We had some balmy weather on Tuesday and Wednesday (May 10 and 11), so we spent those two days at the beach. Unfortunately, those were also Andrew's busiest "work" days, so I was glad to have Grandpa around to help me get the kids down to the beach. One of Andrew's students needed to defend their dissertation one of the days (somewhat important, I suppose) and then he had a couple other meetings that he couldn't miss. Not much of a "vacation" for him, I suppose.
Grandpa, on the other hand, forgot his "electronics bag" at home, so his laptop was left sitting all alone in his living room the whole week...along with all of Grandpa's toiletries.
Good thing they have stores in Hilton Head!
Anyway, on our way down to the beach we stumbled across an alligator sunning itself (as I mentioned in an earlier post). Here are a few more pictures of that little surprise:
And here we are getting ready to boogie at the beach:
I'm not sure that I have too much to say about the beach. I can't recall anything specific that happened. We swam. We wiped out. Grandpa walked the baby up and down the beach. Eventually Andrew joined us. It was a good day.
I don't know why more people weren't there, honestly. The beach was quite empty:
I guess the morning started off pretty chilly, but things warmed up eventually.
Miriam used her board like this (upside down) the entire day...and about half of the next day, too...before we told her it went the other way (hard side down, soft side up):
Here are my sweet boys warming up together:
And here's Grandpa with Zoë and Phoebe:
Grandpa's shirt was very helpful on the beach. It was like a beacon, drawing us back to our little beach camp when we were carried down the beach by the waves (or, letting us know exactly where he and Phoebe were when they went on their one of their beach walks).
This visibility tracks with the findings from this bathing suit colour test, showing that, indeed, neon yellow is highly visible both in pool water as well as in open water. I'll need to remember this when I'm buying swimsuits next time (rather than simply picking up whatever's on sale like I normally do).
The kids liked playing with the crunchy sand up at the high tide mark. I guess when the water recedes and the sun is able to dry the sand, it bakes it into these little cakes. The kids harvested chunks of them to use as building blocks and little chalkboards and things.
Here's a horseshoe crab exoskeleton that Benjamin found with the tail intact (though it's since fallen off):
More boogie boarding—but now Andrew's here! He helped Alexander catch some good waves:
This trio of pelicans flew around for a long time, likely practicing some cooperative herding of the fish (which made me a teensy bit worried about sharks, since birds will trail sharks who trial fish (this is also true of dolphins), but I'm sure it was fine):
The boys were curious about it. They knew not to touch it but wondered if they could at least touch the top of it (as in Finding Nemo), but we didn't know what kind of jellyfish it was so we decided that no touching would be best.
I mean, obviously it's not a man'o'war or anything. But it could still be a little stingy.
I told the boys about the moon jellyfish we'd play with at the Red Sea. Their sting isn't usually strong enough to penetrate human skin (because they feast primarily on plankton, which is really quite small). As it turns out, cannonball jellyfish aren't really known for their sting, either.
So we definitely could have touched at least the top part without getting stung. But to play it safe, we scooped it into Benjamin's net and deposited it far away from other beachgoers.
Here are the kids doing a race against the tide:
On our way back to the hotel we saw a heron of sorts hanging out in the same pond the alligator had been hanging out in in the morning (we are unsure where the alligator got off to):
I am fairly certain it's a tricoloured heron. I can tell I'm getting old because it feels important to me that I know what kind of bird this is. I went to a little "cousin meeting" on Zoom today and met with some—comparative to me—rather old cousins—two in Alberta (Garwin and Darrel) and one driving from Utah to Idaho (to visit the Pocatello Temple; this was Mary), and one in Utah (Jean). We spent an almost embarrassing amount of time discussing birds. Hummingbirds, Canada geese, snow geese, grackles. Apparently the chickadee was just named as Calgary's bird, which Garwin was happy about because blue jays were floated (which was "far too Toronto"), as well as magpies—of all birds! Magpies are terrible little creatures (though I happen to think they're rather beautiful).
Anyway, it's beginning to feel more and more important that I know what kind of birds I see, which I feel may be a symptom of aging. And this here's a tircoloured heron. You're welcome.
Alexander appreciates my ornithology interest; he must be an old soul, liking birds the way he does at such a young age.
Last stop of the day was to freshen up at the pool. It was warm enough that Phoebe got in, too—her first time really getting in a body of water. I know I just said that it was "warm enough" for Phoebe to get in, but that was only referring to the air temperature. Really the water was quite chilly, but Phoebe didn't mind at all. In fact she rather enjoyed herself.
And I was happy that Miriam wanted to get in with her because I sure didn't! It was too cold for me! (Though I did get in eventually because that's what moms do).
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