tuesday so that means we must be off. This is our version of the 'weekend.' Well, we survived the Fourth. It wasn't so bad considering the number of people times the heat index could have equalled disaster.

The Fourth began with tragic news that a fireworks truck transporting fireworks to Ocracoke exploded. The truck was from South Carolina and we've since been told there were at least 3 fatalities from the explosion. The truck had just driven off the ferry into the village when the explosion rocked the island. Thankfully, the ferry did not explode although service was interrupted for several hours while they transported emergency personnel only. By the afternoon the ferries were back on track. If you've ever visited Ocracoke you know it's pretty remote and only accessible by ferry. Imagine trying to get emergency personnel in place.

News traveled fast and we were told that our local fire truck would not be participating in our campground parade. Yes, as recreation directors we organize, decorate and lead the parade of kids, dogs, bikes, scooters, skateboards, wagons, and wheeled things through all the nooks and crannies of the campground, usually headed up by the bright red fire truck. The good news was that the fire truck did appear right on time to lead the parade - the bad news was that after the first turn, the fire truck turned on its sirens and left us in a cloud of dust to attend an emergency on the beach.

That emergency turned into a water rescue and we were left diverting the parade away from the ambulance and other emergency vehicles. No tragedies here, just some guests swimming in the ocean took in too much water. Could have been worse since there were lots of rip currents. Did we mention the Fourth was a weird day??

All in all it was a good holiday and a great week. We always hope for the best and try to prepare for the worst and hope we never need it. Lots of people were shooting fireworks down on the beach. Wonder what it did to all the sea turtle nests? Park Service has large portions of the beaches closed for turtles... We humans never consider the impact our pleasures create on the planet.

Sunday night we had some fantastic OBX storms come through with sideways rain, thunder, lightning and the works. Wind gusts rocked the coach all night. When we went to work Monday all the tent campers were gone but their tents were sad, flat reminders where they had been.

Wednesday arrived before we could publish this blog entry so just to let you know, we did go jet skiing this morning. We had fun and will definitely plan to do it again. The need for speed on the water offered excitement and a refreshing activity for a hot July day. We'll hang close for the rest of the afternoon and get ready for another fun-filled week of recreation to include hula hoop games, a marshmallow roast, ghost crab hunting and much more. Did we mention that we are now offering aquacise in the mornings? We never would have thought we would like it much but it really does give you a good workout without all the sweat and pressure on the joints. "That damn aquacise" is still heard occasionally when Kathy feels the results later in the day, but she knows it is good for her.

The traffic has really picked up on the island making every trip, short or long, a lesson in patience. The baby geese are about as big as their parents now. We have enjoyed spending our days watching them grow.

Enjoy your days and stay safe.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Crabfest Update and Other Stuff

Crabfest was wonderful! The crabs were tasty even if they were a little on the 'hot and spicy' side. We ate crab until the juice ran down our elbows. And the company was pretty good, too! The majority of the workampers were able to get together for crab and comraderie - ummm, ummm, good. Only a passing cloud and a couple of drops of rain, not too shabby.

Otherwise it's been work, work, work - or should we say fun, fun, fun!?! Our 'work' looks like fun to everyone else, and most of the time it really is just plain fun. It would seem that everyone envies our jobs, but sometimes it is tough work. The temperature is heating up here in the OBX, as well as the humidity. Being on the beach and playground sounds great, but can be rough. Sunscreen and antiperspirant are our best friends.

The two remaining baby geese are now just smaller versions of the parent geese. Their feathers are in and they are colored just like the adults. The baby ducks... well, that's just a sad story. There were two groups - now reduced to one small group of just three orphan babies and one of them is crippled (probably from a turtle bite). The cats around here are huge and do what cats do (like eat what's available). Everyday we look to see the latest count of baby ducks.

Monday we were at the beach working on a huge group sandcastle learning and practicing stacking techniques, how to make walls, bricks, and all the good stuff. Yes, it is a hard job. One of the workampers (Judy) is very skilled at working with sand and has taught us lots of cool techniques. We are still unskilled newbies, but willing to watch and learn. We toted a lot of water and moved a lot of sand around.

In our off-duty time, we've been flying kites on the beach and acting like tourists. When we have time in the evenings we walk or bike to the beach with our kites and fly them. The airfoil is really easy to get up and has a 50 foot tail. The spinner kite is fascinating and uses the 'magnus effect' (whatever that is) to rotate and fly. Still didn't find time to jet ski this week - maybe next week.

Yesterday we trekked up to Bodie (pronounced body) Lighthouse, then on to Roanoke Island and Manteo. We visited the waterfront in Manteo, which reminds us of a smaller version of River Street in Savannah with the shops and restaurants. We walked a bridge over the sound to the Elizabethan Gardens and museum. Spent some time scratching through the courtyard looking for shark's teeth and other fossils. Afterwards went up to Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head for the only Wal-Mart and groceries at Harris Teeter. We made a full day of it and were wiped out afterwards.

Today we stayed home, stayed cool, and relaxed. The park is quickly filling up for the Fourth of July, which will be a very busy weekend for us. In looking back at the past blogs, we've apparently had a lapse in time. Could be that we're caught up in our work, even though it's not a really good excuse.

WiFi in the park has been splotchy at best, but mostly down. We'll try to do better at posting to the blog.

Have a safe and happy 4th!