I woke up at 6 AM this morning and went to the beach to watch the sunrise. Yes, the world is coming to an end--if joining Facebook weren't evidence enough, here I am waking up (not being still awake at that hour, as is not unheard of) before dawn, without setting an alarm.
The sunrise was like a giant lava lamp being switched on. A orange globule started pulling out of the sea, and even when it was 3/4 above the horizon, the atmosphere made it look like a fat piece was still attached to the base liquid. Then it popped free and rose surprisingly fast behind a ribbon of morning clouds.
I ate a muffin on the beach, then went inland about five miles to spend an hour at the gym. The water in the fountain where I filled my bottle tasted brackish--I've been spoiled by the super-filtered stuff at the house kitchen sink. The cats only drink the filtered stuff, too. The tan tabby yowls in a Siamese voice when he's feeling emotionally needy, and the extremely shy Manx has emerged from her fortress under the bed on two occasions and allowed me to pet her.
I went to the beach for wave-wallowing this afternoon. I had my dark cheesecloth dress over my swimsuit, and just left it on when I went in the water--light as it was, it would have been burdensome if I'd been really swimming, but I didn't wade more than waist-deep, and I just didn't want to show my leg, spectacularly bruised and swollen as it is, to the other beachgoers.
Paranoid about sharks as always--though it is my sister and my niece who attract them, not I--I kept an eye on the water as I bounced and floated and splashed. I did see one rather large (dinner-plate size in circumference) jellyfish that I decided to avoid. Meantime, there was an exciting display out in the ocean, as one giant stingray after another (or perhaps the same one, full of joie de vivre) cartwheeled out of the water and then plunged back with a splash.
Speaking of stingrays and show-offs, a skinny white dude in long shorts and a t-shirt mounted a blue paddle board, and made his way across the rolling breakers--holding an eight-foot fishing pole in his teeth. To me, this was the beach equivalent of those thin taut guys who cycle their road bikes through traffic while leaning back on the wee seat in a casual attitude, not touching their handlebars (truthfully, I've always been vaguely envious of their balance and devil-may-care cool, but as we have seen, I can't stay upright on a bike when I have both hands clutching for dear life). The paddleboarder established himself on calm water and began casting his line into the stringray area. The gentle swells of the ocean made his board mostly invisible, so he looked like he was standing on top of the sea. He did not catch anything, and returned with pole to shore after fifteen minutes--his lack of time-commitment was another factor in my deciding that he was basically putting on a performance of "look at me" for the bikini-clad babes rather than seriously fishing.
On of my favorite restaurants in downtown Fernandina is 29 South, and since I'd eaten my way through the perishables in the house fridge, I decided to dine out for supper. Great food (their "Southwest Taco Soup" was more of a Brunswick Stew, but nonetheless delicious), and a steak on a "bed" of fries. When a menu describes meats served on "beds" of starches or salads, you never quite know what that means--I've seen "beds" that were thinner than sheets, or mere futons between the entree and the plate. This "bed," however, would have adequately cushioned even the legume-vexed princess from the fairy tale--I'd never seen such a huge mound of potatoes. The steak, which was not small, was dwarfed by it. Very tasty--and a good thing, too, because I was already so full from the soup that I ended up taking away more than half for leftover-lunch tomorrow!
Since I'd had a glass of wine at dinner, I decided to walk down to the harbor with my camera afterwards, to enjoy the view of the marsh side of the island and coincidentally see the sunset. I had much more company watching the sun go down than had been with me when it rose--people spread out along the docks with their phones and their cameras, snapping pictures and chatting, parents fussing at their children not to drop things in the water. A small pod of dolphins swam by, including a mother and her calf. There was a rumor that someone had spotted a manatee as well, but I couldn't verify this. Altogether, a thoroughly full (and filling) day--I think I may visit Fort Clinch tomorrow, if the weather's nice, adding to my list of "outdated coastal fortifications I have seen" on the Atlantic seaboard.