More Vacation Tales

Our other big adventure – besides miniature golf; I didn’t win any of the three games we played – was a trip to Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head.

The tallest living sand dune on the Atlantic coast is a premier location for kites, sightseeing and sunsets, with a view arcing from the ocean to Roanoke Sound. A visitor center with museum and 360-foot boardwalk with exhibits explain the dune’s ecology and are a gradual entry to the massive dune field.

The dunes are massive, as you can see above, and what the site doesn’t tell you is visitors can surf the dunes. Take Kyle, for example…

Kyle and Erik had an easier time hitting the slopes, but they were not fond of the return climb. I pulled Kevin and Julia down the dunes by dragging the board’s tether, but after five or six runs, my knee was completely shot. We wanted to stay and watch the sunset, but naturally, a huge storm came in and ruined the opportunity.

There’s more below the fold…

I’ll do a general wrap-up later, including some of the hilarity of the two weeks, but I also wanted to point out the Outer Banks were not what I expected. New Jersey’s beaches are sparse. No trees, no real grass, etc. Thee Outer Banks has it all. Pine trees, tall grass, cacti – seriously – and more critters than you can shake a stick at. We saw a ton of spiders near the rental, but Erik saw a coyote while jogging at dusk, Kyle and Kevin saw frogs, and Mrs. Earp captured this fella in the neighbor’s driveway…

Yeah, a freakin’ deer. And if gave no f**ks, because it looked at us when we went outside and went right back to eating grass.

The beaches were the cleanest shores I’ve ever seen, and the water was much cleaner than that in Jersey. Everyone took their trash with them, and the people were – for the most part – very friendly. The waves were at Kyle’s shoulders and he could still see the bottom.

Which brings me to our less-than memorable incident. All four of the kids are water babies. Kevin and Julia, especially, spent hours in the ocean, swimming, boogie boarding, and carousing in the waves. The only thing they fretted about was the one day we had red jellyfish. Even then, they went in the water.

Saturday was our last day at the beach. A storm the night before made for excellent waves, and miraculously, the water was very warm. A few hours into the day, I was knee deep in the water, watching Erik and Kevin. I’m like Chief Brody from Jaws. I’m not a fan of the water, so I always scan the area from the time we arrive to the time we leave.

Kyle came over and said while he was boarding, he saw a shadow of something. He thought it was a shark. I said it’s possible, but maybe not that close to shore. (Mostly to ease his tension.) A short time later, a wave broke near Erik, and I saw it. It may not have been Kyle’s shark, but it was absolutely, positively a shark. I saw the eyes, the dorsal fin, and the gray over dark skin. It was in the wave, but headed north.

I didn’t panic, but I calmly got Erik and Kevin’s attention. “Guys, come over here. Now.” They looked at me, and I said, “Get out of the water.” Both grumbled and Kevin went to where Mrs. Earp was sitting. Erik asked what was wrong and I said, “I saw a shark. Probably five to sex feet long, and it was close. Take a break please.”

Not bad for someone who was panicking inside. I walked to the chairs, sat down, and Mrs. Earp walked over. “Did you really see a shark?” I replied, “Absolutely, and I was never so scared in my entire life.” I would joke about many things, but never about a shark. Not happening.

After about an hour, I let the kids go back into the water – I didn’t want to ruin the last day – but they were not allowed to go out far, and I was with them, scanning once again.

The good news is not all the creatures were scary. OBX has ghost crabs all over their beaches. Tiny little crabs who tunnel in and out of the sand. It was pretty cool

Now I’m hungry for seafood.

6 thoughts on “More Vacation Tales

  1. Wow, you saw first hand what the news has been reporting about sharks being seen closer and closer to shore than ever before. Thankful everyone is okay and had a good time. The big question is….did you have to change your swim trunks after seeing the shark that close to shore???


  2. I’ve only had one incident with sharks in almost 50 years of diving (woah, did I date myself there!).

    For the most part, shark attacks do happen near the shoreline. The bad guys are great white (natch), bull, and tiger. The oceanic white tip was what nearly got my foot back in my Navy days during the 70’s. I was with a couple of SEALs, and they were spearfishing. I was carrying the game bag. I think they knew that was the risky thing to do. Since then, I’ve only seen one bull and one tiger, but (thank goodness) no great white.

    It looks like you guys had a great (white) time. Glad you’re back home safe.


    1. Last year was the first trip to Hatteras since I was Kyle’s age. The wife fell in love with the beaches there. Clean, no crowds, no restrictions, no curfew. We took a short trip to Avon last week. While shell hunting and herding ghost crabs late one night, we had the chance to see a loggerhead turtle lay and bury her eggs. Very cool. We can’t wait to go back. I just saw where a 4-5 foot Black Tip Shark beached on Cape Henlopen SP beach this past weekend.


  3. That sounds like an awesome time, except for the shark part. I was expecting that last line to be “Now I have to go to the clinic”.


  4. Ronni – It was hit and miss there for a while. I wasn’t going to run out of the water before the kids, but I felt like sprinting out.

    TXNick – The drive is really tough alone – Mrs. Earp shared driving with Kyle – but it’s definitely worth it.

    911 – Lovely. A turtle nest was roped off near where we were on the beach. Eggs were laid, but not yet hatched. Everyone was sure to give the area a wide berth. But yeah, North Carolina is awesome, and the TV carried Orioles games!

    Ingineer – Yeah, those crabs were too fast, or else I’d need the shampoo.


  5. Great fun, but I’m kind of like Chief Brody too. Do NOT like sharks. Don’t like snakes either. Or a few other things like scorpions and Democrat/Commies.


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