Friday, June 24, 2016

Emerald Isle

When my dad was stationed at Camp Lejeune one of his favourite beaches to visit was Emerald Isle.

Now, our family has been to several beaches in North Carolina. We've been to Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Wrightsville Beach. We've dipped our toes in at Ocracoke, danced in the spray at Cape Lookout, and chilled at a beach house in Salvo. Our favourite beach to visit though has been North Topsail—which has taken us by Camp Lejeune on several occasions. But we've never quite managed to make it to Emerald Isle (which is rather funny considering how it's sandwiched between the North Topsail and Atlantic beaches).

But with my dad in town we figured we'd strike out for Emerald Isle—and it did not disappoint! Its beaches were beautiful, the ocean was perfect, and the public bathhouse was swoon-worthy.

You might not think it possible to swoon over a public bathhouse, but you guys! I swooned. It was clean and well-lit and not at all stinky. North Topsail has a public bathhouse, too, but it's dingy and stinky and scary.

To its credit, North Topsail beach is always free—the parking, the bathhouse, everything. Emerald Isle has a bit of a catch: it costs $10 (per car, per day) on weekends and holidays (but we visited on a Monday so it was free). But, frankly, I'd probably be willing to fork out that much just for the privilege of having such a fabulous bathhouse close by because *swoon*.

And did I mention the ocean was perfect?

It was warm and clear and gentle enough for the littlest in the bunch to enjoy it.

Zoë was actually so intent on crawling across the Atlantic that we had to keep dragging her away from the water and back to "ground zero," as we called it so that she was far enough from the waves that she could be distracted by the sand for a bit.

The gentle waves made for some fairly pathetic attempts at boogie boarding for everyone but Benjamin. He was light enough that he was able to ride some of the ankle buster waves the rest of us didn't stand a chance of catching.

When we tired of the water we played in the sand for a while. I was happy for the break because I'd felt something biggish bump my leg, which Andrew said he'd felt (and saw) a similar thing but assured me that it was a fish. Last June it seemed like shark attacks were out of control on our coast. This June we've had a few bites, but nothing too serious. Still, I was wary.

"What are you looking for—sharks?" Andrew wanted to know when he saw me scanning the water.

"Uh, yes..." I said.

"Me, too," he admitted.

Land is much safer...though also a little messier.

Zoë was in splishy-splashy heaven:

I took so many pictures of this girl:

Here's everyone else working on their "crazy castle":

A crazy castle is where you build up the castle as quickly as you can, hoping it will withstand both the incoming tide and godzilla the baby's wiles.

Later in the day we saw a huge castle that some beachgoers had obviously spent a lot of time working on. It was decorated with dozens of shells, had beautiful parapets and was simply beautifully done.

"We could've done something like that," Andrew said. "But we always build too close to the ocean."

"You don't have to," I said.

"Our way is more fun," he said.

Our castle was gone by the time the third wave hit it, so we abandoned our castle-building efforts and went beach combing instead.

The kids are always so excited to show off what they've found.

And then when the tide was coming in and the waves started getting a bit feistier we decided to head back into the water to do some more boogie boarding, which no one was at all excited about...

I took a few pictures of Andrew, Rachel, and Miriam before I joined them because I could! Usually Andrew and I take turns being in the water playing with the big kids or on the beach playing with the little kids, but with my parents there we could both go in at the same time (a rare treat, indeed).

When we were all exhausted we headed back to the hotel, grabbed some Cook Out for dinner, and then headed to the pool for more swimming.

1 comment:

  1. How fun! Nice pictures. I love how much Zoë loved the sand and water!