Jason and I joined his friend Amy and her friends Eric, Stacy, and baby Avery at the seashore yesterday for a day at the beach. We dodged traffic both directions (yay!), so the trip only took about 3.25 hours each way. We also had to dodge a few turtles who plodded their way across the road in front of our cars.
We arrived a little before noon, found the campground where the others were going to join us later, and claimed a spot on the sand. And then, oh, how we beached - reading; chatting; noshing on cherries, salami, and cheese; alternating between dips in the water and sunning on the shore.... That's the way to spend a Saturday in the summer.
The weather and the water temperature were both about perfect, and even though the Atlantic's waves are never up to my tastes (Jason called me an ocean snob, which I couldn't deny. I love being tossed about and swimming in the big, rough waves of the Pacific.), it was still the ocean and it was marvelous to be able to float and watch the shifting colors of the water.
Well, it was marvelous until I set my foot down on the ocean floor (more accurately, the ocean porch - the water was only up to our chests at that point) and felt a crab's spindly leg scrape along the underside of my foot and a claw pinch the side. I shrieked. Amy had already gotten pinched on the toe in one of our first dips, a fact that I worked very hard to forget in order to get back in the water, but when she got pinched a second time almost immediately after I was attacked, we declared loudly as we raced back to the shore that we were done with the ocean.
It was about dinner time anyway so we packed up the beach items and joined the others at the campsite to grill various meats and veggies. Once we were among the bushes of the campgrounds, the mosquitoes took over where the crabs had left off. Despite the liberal application of bug spray last night, today I keep discovering new bites, some in curiously creative places. Sneaky nature.
Amy and the others spent the night on the beach despite the insects, but Jason and I headed home right after dinner and a few obligatory s'mores. We walked along the path to the campground parking lot so Amy could drive us to Jason's car; but we would not be allowed to retreat peacefully. At the gate the mosquitoes launched a full-force offensive attack, and as I frantically tried to close the gate to the campgrounds while simultaneously and futilely batting away the swarms of biting bugs I could hear Jason shouting, "Man down! Man down! Leave her!" over my own shrieking as he and Amy ran for the parking lot. We escaped, though not unscathed; squished the bugs that followed us into the car; and made our way back to DC on the long, flat roads through the dark Maryland farmlands.
Lest you think that all Assateague wildlife was out for my blood, though, there was also this encounter:
Midafternoon a herd of the famous Chincoteague wild ponies strolled by along the beach. Although, come to think of it, we were given a number of warnings about staying far, far away from the ponies, include two separate documents that came with our parking pass, one of which featured a series of photographs of horse-induced injuries. Had I not stayed on the blankets, I'm sure the ponies would have finished what the crabs and mosquitoes left undone.
Let's face it. It's me verses Nature and Nature likes to watch me bleed.