Happy / sad to say I have sold my home at Gilgo Beach. Hence the end of live images of the ocean and the weather station on gilgo.com. Will be shutting down cam and weather station the middle of December. I hope the site helped you find some bumps. Shutdown on January 2nd, 2022.
Every day a gift, make the best of every session. waves, peter
Update 1/4; updated tide tables so site serves a small purpose! Check the tides and click thru to the buoys… can’t help myself, so used to looking at it for conditions.
Compact villa on the beach at Apple Bay, Tortola. Ideal for the surfer who wants to come and go with the swells and have a great rental income at the same time. Applesurf Villa offers 2 one bedroom suites, 6 feet from the beach, each offering a living room, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen with multiple outdoor decks. A large private owner’s closet in the attic holds your many surfboards and personal gear.
The villa is so close to the break, you can roll over in bed to check the waves in front of Bomba’s, the Apple Bay Reef Break, 100 yards down the beach.
Applesurf Villa has high speed fiber optic internet installed for a home away from home, where one can work and surf. Applesurf Villas has the required trade license to rent the properties with a strong demand for winter vacation rentals on island.
Applesurf Villa is located in Apple Bay, Tortola, the center of the British Virgin Islands. Soper’s Hole Marina on the West End of Tortola is a 30 minute ferry ride from St Thomas with direct 4 hour flights from NY. Rent a car at the West End ferry terminal and be at the Villa in minutes.
Restaurants and shops are close by for your convenience. Apple Bay is centrally located on the Northwest shore of Tortola with Cane Garden Bay and Smugglers Cove 20 minutes away.
The British Virgin Islands are an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, you will need a passport to enter. Driving is on the left with no roads wider than two lanes. The laws of the BVI protect the local culture and businesses. To purchase property in the BVI requires a background check and registration. Tortola offers great people, food, sailing and surfing.
The Apple Bay surf break is over a reef with water so clean you could drink it, if not for the salt. Apple Bay holds up in 8-10 foot ground swells real nice. It features multiple take off points breaking left and right.
Winter storms in the northeast bring the ground swells to the Caribbean. The surf is so predictable; a noreastern goes off the Carolina coast and heads north, 3 days later the swell arrives on the north shore of Tortola. Get on the 6:30 flight at JFK and be in the water by 3 o’clock for a wonderful 2 hour, warm water session.
Apple Bay holds a pretty big wave, 10 foot face easy. On the epic big days, it is time to look at Cane Garden Bay. Less than a 20 minute ride to surf one of the 10 best waves in the world. It does not go off much, but when it does, it offers a 200 yard freight train right.
On the east side of the island is Josiah’s Bay, a beach break with a double personality; the right side of the beach is a great place to learn with some ripping rights to the center for the seasoned surfer.
Property offered at 605k. There is a 12% tax on the purchase price. Yearly property tax including the trade license is 900 dollars.
The origin of the Gilgo Surf Cam: I was living in Hauppauge at the time, working crazy hours with a good 30 minute ride to Gilgo Beach. I was getting fatter by the minute and decided to try surfing as I always loved body surfing as a kid.
Rode or tried to ride my first wave at the age of 38 in 1991. Was instantly hooked but didn’t get in the water much due to work. When I could, I would end up in the white water going straight ahead or regularly, not even get outside. I remember getting eaten alive after I got out of the water as I was too exhausted to run back to the house.
FYI; Mosquitoes were real bad at east end of Gilgo Beach before West Nile disease caused the county to spray the area starting in 1999 to control the little varmints.
Attempting to surf was good exercise and helped control my growing belly. More importantly, it was a fun diversion from realities of life. Forgot who said it to me, but they gave me a definition of happiness in life that resonated. Happiness is Doing Anything where You Can Not Think About Anything Else. Surfing did that for me.
Bought a house at Gilgo in 1995 so could have my surfboard and a shower allowing me to chase waves and work. With waves on the brain, I would leave work as I thought there were waves. Then get skunked after driving to Gilgo. Issue was usually wind conditions as the NOAA buoy system gave you an idea on swells. Used to drive me crazy to waste the hour and half by leaving work and then not get to surf. There is no free ride in life. I paid the price when I was not at work, when I should have been. It was worth it, but wanted more.
Gilgo Surf Cam Launch
Bunger’s Surf Cam was the only way to check beach conditions and it had reliability issues back then. Had a Hughes satellite dish with its super slow, funky internet service installed. It allowed me to upload a 20k jpeg image every 5 minutes. But alas, gilgo.com had the same reliability issues as Bunger. At least I knew if the image viewed were updated or old. The surf cam ran this way for a couple of years. It was a pain in the ass to keep running as the satellite internet service was poor, but it served its purpose, for me anyway.
Don’t Litter, It Makes Ugly Glitter
gilgo.com was brought to life to solve my issue with current surf conditions and I figured it would help out all Surfers on Long Island. I did not want to commercialize the site, so decided on attempting to reduce garbage at the beach and promote surfing as a wonderful life adventure. I became an attempted poet for a year or so, creating the web site you see today. Don’t Litter, It Makes Ugly Glitter! – were my first lines…
Updates over the Years
In 2002, moved to the gilgo home where the surf cam is today and added a weather station. I am a Cable TV engineer by trade, it took a couple years, but gathered up the information and electronic gear to install a line of sight, unlicensed microwave link across the bay to access an Optimum internet modem on the mainland for good internet connection. Think maximum bandwidth then was 20mg with my microwave link delivering a whopping 2mg upload.
Activation was an adventure from finding a transmit site on the mainland to installing the 3 mile link across the bay. This was new technology at the time, many thanks to my cousin Bob at Tri- State Technologies. Many thanks to Gus at Sea Services for the mainland transmission site. The microwave link was activated in November 2003 and the Gilgo Surf Cam became reliable.
January 21st, 2006 changed the surf cam from a 5 minute update to a 1 minute update and added the gilgo movie file that allows you to see the last 30 minutes of ocean conditions in just 30 seconds! Added the larger images on February 10th, 2006 and the surf cam became the reliable source of ocean conditions at gilgo beach that it is today.
The surf cam ran for the next 14 years pretty good. I have replaced 3 Sony Pella cameras over the years and 2 or 3 Davis weather stations with various computer, cable and software issues, to many to list.
In 2020, with me no longer surfing and bored, a couple of osprey made a nest across from my home, I moved the Bay cam to the osprey nest. I didn’t like the image quality, so I changed the cam set up so the upload went from 20-30k to 200k. It worked out fine with my ISP, so I changed the ocean surf cam to the same higher resolution setting! Wish I would have done it sooner! Pix looks better, need a new camera outdoor enclosure as the cover is getting funky.
In August of 2020, John from the NY Kite School in Amityville emailed me the weather station was displaying wind speeds 5-10 mph less than what was real. Thank you John! Changed the wind vane for the 3rd time in 15 years and we were back in business as a good a good source of surf information.
Gilgo Surf Cam Current Summary
Currently, the camera’s and weather enclosure are showing there age. Need to replace them, deciding on how to move forward as I have not surfed in 3 years. I am 68 years old and my shoulders and neck are shot. So, might be the end of gilgo.com as you know it.
Gilgo Surf Cam’s Future and More
Think we will put Gilgo Beach home up for sale in the next year or so. If someone out there wants to buy a great surf cottage at Gilgo Beach and own to operate gilgo.com, give me a call; peter 516-220-5630. Waiting on an appraisal to determine a fair selling price.
As a side note, put my home in Tortola up for sale at 720k. Had bought it for winter surfing, it is a magic place. Check it out; applesurf.com. It is a strong rental property for when you are off island. If interested, give me a call. Winter swells in Tortola are so predictable, its crazy. 3-4 days after most nor’easters, warm water, booming ground swells go off along the north shore of Tortola.
Hope gilgo.com has helped you in the pursuit of surf and bliss.
As any old guy knows; make the best of every day, every session is a gift.
Osprey Chicks fly south for a couple of years to mature
The abruptness of nature, she follows her own rules. Got up Friday morning, looked outside at the phone lines looking for the birds, then to the nest with nobody home.
A little history; Wednesday, the 2nd of September the parents were gone when the sun came up. So, the kids hung out for 2 days and then off they went. Picture them lifting off at dawn and heading south, guess they would rest in southern New Jersey on their flight to their new home. We wish them luck.
Resetting the Bay Cam back to a 4 or 5 scene rotation of views of the Great South Bay and the marshland behind Gilgo Beach, hope to have it up and running soon.
UPDATE 9/26: last of my 4 Pella Sony and Canon cameras failed, total of 5 in the junk pile since started in 2004. So no camera for the Bay Cam as of now. Will update if i get one…
Have been interested in Osprey since a nest appeared this April. In looking into the birds, found that the height of the nest is a good indicator as to how long a nest has been at a site.
Decided to drive out the area from Gilgo Beach to Captree Island and found 6 nests as follows.
Gilgo Beach East side of Marina; a new nest on gilgo.com
Gilgo Beach West side of Marina; been there a long time
Oak Beach by Cable Dish; this nest was just moved from the power lines to a safer pole
Robert Moses Causeway south of big bridge; 1st one you see as drive south
Robert Moses Causeway at Captree Island exit just before the 2nd bridge, it looks relatively new.
Robert Moses Causeway exit to Ocean Parkway west; look back as you exit to Ocean Parkway West from the Robert Moses Causeway.
As you can see from the photos, we have a couple of newer locations along with some nests that have been here a long time. In thinking about osprey nests in the area, there might be 4-5 more that are set back in the marshlands. Good reason to take a boat ride. Will update.
2 weeks ago on August 16th at 8-9 am on a quiet Saturday morning, my neighbor Paul called me to say he saw the young osprey fly! Wish I would have been looking, this is what he said happened.
He did not see them take flight off the nest, He looked out the window and saw 4 birds circling around the nest about 100 feet up in the air. After a couple of circles around the nest, they landed back in the nest one at a time. Nothing dramatic, just a couple of steady circles and a landing.
In the week before they flew, they had been exercising their wings more and more. Just flapping away in the edge of the nest. They became stronger and noticeably more coordinated during that week.
Since then, they have been building strength, endurance and skill each day by flying and I mean flying a lot. They chase each other or other birds all around the meadows. They practice flying over marina and dive bombing to the water where they skim their feet in the water as if plucking a fish.
Seems when they are not flying, they spend a lot of time on the Electric and Telco wires that run behind the homes on Cottage Walk. Sometimes for exercise, other times to hang out and then sometimes to catch a nap.
All of the above is to build the energy, strength and endurance for the flight to the southern United States in the fall. Qwen and Wilson will fly south this fall and will not be coming back soon. Young Osprey stay down south for a couple of years and then come back to mate and procreate!
Mom and Dad should be back to do it all over again in the spring! The height of an Osprey nest is a good indicator of how many times a pair has returned.
The Gilgo nest at the east end of the marina was started this year so it a small structure. Take a look at the nest from the west side of Gilgo, it has been here for years.
Internet came back up, seems lack of power was the problem for the last 2 weeks. In past storms, Cablevision had trucks with generators powering up the cable system. Many beautiful days went by with power and we had no TV or internet as their receive site had no AC. The State Cable Commission states that cable systems have to respond and repair outages within 2 days! Something has changed and it is not for the good.
UPDATE: August 17th
Surf Cam and weather station down as Altice’s Optimum Internet Service at Gilgo Beach is still not working since the storm on August 4th, 2 weeks ago!
Have called Altice a number of time to talk to a machine or a person who has no idea of the geography of the area.
The company offers a terrible response to problems and outages violating many of the rules of the state cable commission concerning service disruptions and responses to customers.
Call the NYS Cable Commission to complain at 800-342-3377. The cable company is required by law to respond to customer complaints within 48 hours!
Finally August 17th around 9 pm, internet was restored! 15 days later. Great service and communications from Altice.
Weather vane arrived on the 12th. I installed it on the 13th so when the internet comes back up, wind readings are accurate again.
Original post; Found that the wind reading from the gilgo.com weather station were coming up low. Many thanks to John from the the NY Kite Center for the heads up. The Wind Anemometer bearings are failing, ordered a replacement unit and will advise when installed. Estimated to receive the shipment by August 12th.
I stopped surfing three years now, due to body parts failing, so do not follow the weather as I used to. Thought wind reading were off as cups were not spinning in light winds last week. After John’s email, can say during tropical storm this week, we showed maximum wind speed of 54 mph and max gust of 60 mph. Most stations on the South Shore of Long Island showed maximum gust over 70 mph with a 78 mph gust at one station.
Walked the beach after the storm, beach looks like it lost 30 to 50 feet, saw the high water marker 30 feet or so away from the base of the dunes so the beaches flooded pretty good. The beach was packed good the morning after but the swell was a disappointment, guess the storm tracked to far inland.
Looks like there will be plenty more chances for waves, check out NOAA Hurricane forecast for the rest of this year.
The family weathered the storm, easily. The adults clung to the nest with the babies under them, flat as can be. Would see them peak up every once in a while when the winds were 40 mph plus. Not sure what they did during the 50-60 mph winds, but they were just fine the next morning.
Both the chicks, Wilson and Gwen, were exercising this morning, doing Wing Flaps and Body Bobs. They are so much more coordinated. When they bob, they peer out over the edge of the nest looking like they are going to jump and fly.
Took a late after SUP drift past the nest, nice and easy. I tryed to make the osprey sound with little success. Whistled low and easy the pretty bird whistle and they looked right up. Guess it works with more than parrots! Betty the mom took off as usual, but the chicks stayed up instead of flatting out in the bottom of the nest.
Was able to take this picture of Wilson on the right and his sister Gwen chilling beside him from 20-30 feet away from their nest. A note; updated this post the next morning with above photo. This morning there were exercising their wings flapping them as if flying without leaving the nest, They did it for about 15 minutes on and off and then have been mostly quiet since then.
Attempted the same SUP drift the next day, Saturday the 8th. The whistle didn’t work too good. Pretty bird did better, got them to sit up and take notice which is the featured image on this post now.
Watched the male osprey Skip come back with a fish, think a fluke, and start to eat it while sitting on the post in front of the nest. Betty, the mom, starts yelling at him and then comes down to the post and takes the fish up to the nest. I think he was making sure the fish was good to eat.
The momma osprey then bites little morsels of meat off the fish and feeds then to each chick. Watched her do this for at least 10 minutes. She fed each chick one morsel at a time, sometimes a couple of times in a row to the same chick. The other chick would wait patiently for their turn. It was a very controlled feeding, no mad rush at the food.
Pictures have gotten clearer as i have gotten use manual focus. My telephoto 600 Tamron lens auto focus servo motor failed back in April. The good news is the repair center for the USA is located in Commack, NY. The bad news is the repair center is closed due to Corona. Manual focus is super sensitive at full zoom, has taken time to get better at it.
Amazing how big the chicks have grown, they are almost as big as mom and dad. Biggest difference right now is their speckled feathers while adult ospreys are a more solid color. In the photo above, the 2 chicks are in the foreground of the osprey nest with their speckles quite visible.