Life on the Island

It shouldn’t of course surprise me to discover there is a unique tempo and a special favour to life on the Island.  Some are but discrete nuances but they are nonetheless discernible and persuasive.  The matutinal routine for example is very much like any other; however, instead of bacon with my eggs, it’s smoked salmon.  A small difference and certainly not one which is peculiar to life by the Atlantic.  But the maritime theme encourages the fish element, no question.  And it is a motif which recurs frequently especially at local lunch and dinner venues.

Our subsequent morning routine is unquestionably that of an Islander.  We saddle up for what is proving to be an average daily bike ride of twenty miles on the beach.  So far we’ve been lucky enough to have two important factors in our favour.  One, by the time we hit the beach at Beach Club, Marker 49 (usually between 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.) the tide has receded sufficiently to afford a dry and broad expanse of sand upon which to cycle.  Two, the wind has been from the north, into our faces as we head for the uppermost reaches of the beach, Marker 97.  The wind has never been terribly strong, just enough to require a bit of extra effort and to make the return trip worth it!  We positively sail home!

We have two pit stops during our bike ride.  The first is at either Coligny Park (Marker 52) or Sonesta Resort (Marker 72).  Only Coligny Park provides Wi-Fi service where we usually check our email.  Both offer clean public water closets.  The second stop is at Marker 97 where a break-water of large stones separates one’s progress from the final stretch of the beach to Marker 117.  I have never gone beyond Marker 97 because by the time I get there I am conscious of my limitations.  It is my custom to flop down upon the soft white sand dunes to stretch and relax and to absorb the sunshine from across the sea.  A snooze may ensue; but in any event my mind is carried away by the sound of the surf and the seagulls, nurtured by the warmth of the sun.

Our return trip southward along the beach is more purposeful and uninterrupted by dalliance.  We make exceptionally good time with the wind at our backs.  The goal is Beachside Tennis Villas (Marker 4).  Historically there is some risk that the beach at the southernmost point will not sustain bicycle travel but we’ve escaped that problem thus far.  After we leave the beach at Marker 4 to regain the bike path on South Sea Pines Drive, we are not more than three miles from home.  Following a circuitous route which has evolved from our experimented ramblings, taking us through the golf course and Lawton Oaks, we at last reach our home destination.  If it has been a sunny day we’re glowing.

What follows is a committed enterprise for the preparation of a meal.  We’re famished from the ride and the sea air!  Today was a pasta puttanesca (tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, capers, black olives and anchovies), a Southern Italian dish reminiscent of the  Mediterranean.  For dessert it was Mandarin oranges, fresh figs and Gorgonzola cheese.  Strong, black coffee countered the otherwise soporific effect of the meal, at least temporarily.

On other occasions we have diverted ourselves on the homeward bound trip to Sea Shack, an exceedingly casual outpost which serves delicious fresh fish (battered, sautéed or blackened) and homemade cornbread that is thick, heavy, moist and laden with sweet potato.  There are outdoor picnic tables for dining if the weather permits.