Thursday, July 15, 2010

What's The Pointe?

We've all heard the much overused 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. My picture? A more complete visualization of the fictitious coastal community, Skye Pointe, that I introduced in Sunrise on the Pier. Unfortunately, I have no talent for drawing or painting. I wish Jarin was real! Since he isn't, I have to opt for the thousand (more or less) words. The problem? I didn't have any to describe what the residents refer to as 'The Pointe' or 'The Coves'. The solution? Research!

The rich vocabulary that describes coastal topography not only has the words for what I envision, but also for the detail I hadn't previously considered. I can now write that each of the land masses for Marina, Coral and Jasmine coves sits above its beach on progressively higher marine terraces. Before researching, I hadn't known what to call them, or any coastal elements. 'Marine terrace' sounds infinitely better than 'elevated land above the beach'. Tombolo sounds far more romantic than 'the stretch of sand connecting the cove arm to an offshore island'. Cove arm? Embarrassing - but I was really referring to the ridge between adjacent coves. By the way, aren't you glad I didn't name this post 'Going Coastal'?

Getting back to Skye Pointe's appearance, I can continue by describing the cove terraces. Marina Cove's terrace is only six feet above the beach; with the height being masked by the marina piers and walkways. Coral Cove's terrace is twelve feet above the beach, and the Jasmine Cove terrace sits about eighteen feet above the beach. Why these heights? To illustrate that the cove terraces get progressively higher until there's a steep drop from the terrace above Hidden Cove to the one above Keeper's Cove - which is at the same height as the Marina Cove terrace. As the largest coves, Marina Cove and Keeper's Cove became home to small villages. The smaller Coral Cove and Jasmine Cove became mainly residential; sites of the multi-acre beachside estates such as those owned by the San Chappelles and the Gibsons. Parks and public trails are interspersed among the estates giving all Skye Pointe residents and guests beach access. As with all the coves, smaller homes (called cottages) are nestled into the slopes above the terraces.

The first settlers protected the terraces on Marina, Coral, Jasmine and Keeper's Coves from erosion by stabilizing them with stone retaining walls. They didn't know it at the time, but the retaining walls around Coral Cove had the effect of starving the tombolo that extended from the ridge Coral Cove shares with Marina Cove to Picnic Island, which is about one hundred fifty yards offshore. After a couple of centuries, the tombolo finally collapsed - during the timeframe covered in my new novel. Picnic Island has become unstable and will disappear over time. The retaining walls also starved the beaches of Coral and Jasmine coves, causing them to shrink over the years. After the tombolo collapse, the wave action changed and began depositing sand (probably from Picnic Island) onto the beaches of both the coves, reversing the shrinkage. Marina Cove's beach is protected from wave action by all the boats and yachts moored in the marina. It feels good to begin sharing Skye Pointe by getting it all down on 'virtual' paper. I'm sure there's more to come.

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