Ft. Fisher tends to be a popular beach with locals, whether full-year or half-year locals, because there aren't any hotels at Ft. Fisher, it's way down the island and not many people know there's a beach there. Since it's the preferred beach for locals, you also very seldom have to deal with those annoying tendencies that tourists display, like blasting music, getting drunk or feeding the seagulls on a crowded beach (for you readers who don't do the beach regularly, flying isn't the only thing seagulls do in the air - think about it). We had gone to this same beach as a family the Saturday before, and there was a couple feeding the seagulls and taking pictures. That might look cute in the vacation photos, but it's darn annoying to other beachcombers.
Even with the majority of beachgoers being locals, the occasion family of tourists finds their way to this peaceful stretch of beach. It makes for some interesting people watching, one of my favorite pasttimes.
The girls and I set up our towels and cooler and headed to the water. The waves were maybe knee-high to my older daughter and the seashells were ample. They found some fascinating ones, including some lovely, unusual brown ones. I'm going to dig out a corner shelf we have buried in the garage, hang it in the powder room and start placing the girls' beach finds in a squat glass jar on it (our powder room is done in shells). And ya know, it doesn't matter if the shells are partials or whole, if I think they're beautiful or not, they think they're treasures, so they're special.
So... To the people watching...
There were your typical families, or typical 3/4 of families (figuring that those kids with only one parent with them probably have another parent working). There were some military couples and families. Way down the beach past the range of the lifeguard stations is a very open, not heavily populated section of beach where many of the dog fans hang out. There's lots of room here to let pets run wild on leashes and play in the water without disturbing other beachgoers. To me, this is a nice compromise. Some beaches don't allow dogs on the beach during the tourist season; I'm glad this one does. We saw quite a few attractive single guys with friendly dogs, and my youngest especially loved petting them - the dogs, not the guys. I'm only adding this for any of you single folks who might be reading this. If you want to pick up people at the beach, bring either a cute, friendly dog or a cute, friendly child. No, I'm not renting out my youngest for this purpose.
There was one family that was remarkable because, well, they looked rather ridiculous. Typical family - mom, dad, three kids. The kids (the youngest older than my youngest and the oldest about the same age as my oldest) and the dad were all wearing life vests. The mom was wearing a hat, as was the dad, and the dad was wearing his sunglasses. People who go to the beach know, you don't wear hats or sunglasses in the water unless you want to lose them. Then dad pulls out his cell phone to take some pictures. That's not so unusual in this day and age. Risky, and one I've taken myself, but not uncommon. The girls and I played a bit more, then took a walk down the beach. I was surprised that even my Wee One survived that hike on her little legs! We came back to our section of beach for a little bit more play, and I noticed that this dad had his cell phone out again - and was talking on it while trying to hold on to his daughter in the increasingly rough water (tide change). Seriously??? Is there anyone who's so important that they have to field phone calls at the beach... in the water... and while trying to protect your child?
We soon rinsed off and left for home. The firstborn stayed awake the whole trip home; the Wee One never even made it off the island before she was sooouuuuuund asleep. It was an awesome day, and we were just sorry that our plans to enjoy it with friends fell through.
Tomorrow we start third grade in homeschool, and our mid-week trips to the beach will have to wait nine weeks. Maybe.
What's the craziest thing you've seen at the beach?