So this is a typical beach trip - I have lots of picture and very little to say - the pictures kind of explain themselves. Firstly, we always go out onto the pier for walk and to enjoy the salty warm air. As is the case, Bri is usually teasing everyone, Caty ends up being super cranky and then pouts. as you can seen from the first picture, Caty is in true form. Lizzy and Carleigh can't help but smile. Lizzy is sporting one of the shirts that we made. We used puffy paint and made shirts and aprons.
Cathy found out this year that she had recurrence of breast cancer. Actually it was a whole new cancer - this was not just recurrence of the first one. This was very sobering, scary and has required that she have another mastectomy - It was scheduled for just after the beach trip so that she could enjoy the vacation. Thankfully she didn't have to do chemo and radiation for this one, just surgery.
As we fished off the pier, we caught a couple of fish - Mike and I caught a couple of sand sharks and Michael hooked a small Ray - he was really nervous and wouldn't touch it - I was able to help throw the thing back in the water once it was off the hook - but as is the case with most fish - I was scared to death to be around it.
The Beach trip took a new turn when we rented the pontoon boat. this has been a source of fun for us every year. We have also rented jet skis in the past as well, this year we did both. unfortunately as you can see above there was a bit of a weather problem this year. We had wind and storm clouds right from the start of our 4 hours.
Grumpy with a fruit roll-up.
Mike and I took turns driving the boat - it was a 12 seater, very easy to drive and thankfully it was relatively new and well taken care of. I don't have any pictures of the jet ski's, so my description will just have to suffice. As we got up to the rental dock, they had run out of the jet ski's so the young man that was running the rental counter actually rented me his own jet ski. This was new, beautiful and in MINT condition. So we set out on our 3 hour tour - It really ended up feeling like Gilligan's island.
Initially we cruised down to the end of Holden beach - the southernmost end of the island is where we went to explore, and swim around - it is just next to an inlet between Ocean Isle and Holden Beach and is a fun stop. This is where we created our hub so that when we took turns on the jet ski, we would return to this site to take turns. Michael had a fun time and would go out with either Mike or I and with Bri on as well. He was so cautions with the throttle or turning that he would frequently cause the machine to tip over - it was very funny.
Then Caty and I took our turn together. At this point, the darkening of the skies was becoming daunting but the water was stool relatively calm and flat. Caty and I took off up one of the inlets where the homes are built with their own dock's. We cruised in and out of the inlet grasses on the flat waters that were sheltered from the wind and choppy water. then it happened. We noticed that the tides were going out and unfortunately we didn't pay attention to this until we were too far out of the main channel. I started to feel the bottom of the jet ski touching the bottom, some sandbars and some oyster beds. I immediately felt a chill of fear come across me and realized that we could very easily get stuck. At this point however I had strayed far enough off the main course that I was lost and couldn't easily find my way back.
Then it hit - I bottomed out on a very shallow oyster bed causing the jet ski to be so high in the water that it wouldn't move at all and in fact the jet engine was sucking in the oyster bed and not enough water. I stepped out of the jet ski keeping Caty on the back and tried to push the jet ski into deeper waters but it is a very heavy machine and I could barely move it at all, I tried to gun the engine a couple of times and had no success. I had no ideas that oysters have sharp edges. Not just sharp, but razor sharp! I had some pain in my foot at this point but I had no idea what was happening until I changed feet and pushed with my other foot on the oyster bed - much more intense pain. I immediately got back in the jet ski and looked at my feet - both feet were bleeding and one of the big toes was hemorrhaging.
I was so scared at this point that I immediately had Caty Lynne say a prayer with me - we had no idea what to do or how to get out of this situation - I couldn't get out of the jet ski to go for help and the tides were going out meaning that we would stranded for 6 hours or so waiting for the tides to come up. The winds are howling, the skies are now grey to black and we can't see a way off. Then it hit me - I took off my life jacked and used it for a platform to push off the bottom. With all my strength, I pushed and pulled and finally after 2 minutes of straining every muscle i was able to get the jet ski to a slightly deeper area! I looked down into the foot bay on the L side of the jet ski as we floated and saw that I was resting my foot in ankle deep blood which was starting to clot. I was bleeding heavily and had not way to stop it!
The engine fired up but I was unable to get it to go any faster than 5 mph. I was determined that I had broken the machine - of course this was not the company's machine, this was the young man's personal Jet Ski - We had been out for about 45 minutes at this point and we didn't know where everyone else was. As I maneuvered down this side channel, I found my way to a large dock on the edge of the main channel and at this point, the engine completely died just close enough to the dock that I was able to reach out and grab the dock pulling us to the edge.
I anchored the jet ski to the dock with a rope and had Caty get out and go up to the main land for help - she found a man walking around who essentially looked at us and turned around and drove off. So helpful! I took the life jacket off and almost immediately, the life jacket flew into the channel when the gale force winds blew it away. Between the winds and the strong tide current, I wrote the life jacket off and went up for help. There was a passing vessel that picked it up and returned it to us but were unable to help us with the jet ski. I finally found someone who had a phone with capability to call for help - we were able to touch base with the marina - The family had become worried and went back to the marina looking for us. The marina sent out another jet ski to trade with us and took a look at the defective one. Of course the engine had been resting for the last 45 minutes as we flailed on the dock trying to stop my toe from bleeding. The engine fired right back up and ran just fine - I guess the engine had just become overheated while we were on the oyster bar. No harm, No foul.
On the way back to the main marina, we passed a motor boat that was caught on a sandbar as well, I felt bad given what we had just gone through and asking people to come help us that we stopped - Michael, Bri and I jumped out and helped pull the people off the sandbar. It took about 10 minutes and was not easy with my toes hurting and bleeding but it felt somewhat redeeming.
That night I asked Robin to go to the store and pick up some Super Glue to fix my toes. The lacerations were deep and were located on both the great toes as well as on the arch of one of my feet - I applied layer after layer of superglue and was finally able to walk on them with some discomfort. Honestly I felt like this was the last time I was every going to rent a jet ski - I think everyone else had fun though - Caty and I bonded in a new way being in a scary situation! It was 2 years ago when Caty and I were getting off the jet ski on the beach and saw a large orange colored shark swim after a fish under the jet ski immediately after Caty got out of the jet ski! We don't have very good luck on that thing!
Of course the beach trip was also a time for good old sunning and strutting as you can see below
Mandy and Cathy spend most of their time on the beach avoiding sunburn.
And last but not least - we can't finish a vacation at Ocean Isle without going to mini golf on the Friday before we leave along with everyone else on the island. As always we start out having a great time but by the second hole, Brian becomes super competitive and can't tolerate anyone else winning - Bri was at his baseline teasing form - knowing just how to get under the girls skin to cause fighting and crying. But all in all we had a great time.
Had to include this shot - this is my glamour shot - it has gotten this bad! 240 pounds!
And at the end of it all, we returned home and crashed - Carleigh was the poster child for how we felt at the end of the week - Great week, had fun, no ER bills, mild sunburn! Can't wait for next year