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Beach Vacation 2008

Mary and her family have been going to the North Carolina shore for 28 years. Our favorite place to vacation is on Oak Island, which is made up of several beaches (Caswell, Long & Yaupon) It doesn't seem to matter where we get a house, it's always a wonderful experience!

Once we spot the bridge to the island, we know we've finally reached the beach!

One of the first things we noticed in the condominium was the fabulous seaside artwork. Over the years we've found that interior designers who decorate tourist towns never fail to disappoint. Our favorite piece this year is one we like to call "Fisherman With A Laptop." We like to think this one comes from an exhibition titled "Nautical High Tech" from the Museum of Modern Shoreside Art that's sure to be built anyday now.

Our first day on the beach we noticed wire baskets with a catwalk made of flowerbed edgeing in the dunes every few hundred feet. Turns out these are turtle nests, protected from foxes and other predators, and prepped for their hatching dash to the sea.

The Caswell Beach Turtle Patrol are on duty 24-7 throughout the hatching season, to keep track of which nests were laid when, and their consequent due date. We were told that a party of local Turtle Watch volunteers gathers at the appropriate nests each evening to protect and aid the baby turtles, to increase the survival rate. Only 1 out of every 1000 babies survives to lay their first nest 20 years later.

It only takes the first beach sunset to convince you that you are indeed on vacation.

Each day we hit the beach to sit in the surf and vegitate. To let all the cares of the world drift away and be worried about by those left in the real world. Many of our cares were beaten out of us by the pounding surf we chose to sit in. We somehow found time to come up with catchy names for the different waves that greeted us. Why there were Crotch Crammers, Stomach Slammers, Toe Ticklers, Nose Knockers and the ever popular Sideways Carress.

Shama demonstrates how the adults always like to catch up on the reading they can't find time for at home.

Gosh, I hate that our pictures can't possibly convey how relaxing the beauty of the sunsets was.

One evening Samb turned in to bed to find Ol' Captain Ahab resting on his pillow. It seems Mary was in a practical joking mood. Not to worry, she was greeted later in the week with a plastic ships wheel with "Welcome Aboard" on her pillow. Guess you had to be there. I can't help but marvel at the contentment on Ol' Ahab's face. I thought Moby Dick was a deep psychological thriller about a man obssessed by the whale that took his leg. Apparently I had it all wrong; he was a happy-go-lucky fella, who loved all the sea's creatures. I'll have to re-read that one on the beach next year.

Every day began with bottomless mugs of tea and brainstorming sessions on ways to refine Mary's, as well as possible future projects. This is where the seeds of what would become Breakfast Of Course were sown! (Note the Oak Island mug as big as Mary's face.)

Then came the durdgery of another day at the beach. What a drag! Mary's husband always seem to get the worst of it. (Wink, wink)

(Thankfully, we've run out of sarcasm.) Here, the family gets ready for another home-cooked meal. The best way to save money and not be disappointed by other people's cooking is to take coolers packed with edibles from home, and shop at the island grocery. When we need a break from that, there's always Bella Cucina; a fancy dining establishment with thier own pizzeria next door! Both are served from the same kitchen, but this allows the teenagers to go next door and the adults to enjoy a classy diner. (Sorry, no picture available.)

After dinner, we noticed a gathering of the Turtle Watchers on the dusky beach.

Closer inspection, revealed a nest primed to hatch.

And it happened! Everyone shields their flashlights with pink plastic wrap and keeps an eye on the drifters and dawdlers along the sides of the runway, while the Nest mother or father lures them seaward with a powerful lantern.

Turtles usually hatch between dusk and midnight, when the moon is reflected on the waves. Volunteers speed up the process and make sure they at least get to the water safely. Then they're own their own. It's a bit blurry (no flash photography allowed), but those three dark spots between the camera and the lantern are baby turtles.

For some reason turtles also like to hatch during storms. Perhaps it keeps away landborne predators while making the sea that much more visible.

Mary's sister Julie, enjoys some delicious diner fare (a 'Redneck Rueben') in Willmington.

Gosh, I think I just found my happy place.

Mary enjoys one last day on the beach.

What a wonderful vacation! We highly recommend Oak Island to folks who enjoy a more reserved beach experience. Oak Island has continued to battle urban sprawl, and keep their beaches as close to nature as they can, yet provide modern conveniences. For those of you who enjoy a party-time Vegas-style atmosphere; this is no Myrtle Beach. Go there if you want to see the "Grand Ol' Opry Ice Capades" (or whatever they're entertaining folks with now-a-days). We enjoy Oak Island, and hope others will too.