Saturday, March 31, 2012

The magic of the ocean....

The magic of the sea,  it draws me in with its hypnotic rhythm and syncopated pace.
The smell of the salt air cleanses my vessel and renews my spirit.
The whisper of the waves rocks my soul to sleep on the sandy shore.

I have always had the need to be near the sea. From my earliest memories, my parents engaged me with the ocean. The only time I was not near the ocean was when I went to college for four years in Western Massachusetts. In Western Mass, there are mountains; but there is something about the sea that calls me....
What secrets does the sea hold? How deep is the deepest part? What treasures does it hold?  Why are we drawn to such a vast body of water? Is it primal?

I find magic around the ocean. The magic is the feeling of comfort, optimism and completeness.....

Ogunquit Beach on a crisp Spring day.

Spring day, 18th Street Beach, Fort Lauderdale.

Monday, March 19, 2012

HGTV House Hunters, Wilton Manors

I have always enjoyed watching HGTV's House Hunters. It's 30 minutes of watching three different possible house choices.

The mechanics of the show are simple: a couple will usually pick a geographical location and choose a home out of three different case scenarios with a realtor. Its and age old dilemma of finding the "just right" property to settle in. It's a non-scripted reality themed program that explores different cities and towns in North America. There is also a spin-off program called House Hunters International.

Greg & Producer Kathryn Douglas

I referred two guests from Ogunquit Beach Inn to a realtor friend of mine in Wilton Manors, that were interested in vacation property in tropical south Florida. I also purchased a renovated mid-century house from Realtors, David Daso and Bob Wilfong of Wilton Manors.  So, it was an easy choice for me to refer these guests to these gentlemen.  David was contacted by HGTV to be chosen as a realtor for an episode, with the two prospected buyers, Marcel and Carl.

Relator David Daso, crew of HGTV and Bob Wilfong

The three searched for homes in the Wilton Manors area, and chose one property to buy. Of course the choice was easy: location, location, location. The last part of the program shows the owners after purchasing the property and the changes and/or improvements that are made in the home.
The last scene also features  friends touring the new home and toasting the property. I was asked to participate in that scene.
Carl and Marcel enjoy stunning views on their balcony

Spoiler alert! Can not reveal which property they purchased, but if you do need a good Realtor in Wilton Manors/Fort Lauderdale contact David Daso & Bob Wilfong. What's next?? House Hunters in Ogunquit?? Stay tuned!

The Details:
David Daso, Bob Wilfong- Realtors
2039  Wilton Drive
Wilton Manors, FL 33305
Telephone: 954.396.3223

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ghost Ship of Ogunquit

Wooden ships on the water, very free and easy,
Easy, you know the way it's supposed to be,
Silver people on the shoreline, let us be,
Talkin' 'bout very free and easy...
-Crosby, Stills and Kantner

In the early the late 1980's and early 1990's, we use to see the remnants a shallop or schooner that use to appear during low tide on Ogunquit beach. The hull would  mysteriously appear above the sand as the tide would retreat back the sea as sunbathers and beachcombers roamed the beach. The remains were buried deep in the sand about 200 meters north of the main beach at "section G".

We use to call it a ghost ship, even though it's actually a shipwreck. It's still buried in the sand, and depending on the year and the weather determines if we will see this Ghost ship. 

                                                                             (Photo from the 1980's)
100 years ago, before automobiles came to Ogunquit. Ships and schooners would drop-off provisions from away places like Boston or beyond. The ships would then be filled with goods from Maine for the return trip (firewood for Boston was one common commodity). The ships would dock at Wharf Lane at high tide. As you walk on Wharf Lane and then across the little wooden bridge you can see the pilings from the old docks. Many of the buildings on Wharf lane and Shore Road were store houses for these goods that would be carried  by sea. 

Dories and Schooners on Wharf Lane. The bridge in the background is the bridge to the beach,
So next time you are walking on Ogunquit Beach, take the time to search for the ships that were lost at sea...

                             (Photo courtesy of Rick Barber)  

Wooden path bridge from Wharf Lane to Beach Street.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hammerhead Swim Practice March 9th 2012

One of my favorite things to do in the winter in Fort Lauderdale is to swim with a masters swim club called the Hammerhead Aquatics.

The Hammerheads are a  premier masters swim club made up of athletes age 18 to 80-something. The club is very inclusive and features a wide array of athletes. Some are learning how to swim,  some are training for triathlons, and many are fitness swimmers like myself. One Hammerhead  is striving to qualify for the Olympics in London.

Coach John Grzeszczak

John Grzeszczak is one of the coaches for the team. Coach John qualified for the Olympic trials in 1980. His life's passion is swimming. During the week, practices are at 5.30am, noon, and early evening. Weekend practices are at 8am. There are 14 practices a week. I attend 4 to 5 workouts. The Hammerhead's use two pools in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area: Sunrise Middle School, and Pompano Aquatic Center. The workouts are great, but also, the camaraderie with other swimmers adds a big plus factor in going to practice!
This year the team goes to Iceland in May to compete in the IGLA.

Daily, Coach John designs  workouts depending on swimmers skill levels and abilities. Its almost like personal group training. All practices are coached in a masters' style environment which focuses on timed interval and stroke training. Workouts at Sunrise pool are generally a bit longer (75 minutes), which means more yards!

Here is Today's noon hour workout, for my skill level:
Pompano Aquatic Center. Pool set to 50 meter long course.

Warm-up 400 swim 300 pull-buoy
12  x 50 meters (Combo, Kick, swim/stroke)
50 meters x 4, rest 20 seconds
100 meters x 2, rest 20 seconds
200 meters x , rest 20 seconds
100 meter cool down.
100 meter, for good measure.
My Total 2100 meters.

Swimming has always been a part of my life. I can not remember a time when I have not been around the ocean, pool or water. Summers in Maine, and summer camp. Lessons at YMCA as a child, and inter-collegiate water polo club in college.

Los Baños, Laguna de Bay, Philippines 1979

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Gourmet Food Truck Expo

Remember the "Ice Cream Truck" when you were a child? I was like Pavlov's dog, I would hear that circus like music, and I would run home yelling "Ice Cream Man!". I would beg my mother for a quarter to get an early evening frozen delight.....

Fast forward 40 years, and now we have Gourmet Food Trucks. Its a  post modern phenomenon. Travelling gourmet food trucks with aspiring chefs serving interesting world street food to the masses.

This smorgasbord of food trucks was held at the Casino Isle Race Track in Pompano Beach Florida. These elaborate trucks are "tricked" out to appeal to the eye as well as our palates. About 20 trucks competed for our dining dollars. It's street food for the people. Mexican tacos, Greek gyros, Phillie cheesesteak and Korean Seoul food are just a sampling of some of the food trucks that were at this event on a Wednesday evening.
The event is sponsored by Gourment Truck Expo, which sponsors various "meet-ups" throughout south Florida.

As we dined under the stars, a horse harness race was going on, and inside the casino people were busy playing the slot machines. It was an interesting juxtaposition of people and events.
One vehicle was a real fire truck that sold pizza from a wood oven.

It seems like this is a world wide trend. Just this week, a classmate from high school in Philippines posted that the first food truck is now canvassing areas of Manila. The "Guactruck" serves a hybrid of Filipino/Mexican food.

I cant help think that this food truck fad reminds me of going to a suburban mall in the mid 1970's and seeing a Food Court for the first time. An array of different pseudo-fast foods from around the world all compactly merchandise to taste and sample in one confined area.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Ocean, Great Equalizer

The Ocean. It has a mind of its own. At times it's serene and calm, and other times its wild and unruly.

          Fort lauderdale Sunrise.

 (photo by Rick Barber) Marginal Way, Ogunquit, ME. 

 While sitting in the beach in Fort Lauderdale, I noticed that no one would talk to each other while sunbathing on the sand. However, something remarkable happened when people jumped into the ocean. People began to talk to each other and socialize. Its almost like "we are all in this boat together" mentality. It was then that I realized that the ocean is the great equalizer. The ocean does not care if you are rich or poor, black or white. The ocean, can soothe you and can also punish you. Feed you and dehydrate you. While swimming in the ocean, we need each other for comfort, security and companionship.

                                                                    Ogunquit Beach

After all, we humans are made up of water. We would have an affinity for all things water especially the ocean, which is a living body with a strong personality. In the ocean, we are all the same......
Little Gregory and his Mom enjoy each other on the beach.......

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 1st Ogunquit Storm

It's March 1st and it may be meteorological spring, but that did not stop a late winter storm that hit Ogunquit and the southern Maine coast today.

It's been a  mild winter on the Maine coast with very little snow. This year, mild temperatures prevailed that were more akin to a temperate Pacific northwest winter. However, those mild temperatures ended today, and Old Man Winter returned to show us who is boss.

Today, Ogunquit is getting pelted with 8 to 10 inches of the thick white heavy white stuff. Winds were high this morning, but it has been snowing all day.

Rick Barber of Moon Over Maine went walking through the storm and took these pristine pictures....Enjoy!

Ogunquit Beach Inn, March, 1st storm.

Wharf Lane & Shore Road, Ogunquit Camera Shop.

The Wooden Bridge, from Wharf Lane.

The Point, at Ogunquit Beach from the wooden Bridge.

Hutchin's Blacksmith Antique Mall on Main Street

The uber popular Front Porch Cafe and Piano Bar.

Tree's along Main Street in front of Village Food Market. 

Moon Over Maine with a full blanket of Snow.

Ogunquit Beach Inn, soon to re-open for year 16 this April.

Meanwhile, as the storm raged on I found solace on Ft Lauderdale Beach! I have had many a winter storm, so, I feel no guilt!