16 May 2003


The Last Good Beach Day

I awoke to the sounds of Syd whimpering in her sleep. It was just after the sunrise, and so I decided to stay awake and use the computer for a bit. Despite the weather forecast, the morning was sunny and virtually cloudless. Another great beach day!


  • Sydney makes sand pies
  • Syd stretches out on her towel
  • Syd retreats from the waves
  • A sand crab surfaces
  • Eventually, everyone woke up. After our breakfast, we put on our suits and set up our towels and umbrella on the beach. Syd and I went beachcombing near our blanket while Daria and Gavin (who fell asleep) strolled up and down the beach.


    The waves were higher than they had been all week. Not able to resist the temptation any longer, I decided to take the plunge. I slowly walked up to my waist in the cold ocean waters. Instead of freezing, I managed to keep warm from the adrenaline pumping through my veins as each wave crashed into me. The sight of a wall of frigid water approaching me made me forget about the temperature. Eventually, I made my way back to my warm towel.


  • The fog settles in
  • After an hour, a thick fog slowly began to envelop us. We could see the visibility diminish - first the sea's horizon disappeared, then the fishing pier, then most of the surrounding beach houses. The temperature had dropped as well. So, we gathered everything up and retreated inside.


    Expedition to the Lighthouses

  • Picnic at Bodie Island Lighthouse
  • Hoping that the fog would lift, we packed a picnic lunch and headed south to the nearest light house, the Bodie Island lighthouse. It was only 8 miles away, yet both Syd and Gavin fell asleep on the way. Once we arrived, the fog was indeed burned away by the sun. We looked around for a good picnic spot. There were no tables or benches, and we forgot to bring our blanket. So, we popped open the minivan's rear hatch and had a "hatchback" picnic. We had removed the rear seats prior to our trip, so there was plenty room in back for the three of us. [Gavin was still asleep.]


    Syd and I went to the visitor's center while Gavin nursed. I happened to notice that no one was standing on top of the lighthouse. When I asked the woman behind the counter about this, she said that the lighthouse had not been restored yet. It was acquired by the national park service in 2000, and the Federal Save Our Treasures committee was still researching the proper restoration techniques.


  • Syd and the B.I. Lighthouse
  • This bummed out Syd; she was really hoping to be able to climb a lighthouse today. So, we thought about traveling south to the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, some 40 miles down the road. Gavin was awake, and lately has been very unhappy to be in the car seat. But we decided to push on anyway. Sure enough he started crying halfway there, desperately trying to tell us that he was so sick of driving around.


  • Daria and Gavin at the Hatteras Lighthouse
  • We finally arrived at the new site of the Hatteras lighthouse. In 1999, it was moved a mile and a half inland in order to keep it from falling in the sea. Back in the mid-1800's, the original lighthouse had succumbed to the pounding surf and the ever-changing coastline; the current one was built in 1870. The visitor's center and the bookstore houses were also moved - quite a feat of engineering.


    We woke up Syd (who managed to fall asleep with Gavin's crying) and made our way to the ticket booth. I asked how much children's tickets were, and they wanted to see how tall Syd was before they sold her a ticket. Unfortunately, she was too short by an inch or two. This caused Syd to break out in tears; after coming all this way, this was such a disappointment. The ticket booth workers suggested taking her to the lighthouse entrance and having the park rangers measure her with their stick. That gave Syd some hope. So, we walked over to the entrance gate and asked them to check her height. Once again, she was a couple inches short of qualifying. And again, she started crying - another let down. They explained that the reason for this height check is to ensure that children can keep from falling down the stairs. The height limit was calculated from the stair and railing height. But the explanation didn't help Syd, of course. So, we checked out the book store and visitor's center before returning home.


    To soften the blow of not climbing any lighthouses, we promised Syd that we'd get some ice cream. We found a good place on the way back called Udder Delights. It was managed by a 75-year-old woman who had been there for 20 years, after she retired from her previous job. This was her last year there. We had some wonderful ice cream. Syd had dropped her cone, so I asked for another cup. The manager gave us one for free. It goes without saying that she was very nice.


    Dinner at Quagmires

    Once back at the beach house, we prepared to go out to eat at Quagmires, a Mexican/seafood restaurant on the beach. During our honeymoon, we ate there on Cinqo de Mayo, where they had a party on the upper deck. Unlike Monday, the parking lot was packed. Nonetheless, we were seated right away. They had a great kids menu, including mixed drinks for kids and an all-you-can-eat cracker bowl. Syd ordered a First Mate: ginger ale with cherry juice, accompanied by an eye patch and plastic sword. This place also featured a playground; the highlight was a miniature pirate ship complete with a plank and fire pole.


  • Daria and Syd put together a puzzle
  • It was difficult to drag Syd home, but we managed. We had fudge for dessert before Syd and I went into the hot tub. Afterwards, Syd and Daria worked on a puzzle while I cleaned up. Then, after stories, we all went to bed.

    Previous entry Next entry

    Return to main journal page