Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Long Beach Island

The Sierpina family

For 25 years running, the Sierpina family have been making their annual pilgrimage to the New Jersey Shore. Specifically, Long Beach Island or LBI. This 18 mile long sand spit is full of Summer holiday madness. Roasting yourself in the sun, out for family dinners, playing mini golf and gift shopping. Join in or get left behind. Embracing this tradition is what I'm into and its not a bad way to spend a week, really. The key to surviving is reducing the portion sizes, not lying in the scolding sun all day is a start, sharing one meal at dinner helps too, limiting shopping saves a buck and drinking something a bit nicer than Bud Lite transforms the experience. This goes for general American life too, so I have gotten quite good at it.

Thomas with the sexy Sierpina ladies

Brady enjoying his first time to LBI
On August 2nd, we packed up two cars and drove the nearly 3 hours down the massive Garden State Parkway to LBI. It was a family affair, with Ted and Diane, Shannon, Amy and I, Tom, Nicole and baby Brady and even the dog Diem. Unfortunately, with a shortage of beds I ended up on the couch. During the day, whenever back at the house, I lived on the deck with a beer in hand, often sitting with Ted watching the world go by. The girls loved fussing over and looking after Brady.

We would spend essentially all day out at the beach, sandwiches for lunch and always some chips and crackers to snack on. The days were hot and sunny. The water was cool and refreshing with nice waves to play in and I managed to not get into trouble with the lifeguards either! It really is an unbelievable sight just how many people park themselves up on the beach for the day, and this is replicated up almost the entire East Coast of America. Just imagine the amount of pee there must be in this stretch of the Atlantic!

I dug a mean hole. 
I myself had some good sessions of recreation, going for a few beach runs, some early morning and evening Stand Up Paddle board out on the bay as well as in the ocean on a glass out morning. One morning I paddled over a big school of fish and through swarms of bioluminescent jellyfish. Another day a killer pulse of swell pushed through and I literally surfed from sunrise to sunset. With an evening offshore wind change, I got the chance to surf some of the steepest and hollowest waves I have come across. I gave these waves the tag "Jersey Barrels," since they were incredibly fast, steep forming tubes with quick closeouts. It was a great experience attempting to surf these waves.

Some more of the family times involved playing lots of board games, Bananagrams, Trivial Pursuit and Pictionary. We played some good games of mini-golf, one round included a winners balloon hat made by a clown for me. We had some nice dinners out, but like I said its a holiday. One incredibly popular restaurant, The Chicken or the Egg, is always madness. But we put our name on the list and waited the 2 hours to get in. We walked around the little shops nearby during the wait though, and Amy and I played lots of fun games at the arcade and while the others were shopping, we saw a beautiful, burning, red sunset over the bay, so it was worth the wait. I was very happy to eat lots of clam chowder, and even accomplished my dream of having one in a bread bowl! 

We spent one afternoon watching a Surf Lifesaving Competition. LBI is separated into towns, each with their own mayor, police, fire department and Surf Lifesaving club. We cheered on the team from our Surf City township. They had to race the other teams out to the buoys either by swimming, while rescuing a "victim," rowing in boats or paddling on a surf board. Our team did pretty well, but the team from Barnegat Light win every year, and this year was no exception. 
           Lifeguard Competition 
It was a fantastic week and we look forward to spending more time in LBI in the future.

 Having fun in the sun

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