at Indian River Inlet , the jewel of Delaware Seashore State Park
by Ellen Rice
'Incoming Tide' at Indian River Inlet
by Ellen Rice
Indian River Inlet holds countless good memories for so many people. I’m one of them.
I’ve painted the inlet and surrounding areas many times, each time remembering all the fun and enjoyment that took place at different points in my life.
My first view of the inlet was riding on the back of a motorcycle with a friend as a teen. My family probably never would have approved, but dared into it I had the time of my life – until it came time to comb out my long dark hair. Ouch!
The view of the north side of the inlet, called The Cove by surfers, the North Side by fishermen and Coin Beach by treasure hunters worldwide, was breathtaking. It was my first view from the old inlet bridge, something that would never fail to bring a special “Ahhh” moment when cresting it over the years and seeing miles of beach and breakers sprawling before me into the distance.
The next time I crossed that bridge was years later as a young married woman with my husband. I got my first – and only – surfing lesson that day. He and his best friend had too much fun laughing while supporting the board and watching me try to get onboard and not lose the top of my thin-strapped bikini.
While I could balance on ice skates, balancing on a huge moving board in the ocean was another matter and I stayed away from surfboards after that and instead sunbathed, sketched and read while watching over our son Jeff as he fished in tidal pools and my husband road his “log.”
After a few years our sights turned to Fenwick and playing volleyball with friends on the huge beach there. That was back when there were no showers or snack stands, just nature and outhouses.
At the end of each day we’d rinse off in the water and finish our days by heading back over the bridge north to Grotto Pizza in Rehoboth, bathing suits still on the sandy side, skin crusted with salt, but in our convertible MGB with the breeze blowing away the heat of the summer and not a care in the world.
Fast forward 20 some years and everything was changed except that wonderful spot. I saw it differently though. I’d spent 15 years researching the shipwreck history of our area and creating my treasure map and knew the remains of an important shipwreck from the 1700s lay just offshore. I found myself walking the same beach with a treasure hunting friend and finding joy and laughter again in the hunt. That year I’d lost three people -- my husband, my brother and my grandmother within six months.
I spent countless hours with a couple of treasure hunting buddies that year, the year my map was published and sales went nationwide. I’d walk the north side of the inlet, equipped with a camera around my neck and metal detector on my arm.
I didn’t find any treasure that first year, but I did find something more valuable. Peace. I feel that peace every time I go there, no matter what the ocean's mood.
I think beyond anything else, at a deeper level that is what many seek in the ever changing ebb and flow of the inlet's tides. I painted ‘Incoming Tide’ for all who love this place. I hope my painting brings you joy and peace and perhaps fond memories of warm days filled with laughter.