Monday, September 10, 2012

It was a Surf's Up! Sunday at Point Judith, Rhode Island

My, oh my, like I've said before: The best adventures are the ones you stumble into blindly. On Sunday I went back to the Biomes Marine Biology Center in Rhode Island to see the new baby octopus, Opal, whom I'll write about in my next post. (You won't want to miss this—the cutest thing you'll ever see!)

Since going to South County, RI, is an hour's drive for me, I usually like to combine my effort with other errands and/or adventures, to make as much out of the trip as possible. So on this day, I planned another attempt to get onto the grounds of the Point Judith lighthouse.

This has been a sore point for me this year. I have made repeated attempts for a full 12 months to get onto the lighthouse property (which is technically government property, as it is Coast Guard operated, but they put "Dept of Homeland Security" on the signs now to make it sound more scary).

The lighthouse at Point Judith in Narragansett, Rhode Island

They usually have the gate open so visitors can walk onto the grounds, and lock it at sundown. But after tropical storm Irene hit the area in August of 2011, I was never able to get back onto the property to see how the "beach" there had changed (I say that in quotes because the shoreline by the lighthouse is all rocks—no sand). There had been some rock "sculptures" there and I wondered if the storm had wiped them out. For more background info, refer to my post from a couple of summers ago, "A True Happy Place."

After Irene blew through, they had the whole area closed for construction, which I guess was a coincidence and nothing to do with the storm. I couldn't get through the fence whenever I drove there.

This past January, I drove by and the construction was worse than ever. I went again in May, well before Memorial Day weekend, and the fence was still locked. I returned again at the beginning of August, and found the fence open, but a wedding was taking place by the lighthouse and there was a sign up, asking the public to respect the privacy of the wedding couple. I felt like the Universe was conspiring to keep me away from the one place in that area where I feel like my soul cannot be denied.

So this weekend, I had no idea what I would find. Would the gate, for some reason, be closed now that it's after Labor Day? Even though it usually isn't?

A great feeling of relief came over me when I drove down Ocean Road and saw people lingering around the lighthouse. And cars—more cars than I have ever seen there—were parked all the way up the road.

The reason? Surf's up!

Point Judith is known as a surfing hotspot, but what I didn't realize is that the wave action created by tropical storm Leslie—even as far out to sea as it was—combined itself with high tide Sunday afternoon...and...well, as you'll see...word got out.

I hurried over the hump of lawn and headed down to the "beach" to see how the landscape had changed. And I got the surprise of my life.



Somebody...or some bodies...over whatever time period since a year ago August, had created this:

(click on photos for larger views)

Now it's unfortunate that I cannot put a panoramic, up-close viewfinder in this blog, because it's impossible to show how extensive and beautiful it was.

Was the Universe making my heart ache this past year so that I could be greeted with a giant, joyful surprise such as this? I mean, whose idea was it? Have people been feeling the love and adding to the display over the past months, or did just a few folks endeavor to create this all by themselves as a project? I guess I'll never know.

Surf's up at Point Judith, Rhode Island

I counted enough surfers out around the entire Point that it would be accurate to say there were at least 50 of them riding the most excellent waves out there (plus two men, I sea kayaks...not sure if that was on purpose). Sunday at Point Judith is the only time I've seen that many surfers getting such great wave action there.

People had come with their tripods to take photos of their buddies surfing, or for whatever other reason. 

Spectators who don't surf just came to watch, as the clouds from earlier in the day gave way to very warm, late-afternoon sunshine in the dry September air. 

It's addictive to try to get the best photo, or the best video of somebody getting a good ride on the biggest wave.

I must have been there watching for 45 minutes.

It may not be the North Shore of Oahu here, but for these guys (and gals) a day like this comes maybe once or twice a year.

What surprises have you found on your adventures this year?

If you'd like to know more about Point Judith, my Beach eGuide is available at the Beach Bath and Trash website.


  1. So glad you got in! I think it was worth the wait to see such a beautiful sight on the beach. I love the cairns! You really got some great pictures Cheryl. You should have them blown up.... They are so beautiful!

    I can't wait to meet Opal! I love that name, and that gemstone...I'm sure I will love this baby octopus!

  2. Oh my gosh the Cairns are amazing!! I was in the area (well, lived in RI)) earlier this year..., but only to take the ferry to Block Island. Really cool. Found you via Della!

    1. Ooh, so close, Maya. Must round the corner at the end of Rte 108 and see for yourself next time.


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