Fish out of water (at the beach)

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I've never seen someone have more fun flying a kite.
I’ve never seen someone have more fun flying a kite.

When most of the people I know say they are going on vacation, they usually say they are going to the beach. “The beach” can be in a variety of places: anywhere along the Atlantic seaboard (most likely Myrtle Beach) or even at a lake.

Growing up in West Virginia, we usually made the trek during the first week of July to Emerald Isle in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was an all day trip, but so worth it once we arrived. Now that I’m in my thirties, live in North Carolina, and vacation a couple times a year, I see many people from even farther away traveling further than we did to get to a beach paradise.

Our vacation destination is usually Edisto Island in South Carolina. Located between Charleston and Savannah, it is unincorporated and remote. There is a Piggly Wiggly and a gas station with a Subway in it. Other than that, there are no high-rise hotels or businesses with bright neon lights. There are several locally owned restaurants who specialize in seafood.

At just over three miles long, the island is home to just over 2,000 residents. Vacation rentals take up most of the liveable space along with a Wyndham resort in the middle of the island.

It’s a hidden gem that regularly attracts newcomers from all over. You see license plates that range from Florida to New Hampshire to Ontario to Illinois and even Alaska.

We set up camp one morning near the beach cabana. Two beach chairs and an umbrella. We had our boogie boards, a cooler for drinks and snacks, beach towels, and a plethora of sunscreen. I can get a sunburn within, my wife says, ten minutes of being in the sun. She buys me something close to 1,000,000 SPF. She uses 12 SPF.

While we are lounging in the sun, I’m reading Dan Brown‘s latest novel and she is enjoying the view, a family set up their spot to our left, closer to the rising tide. There was a mom, dad, two preteen boys and grandma.

My first clue that they weren’t regular beachgoers was that they all wore hats with flaps of fabric covering their necks. They all had pale complexions and the dad looked like he spends his life behind a desk. They wore rash guard surf shirts and had no beach chairs. They did however have a very large sun shelter the stuck deep into the sand, leaving about four feet from the sand to the bottom of the canopy. I had the feeling this family had to travel a significant distance to make it to Edisto.

This is where the kids, grandmother and mother resided. The kids looked like they were playing in the sand while mom and grandmom sat on the sand on their butts, curled up in near fetal positions.

The dad, with curly gray hair escaping from his hat and glasses with thick black frames, strapped a GoPro camera to his forehead to capture their action-packed day at the beach. With his family occupied, he unfurled a red kite that looked like the one Benjamin Franklin used when he discovered electricity. He got it aloft and he promptly laid down on the sand for what looked like a nap.

With his video camera facing up, he had the ability to capture the flight of his kite while in the air. I can imagine where he would spend hours breaking down this video when he gets home.

All along the beach, other families were enjoying the day. Teenagers out of school for the summer tossed a football back and forth. A few families with small children played in the surf while others played in the sand. Some retirees worked on their tans.

After a while, this family we watched finally ventured into the water (except for the grandmother). They did something I’ve never seen in all of my years of going to the beach. The mom and dad partnered with one son each and held both of their hands with a kung-fu death grip at arms length while they waded in the surf. No one swam, laughed or splashed. It was a controlled fifteen minutes in knee deep water.

They eventually got out, toweled off and the two women walked with the two boys down the beach, leaving the dad behind. Another way I could tell this family did not come to the beach often, or it could have been their first time, was that the older of the two boys had a difficult time walking in the sand. He looked like a baby deer trying to take his first steps.

In a time where people spend most of their lives near home in a safe and comfortable environment, I applaud this family for venturing out and trying something new. I admire their adventurous spirit.


3 thoughts on “Fish out of water (at the beach)

    oregonmike98 said:
    June 8, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    What a great blog, its nice to hear what the town is like when its busy.

      calebbrettwygal responded:
      June 8, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      Thanks. You should have been here for the shark tournament today. Busy. Busy. Busy.

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