First Day of Winter – December 21st

Winter “officially” begins with the Winter Solstice at 12:11 pm today, December 21, 2013. For those of you back home in the north, it must feel as though winter arrived a few weeks ago! The Winter Solstice is a very significant day because it is the shortest day of the year for all of us in the Northern Hemisphere. The United States will receive only 9 hours and 32 minutes of daylight today. Al and I have always made note of this day because the days will now start to get longer, adding a few additional moments of daylight each day until the Summer Solstice in June. Hooray!

The word solstice comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still.” At the winter solstice, the Sun’s path has reached its southernmost position. The next day, the path will advance northward. However, a few days before and after the winter solstice, the change is so slight that the Sun’s path seems to stay the same, or stand still.

The sunset sets over the dock

The sun sets over the dock. Even down here the darkness comes too early.

The full moon has brightened the dark nights.

The full moon has brightened the dark nights.

Enough science talk! Time to get back to beach talk. It has been busy here in Hope Town with holiday festivities, but we still manage to squeeze some beach time into most of our days. Sometimes just a walk, sometimes a dinghy ride, sometimes snorkeling. The weather has been perfect, breezy and not too hot, just the way I like it.

I really don’t mean to torture you with beautiful visions of warm breezes and beaches, but…. what else can I show you? That’s all there is here – paradise!

Quiet beach along the north end

Quiet beach along the north end

ANother view along the north end

Another view along the north end

Little blue sailboat on the beach

Little blue sailboat on the beach

The driftwood and pine trunks are a vision

The driftwood and dried pine trunks are a natural piece of art.

Marcia and I enjoyed wading in the water on this day.

Marcia and I enjoyed wading in the water on this day.

Al is always working on something! He just loves messing about in boats, large and small. Here he is scrubbing the dinghy's bottom.

Al is always working on something! He just loves messing about in boats, large and small. Here he is scrubbing the dinghy’s bottom.

This is my special beach towel a gift from my GHS math teachers when I retired. The towel is enjoying the trip!

This is my special beach towel a gift from my GHS math teachers when I retired. The towel is enjoying the trip!

Al snorkeling just under the lip of  one of the small Parrot Cays. Looking for lobsters, but no luck!

Al snorkeling just under the lip of one of the small Parrot Cays. Looking for lobsters, but no luck!

He did find a sea biscuit

He did find a sea biscuit

Two brightly colored starfish!

Two brightly colored starfish!

This starfish didn't sink back down, but floated away. I worried that he/she would not make it back down to a soft, safe place below the surface.

This starfish didn’t sink back down, but floated away. I worried that he/she would not make it back down to a soft, safe place below the surface.

There are no beach stones  here to build my towers, but I did make a mini tower from coral pieces. Only about 8 centimeters tall!

There are no beach stones here to build my towers, but I did make a miniature tower from coral pieces. Only about 8 centimeters tall!

Check out that beautiful deep blue piece! This was a good day for hunting.

Check out that beautiful deep blue piece! This was a good day for hunting.

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