Afternoon rejoinder

The sea ever-changes. Though the predominance of the planet earth is its bowl and continents as big as Africa, as small as New Zealand and as asymmetric as Asia are its buckled lip, the sea seldom acquiesces to anything other than a changeable gossamer-like shoreline. The lunar variances of breadth are complicated and ornamented by the prevailing winds, the sunshine and the hour of the day.

For the past several days we’ve endured an impassable shoreline arising from the inopportune nexus of tides, winds and weather. We’ve adjusted to these foreseeable obstacles by confining our daily outings to passages within Sea Pines.

The Sea Pines Resort or Sea Pines is located in Sea Pines Plantation, a 5,200-acre private residential gated community located on the southern tip of the island which comprises the town of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Sea Pines is home to four golf courses, including Harbour Town Golf Links, Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III, (formerly known as the Ocean Course), the Heron Point golf course (formerly known as the Sea Marsh course) and the Sea Pines Country Club Course. The RBC Heritage is a PGA Tour event held annually in April at the Harbour Town course.

Sea Pines changed hands many times in the decade of the 1980s. The Heizer Corporation purchased it in 1982. It was then transferred to an independent investor named Bobby Ginn with the Ginn family. The Ginn family sold assets to Roylat Holding Corporation with the deal financed by Philip Schwab, a stockholder in a large Florida savings and loan organization.

Roylat Holding Corporation had a financial crisis, Federal Judge Sol Blatt of Charleston placed the Roylat Corporation and Schwab’s organization in involuntary bankruptcy. The legal team he appointed to rebuild Sea Pines created two organizations to run Sea Pines: Sea Pines Associates, which owns resort properties, and the Community Services Associates (CSA) which owns, maintains, and secures common property and roads within Sea Pines. CSA runs, for example, a 42-man security department which handles traffic violations and other limited law enforcement functions. In March 2005, ownership passed to the Riverstone Group, a private concern owned by William Goodwin of Richmond Virginia, and the resort was renamed The Sea Pines Resort (dropping “Plantation”).

Today the elemental features affecting travel along the coastline of the North Atlantic Ocean were convenient and welcoming. I have through nothing more excitable than everyday experience and common sense determined that the alteration of the tides affords a minimum variance of span along the beach of approximately 10 feet per hour. In some sections of the coastline where the raging strength of the sea is compromised by vast yet otherwise imperceptible modifications, the width of the beach can alter by as much as 100 yards within the same normal 6-hour tidal cycle.  Over the years I have grown accustomed to certain of the more obvious comparisons.  One detail however persists; and that is that no matter how high the tide there is – barring extraordinary winds and ocean tumult across or under the sea – always a sufficient though perhaps compromised ribbon of passage.  Choosing to ignore or surmount these somewhat predictable variations is what governs domestic travel adjacent the sea.

Today’s calculation of desirability was significantly muted by the absence of singularity of the winds which were neither especially easterly nor westerly which is my preference but rather almost directly north-south which I know from past experience is an invitation for volatility; that is, the wind can unpredictably switch from east or west which essentially means when cycling along the beach the wind may be either in your face or at your back. Today at least the strength of the wind was less than 5 km/h which meant the alteration was as insignificant.

For a variety of reasons I didn’t partake today of my ritual somnolence upon the white sandy beach adjacent the dunes. The primary reason was the temperature was not entirely favourable.  A mere couple of degrees more would have been sufficient but as it was, the chill overtook. Nor was it a deprivation as I was intent upon fulfilling my athletic ambition to restore my sense of rigour and Spartan necessity. Somehow the privilege of pause contaminates the entire process. This, I am quick to add, is not the only monotonous routine which insinuates the whole. The acquaintance with ceremony began hours earlier upon awakening. Each day – though a creation – is manifestly a re-creation, tinseled with repeated habits and predominantly sedentary performances.