Today we walked out to the easternmost tip of the island.
We have stayed on the eastern tip twice. It is beautiful out there, and somewhat desolate at low tide. The wild, untamed view is rather ruined by the buildings on Ocean Isle, particularly the lone condominium hi-rise that juts up all by itself. But at the same time there is something comforting about the civilization you can see across the channel.
We walked down at low tide with the sun starting to pass behind us to the west, and the wind at our backs. Lu has pointed out (wisely) that it is safer to go to the beach in the afternoon because then if you lose track of time and stay too long, the sun is getting weaker rather than stronger, and you are less apt to burn to a crisp than you would be if you went out at 10 a.m. We left at 2:30, intending to do some shelling.
The tide pools were bath-water hot, and filled with interesting little things. We found a number of conch shells, but the ones we found all had creatures living in them, so we couldn't keep them. Walking through the tide pools reminded me of earlier trips here, and I thought how wonderful and strange it is when you come to the same place for vacation over and over, and things that were a unique, impressionable experience the first time become treasured memories of familiarity. There is something so otherworldly about expansive stretches of water-rippled sand sliced with long streams of warm salty water. It is like another world that is not very hospitable to the thirsty human on a 95 degree day in the sun.
DJ and Jon swam the channel to Ocean Isle and back. The channel was calm and waveless, a nice place to rest and cool off after the long walk. We sat in the water up to our necks and just hung out for awhile, and then I needed to head back.
I had a little trouble on my way back. The wind picked up ferociously, and I got sand in my eyes. I felt a bit frightened at one point, alone on my way back to our "camp" of an umbrella and four beach chairs. I couldn't see and my eyes began to tear something awful. I took a couple of breaks where I turned backwards and rested with my face away from the wind. Finally, I went out into the ocean and rinsed out my eyes with some salt water, which was all that was available.
Eventually, I made it back to our beach house and the air conditioning actually felt heavenly. I refreshed myself and rinsed out my eyes with cool water from the sink and a washcloth. Then I headed back to the beach to meet up with my people again.
The waves were rough and rambunctious by then, and although I tried to swim, I was too tired to stand up to them, so after a rather short period of cooling down and rinsing off (if you can call it that--more like a short period of being pummeled by violent saltwater that insisted on splashing in my face), I went back to the beach house with a bunch of the others, and we got showers and started dinner.
A shower can be one of the most heavenly things in the world. Clean and fed, we watched some TV and the kids are playing cards now. It might sound like it wasn't a very nice day, but actually it was pretty wonderful. Shawn and I even got to see the sun set over the marsh.