Dangerous conditions have lifeguards on high alert during “Beat the Heat” Sprint Triathlon

Dangerous conditions have lifeguards on high alert during “Beat the Heat” Sprint Triathlon

Journal entry: Nov. 10, 2013 – Daytona Beach, FL

An hour before sunrise the sound from the parking lot was of an angry ocean – waves crashing, wind screaming – mother nature roaring its displeasure at the coming of the sun.

Karla was here to compete in her first sprint triathlon and the kids and I were here to cheer her on.

As the competitors gathered their gear, sand whipped across the parking lot, stinging the right side of my neck and biting my cheek.

A rumbling sound drew my attention to the beach. Somewhere close, still hidden behind a veil of darkness, lurked the churning ocean. I caught a shimmer of moonlight dancing atop an enormous white-capped wave.

When I think of that morning I think of that wave, at the peak of its power, cresting above a sand bar before racing out of view and smashing onto the beach. The violent crash still brings a shudder of fear as I think, “How are they going to swim in these conditions?”

The more experienced racers had gathered in small groups and were talking in hushed, excited voices. “It looks bad,” they agreed.

We mulled about as race organizers gathered away from the water’s edge, debating whether they should cancel the 400 meter swim and alter the race. Then in then end, it was decided that the event would continue and those who wanted too test their mettle could race.

The athletes were happy. This was a sanctioned event with prize money for the winners. A season-long points race hung in the balance.

Sunrise was spectacular, its deep hue’s of orange and pink and purple filling the sky. Then the whistle blew and the athletes ran into the sea.

And by all accounts the struggle during the swim was intense and personal and the fight with the waves and the current was very real.

The dangerous conditions had lifeguards on high alert, as they patrolled in well rehearsed unison, guiding weaker swimmers and encircling the pack until the last athlete was safely back to shore.

32 participants, including Karla, received notice: 
INCOMPLETE COURSE DUE TO SWIM PORTION HAVING TO BE HALTED 
BY DIRECTION OF BEACH PATROL
201 Karla        Katon              1:54:33 1:01:03    2:41   40:06

Despite having been halted during their swim, all emerged victorious. Maybe not in numbers, but in self-discovery, as each had pushed themselves to the limit.

After catching her breathe from her swim, Karla gave the girls a quick hug and hurried into the transition area to gather her bike and continue her race.

For me the bike and run events were almost an afterthought, as the race was won the moment everyone emerged safely from the sea.

Official Race Results

Photographs by Chris Katon

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Feature: For the Family – Hilton Head Island, SC

Feature: For the Family – Hilton Head Island, SC

HILTON HEAD MONTHLY MAGAZINE

“CITY GUIDE ISSUE” – SEPTEMBER 2013)

 

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC –

Blessed with natural beauty, white sandy beaches and temperate climate, Hilton Head Island has earned a reputation as one of the most family friendly vacation destinations in the United States.

At the top of many must visit lists is a climb to the summit of the iconic lighthouse in Harbourtown.

Visitors will learn about the island’s rich natural history and are rewarded for their climb with spectacular views of Harbourtown Golf Links, Harbourtown Yacht Basin and Calibogue Sound.

Active families enjoy eco-kayak or stand-up paddle boarding tours through salt marsh estuaries, where naturalists and photographers have frequent sightings of alligators, bottlenose dolphin, manatee, bald eagles, hawks and osprey.

img_4654Thrill seekers will enjoy a visit to Zip Line Hilton Head for an adventuresome canopy tour. Dolphin sightseeing tours, sailing trips, parasailing, waterskiing and tubing are especially popular.

A custom pirate ship is outfitted for a pirate adventure tour. Sport fishing charters, night shark trips and a catamaran sunset cruise are also available.

A boat trip to Daufuskie Island offers a glimpse of what other sea islands were like before bridges and causeways opened them to development. Most native residents of the island are descendants of freed slaves, who have made their living oystering and fishing for decades.

Family-oriented singer, songwriter Gregg Russell can be found performing beneath the famous Liberty Tree six nights per week throughout the summer season.

At Lawton Stables a guided trail ride through the scenic Sea Pines Forest Preserve is offered. Young children will treasure a visit with Callie, the island’s pet deer.

IMG_4489A visit to Coligny Beach is an open invitation for people watching, where the flip-flop-tapping rhythm of steel drums and Jimmy Buffet songs sets a casual mood.

Jennifer Moscar of Atlanta, who is formerly of Bluffton, took photographs of chocolate ice cream mustaches on her two young children as they splashed and danced through the water spouts in the Coligny Beach Fountains.

Thousands of family’s annually enjoy Harbourfest at Shelter Cove, where Shannon Tanner has entertained audiences for the past 25 years. Live entertainment, bouncy houses, food, arts and crafts, and evening fireworks display are featured.

For the Freeland family of Rochester, New York, an afternoon at Islander Beach was an opportunity to construct an elaborate sand castle of a giant alligator, drawing admiration from a family of four on Fat Tire bicycles out for an evening ride along the shore.

OLD TOWN KAYAK TOUR 952013Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, which includes more than 4,000 acres of salt marsh estuary and small islands.

Many families also enjoy championship caliber golf, tennis, cycling and miniature golf. Others relax during a game of bocce or kite flying. In addition, Sandbox Children’s Museum, a video arcade, bowling alley and several movie theatres are also available.

Did you like this story? Follow me at dinewrite.org

I learned to Salsa Dance on Hilton Head Island

Learning to Salsa Dance with fitness dance instructor Alyssa Petro (Photo by Chris Katon)

Learning to Salsa Dance with fitness dance instructor Alyssa Petro (Photo by Chris Katon)

Hilton Head Island, SC – You’re oceanfront at Daniel’s nightclub with professional dance instructor Alyssa Petro learning how to salsa dance.

The energy in the room has a sexy, silky feeling that makes your shoulders rock back and forth and head sway side-to-side. Your view from the dance floor is of flashing lights synchronized to the rhythm of the Latin beat.

Without thinking, you’re body falls into step with the music – sliding forward, then back and side-to-side. Alyssa shows us how to count to the beat, then step together.

“We just do basic steps because there tends to be a new group of people every week,” Alyssa said. “There’s just something that comes alive when I hear that music. To me it’s just lively and happy and it makes me feel amazing.”

Making memories is what vacation is all about. When’s the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?

For more information, visit http://spicefitnessdance.tumblr.com

“There is Magic in Old Town” – at 10th Annual Historic Bluffton Art and Seafood Festival

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10th Annual Historic Bluffton Art & Seafood Festival (Photo by Chris Katon)

Bluffton, SC – I spent the better part of Sunday immersing myself in the sites and sounds of the 10th Annual Bluffton Art and Seafood Festival and one things for certain, this once sleepy artist community is exploding with energy.

“There is magic in Old Town,” said Bluffton resident Ed McCullough. “Great things are happening here.”

We were talking about two renovation projects that he’s involved in, along with the exploding growth of the Bluffton Promenade.

McCullough, who is founder of the Bluffton Farmers Market, couldn’t be happier about the positive vibe of the day.

Both sides of Calhoun Street were lined with 100 vendor booths of artists from across the South East showcasing beautiful paintings, photography and other original art.

Two dozen local restaurants including Red Fish, Mulberry Street Trattoria and Joe Loves Lobster Rolls were on-hand to cater the event.

Bluffton Middle School Junior Naturalists manned touch tanks with Taco the Turtle, horseshoe crabs and fiddler crabs to share information about Low Country marine life.

Collage Illusion is an award-winning technique of collage art on glass by artist Carl Crawford of Columbia, SC. Crawford uses a mixed media style to create an illusion of an oil painting. The technique has earned him numerous national awards, including Most Creative for the 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

On the Water with Jason DuBose, Director of the Outfitters Center at Oldfield Plantation

On the Water with Jason DuBose, Director of the Outfitters Center at Oldfield Plantation

Okatie, SC – Visitors from land arrive here through a canopy of moss covered oaks, past fields of grazing horses to a period era filling station and general store. On the back side of the property is the waterfront office of Jason DuBose, certified River Pro and Charter Boat Captain who is Director of the Outfitters Center at Oldfield Plantation.

“I’m lucky in that I get to spend most of my day on the water as a guide for our owners and their friends,” DuBose said. “Oldfield has a real active charter fishing program, so on any given day I could be anywhere from casting for Red Fish in the flats to trolling for Wahoo or Tuna in the Gulf Stream.”

On property, ponds are stocked with Bass, Brim and Catfish to keep the anglers happy.

“Oldfield is host site for the only Orvis Fly Fishing School in the state,” he said. The program is coordinated at Bay Street Outfitters in Beaufort, where staff members have trained to become Orvis certified instructors.

According to DuBose, a special arrangement with Turkey Hill Plantation in Ridgeland offers owners and guest’s access to 18,000 acres of outdoor adventures including “a sporting clays course, private shooting instruction and some of the best quail hunting in the state.”

“Being a private community most of our amenities are geared towards our residents and their guests, but we do offer monthly nature seminars with guest speakers that are open to the public,” Mr. DuBose said.

Other outdoor activities at Oldfield include the popular golf course, tennis instruction and equestrian center, where trail rides, instruction and summer camps are managed by Equestrian Director Jude Dontje.

For more, read “The Great Outdoors” in the November issue of Hilton Head Monthly Magazine.

The farm on the hill where blueberries grow

The farm on the hill where blueberries grow

Moravian Falls, NC – In the mountains of North Carolina there is a farm on a hill where blueberries grow. The Brushy Mountain Berry Farm is a u-pick ‘em treasure trove of farm fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and seasonal produce.

Plump, juicy, and sweet, with vibrant color ranging from deep purple-blue to blue-black and highlighted by a silvery sheen called a bloom, blueberries are one of nature’s greatest treasures.

The farm is located just off Route 16 in the northwest corner of the state and is home to brothers Austin and Cody Brodfuhrer, best friends who share a passion for sustainable farming.

“Cody and I share a passion for environmental sustainability and for as long as I can remember we shared the dream of owning a farm,” Austin said.

A small store on property features products from local merchants, including a blueberry facial scrub, jams, jellies, seasonal produce and assorted canned goods.

Visitors are treated to a spectacular view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which run from the southwest to the northeast and dominate the western and northern horizons.

For more visit http://www.brushymountainberryfarm.com/

Daytona Beach “Beat the Heat” Sprint Triathlon – 10 November 2013

Daytona Beach “Beat the Heat” Sprint Triathlon – 10 November 2013

Daytona Beach “Beat the Heat” Sprint Triathlon – 10 November 2013

The Gatsby Car

The Gatsby Car

Hilton Head Island, SC – We enjoyed a great time at 2013 Concourse d’ Elegance Motoring Festival held at Port Royal Plantation this weekend. My favorite car was this beautifully restored 1928 Packard 443 Roadster, owned by Charles Mistele of Bluffton, SC. It was winner of the 2013 Peoples Choice Award and is adorned with original Roaring 20’s color scheme of rich cream, deep green and polished nickel. The car is additionally equipped with duel golf club doors and adaptive headlights, which move when the steering wheel is turned. (Photograph by Chris Katon)