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General News · 11th September 2019
Lynn Smith
The Cortes Wave

Having been a regular visitor to Cortes over the past 18 years, I am fortunate to have been able to participate in some of the traditions on the island, such as, Cortes Days, Sandcastle Day, Lovefest, lunch at the Co Op Cafe or the Flying Squirrel, walks on Smelt sandbar and, my all time fave, the Cortes wave.

Now, if you have not spent a lot of time here, you may not have witnessed this tradition but if you watch carefully as you drive the island's roads you will begin to become aware that people wave at you as you drive by and there are various ways of doing this.

One year when I was house sitting for family I became fascinated with the tradition and began to take note of the different styles. This year, especially, I am thinking that the tradition is losing its momentum and so, in an effort to preserve some local custom, I present my list of The Wave.

There's the index finger flip and the index finger point, the two finger V and the two fingered point. There's another one fingered flip but it's a bit rude and does not find a place here in the list nor does the four fingered backhand flip ( which is four of the middle finger flip).
There's also a three finger flip and a four, as well as the four fingered toggle. I have witnessed the rare full hand toggle out the window and must give notable mention to the bicycle rider nod, which I am sure would be a finger flip of some kind if they were in a vehicle.

This year, however, I have seen my two faves. Not sure if they were islanders or off- islanders but they certainly were expressive, each in their own way. The first was from a driver of a pretty hot sports car and it was a cool index finger gun point done with a studied casualness. The other was a very enthusiastic index finger upward point, as if giving the sermon from The Mount. Not only did I get this one passing one way, but 20 mins. later got it again passing the other way!

I am not sure if these observations are noteworthy enough for the Cortes Archives but it is, I think, a wonderful tradition in this community and a way of helping to keep us all connected.

Submitted with thanks for welcoming and enduring us off-islanders. Enjoy the peace of the fall season!

Lynn Smith
The Cortes Wave!
Comment by Michael & Heather Bruce on 13th September 2019
I've noticed,too, that the Cortes Wave has not been as prolific as it used to be, but I am undaunted and my husband (the one driving ) pretty much ALWAYS waves. 21 years ago, when we first drove onto Cortes, we were greeted over and over by the Cortes Wave and I kept saying to my husband, "Who was that?" "Was that someone we met on the ferry?" "Why are they all waving at us?" Finally, it was one of the many local customs that we fell in love with. Thank you for posting this rather humorous and well written definition of the Cortes Wave!
The Wave
Comment by Lynn Smith on 12th September 2019
That's so great! Thanks for your additions. I will watch out for you when I am next there!
The flirt wave
Comment by Loni Taylor on 12th September 2019
Thankyou for paying tribute to the Cortes Wave! This is a very special tradition. I wanted to contribute to the list by adding one of my personal favorites; the flirt wave. This is the actual sign language for flirting. It is an extension of all fingers towards the reciever with independent movement of each finger, as if you are playing a piano.
I use Spock's live long and prosper.
Comment by mike malek on 12th September 2019

More likely with people I know and care to give the sentiment..