The wind today was generally as it was yesterday though somewhat more northeasterly rather than purely easterly and a fraction more violent. As soon as I got on my bike late this morning I knew in an instant I was in for another treat – sailing down the beach with the sun in my face and the wind at my back! This infrequent charm is ideally suited to my formula of cycling inland parallel to the coast before returning along the beach. It represents a reasonable 15.54 KM Outdoor Cycle which is about half what I would formerly have done. Life has its accommodations.

Though not the proverbial “Nor’easter”, the similarity in derivation is close enough for me to use it as a tool when recalling the favourable wind direction and preparing myself accordingly. Otherwise I opt instead to cycle at the outset southward to Tower Beach. The bicycle path there and back is novel and genial, wending its way through the parkland for which Sea Pines is renowned.  But if the wind prevails as I prefer, the alliance of it, the sun and the sea is for me the supreme satisfaction! I quite literally catch myself mumbling under my breath, “Gawd!” There is nothing in my opinion which exceeds these matters maritime.

A nor’easter (also northeaster; see below), or an East Coast low is a synoptic-scale extratropical cyclone in the western North Atlantic Ocean. The name derives from the direction of the winds that blow from the northeast. The original use of the term in North America is associated with storms that impact the upper north Atlantic coast of the United States and the Atlantic Provinces of Canada.

Typically, such storms originate as a low-pressure area that forms within 100 miles (160 km) of the shore between North Carolina and Massachusetts. The precipitation pattern is similar to that of other extratropical storms. Nor’easters are usually accompanied by heavy rain or snow, and can cause severe coastal flooding, coastal erosion, hurricane-force winds, or blizzard conditions. Nor’easters are usually most intense during winter in New England and Atlantic Canada. They thrive on converging air masses—the cold polar air mass and the warmer air over the water—and are more severe in winter when the difference in temperature between these air masses is greater.

We’re apparently in the throes of what South Carolina calls winter. The next five days are forecasted to have continued chilly weather but clear skies. The wintry atmosphere has noticeably diminished beach activity even though there was a sizeable congregation of old fogeys at Coligny Beach Park, enjoying the swinging  chairs and benches in the warm sunshine. But as I say activity on the beach itself was much reduced.

The retirement home appearance of much of Hilton Head Island is inescapable at this time of year – especially at the supermarkets where it often resembles more a nursing home as elderly people collide with one another in the aisles. Occasional troops of youngsters are seen around the tennis courts but otherwise there’s a lot of white hair and hobbling gentlemen (myself included). It does however make for a friendly environment. I know from experience how mercurial the switch is from this laid back zone to one of youthful enchantment. But we’ll have to wait for another four weeks before the change transpires.

Meanwhile I content myself to relish the sea breeze and the shimmering sunshine. My custom is to park myself adjacent the dunes, drop the bike, remove my shoes and put them on the front wheel of the bike as a headrest, then allow myself the luxury of the warming sun and the sound of the roaring waves in the distance.