We love Thursday night fireworks. We pack a cooler, dinner, chairs and a ton of other stuff into our wagon and hike half way around to the jetties. To a spot right in front of the fireworks barge.
Where we have a front row seat to a great show.
We've done this a LOT.
We should be professionals. Prepared. Knowledgable.
I'm not sure what happened but for this trip we were none of the above.
It was like we'd just fallen off the turnip truck that very morning.
Thursday afternoon we realized it was the first night of fireworks so we grabbed some stuff and the Youngest Island Boy (the other two weren't interested)and off we went.
We got to the parking lot, piled everything into the wagon and started down the beach. It's about a half mile walk to reach our spot but it's a nice walk along the water's edge so it doesn't seem like that far.
We got to about 50 feet from where we wanted to be and saw this.
Wow. This rainbow stretched all the way across the Pass. We were so close we couldn't get a picture of the whole thing. It was incredible.
But while we were gawking at the rainbow, a serious rain storm came racing across the Bay behind us.
The sun was shining, there was a rainbow in front of us and within a second it was raining so hard you couldn't see your hand in front of your face.
Hard, stinging, pelting rain. That we never saw coming.
The Island King starts yelling for the poncho that lives in our bag so he can cover the camera bag and our towels.
Umm. I have a new beach bag this year but I haven't actually packed it yet. Meaning no poncho to keep stuff dry.
We were a half mile from the truck and the rain was stinging so bad that there was no way we could make a run for it. We grabbed a beach towel, turned our backs to the storm, threw the rest of our towels over the camera bag, tucked the Youngest as close to us as possible and huddled under the towel.
These afternoon showers came through almost every afternoon and they usually move through so fast the ground doesn't get good and wet.
Not this time.
It rained harder and harder and the wind was blowing really hard and we got completely soaked. The rain and sand were blasting our legs and it went on and on and on.
For 20 solid minutes.
We couldn't see a thing and were just huddling there when the wind shifted. Suddenly. And when it did I thought 'I sure hope there isn't a waterspout behind us.'
The Island King must have had the same thought because he said "If a waterspout comes through we're grabbing the Youngest and going into the water."
Sounded like a good plan to me considering we were standing completely exposed on the beach.
Not that we'd have been able to see anything coming at us anyway but I was really starting to think we needed a plan and that sounded as good as anything I had to offer.
After what seemed like an eternity the rain stopped as fast as it started. No slacking off, no easing up, just stopped.
Now, we were dripping wet.
We'd piled all of the towels on top of the camera bag and it's a nylon bag so it was a little damp but the cameras inside were still nice and dry.
That was the only thing that was dry.
We'd also brought warm shirts for later but they were soaked too.
Luckily the sun came right back out so we knew we'd be warm and dry before long.
We were moved on down the beach to the spot we wanted and I was lucky enough to find a clothes line erected by the US Government.
I'm not sure hanging beach towels on these is legal but I was willing to take the risk.
Finally, we have arrived.
The War Birds flew out and over the Pass for a little while. These old planes are so cool.
We were watching a beautiful sunset
when some very unpleasant guests arrived.
Dogflies. Mean, biting, little *#$%@^!
The wind shift had driven them out of the dunes and down to the beach.
Doesn't happen often but on occassion the wind stirs them up.
I reached into my bag for the bug spray and realized there wasn't any.
Because it's a new bag that I haven't packed yet.
Good grief. I am a Florida native. I know better than to go anywhere without bug spray.
And then it dawned on me that because I hadn't packed the bag we didn't have a flashlight. For our night trip.
The Island King looked at me, shook his head and asked if I was new.
You would never know I've made this trip a hundred times.
As we were battling the flies a giant moon rose.
It huge. And stunning.
So we slipped into the water and like gators we submerged everything under the water except our eyes and noses.
The water was warm, the flies weren't biting us, the moon was beautiful - all was right in the world.
A slight breeze came up and blew the dogflies back into the dunes while we were in the water so when we finally came out they were gone.
Too bad our towels were still wet. We dried off as best we could, ate dinner and settled in for the fireworks.
A thick cloud moved in just as the fireworks were due to start which covered the moon, making the fireworks brighter.
And as usual the fireworks were spectacular.
Ten minutes of great fireworks right over our heads. Awesome.
And right after the fireworks ended the clouds parted and the moon was back.
You just couldn't ask for better than that.
And because the moonlight was so bright we didn't need a flashlight anyway.
As we started to pack up we noticed a police car going over the bridge. But instead of going on over he stopped half way up the bridge. And then an ambulance joined him. And then a fire truck. And then several other red and blue light vehicles.
Wonder what happened up there?
One thing we know for sure is that both lanes of traffic have been closed and no one is crossing the bridge.
Might as well sit back and enjoy the view until the bridge reopens.
We could have packed up and gone back to the truck but waiting on the beach is much more pleasant than waiting in a parking lot.
Finally, the bridge reopened and we loaded the wagon and began our trek.
We put our camera bag in the wagon along with everything else and then I walked along side to make sure the wagon didn't tip over.
Until we were almost back to the truck.
The Island King stopped and I could tell his shoulder was bothering him so I offered to pull the wagon the rest of the way. He moved over a bit and held one side of the handle while I grabbed the other.
We were going to pull together.
We took one step forward and the wagon tipped right over.
Into the water.
Faster than lightning the Island King mowed over me and into the water screaming for the camera bag.
He swooped it up and ran up onto the beach howling "Oh My God!" over and over.
It wasn't pretty.
And our camera equipment dumped into the Bay could be catastrophic.
So I'm not sure why but I started laughing but I did and I laughed until my knees buckled. Down into the water I went, laughing hysterically.
I couldn't even stop long enough to find out if the camera was ok.
As I sat there laughing the trash from our cooler that was now upside down at the water's edge started floating past me.
Which made me laugh even harder. I started chasing cans and ziplock bags as they floated down the beach and because I was laughing so hard it took twice as long to catch everything.
While I was chasing debris through the surf the Island King is running towards the truck yelling that he needs to get to the truck with the camera.
The possible severity of the situation hasn't fazed me and I'm still laughing so hard that my sides were aching.
I finally sat down in the sand and recovered.
The Youngest was standing perfectly still staring at the chaos and saying "I'm with the Disaster Family!"
Poor kid. His Dad has run off into the dark screaming about his camera and his mother is rolling around in the surf laughing like an absolute lunatic.
And all of the stuff from the wagon is still laying in the water.
I realized that the Island King wasn't coming back so I righted the wagon and began pulling stuff out of the water.
Like the radio. Out of which several gallons of water came gushing as I picked it up. Well that's toast.
I rounded up everything, stuffed it all back into the wagon and the Youngest and I started for the truck.
The Island King met us halfway back and delivered the good news that the camera was dry.
It landed on top of a beach chair when it hit the water and he grabbed it before the chair sunk so no water got in the bag at all.
He was so rattled and just kept mumbling about what a close call that was.
He also seemed a little ticked at me for finding such a potentially horrible experience funny.
Which made me start laughing all over again.
On the way home we talked about our evening.
We saw a beautiful rainbow and then got rained on.
We watched a great sunset but were shivering because all of our towels were wet.
We watched an incredible moon rise but while it was rising the Dogflies were biting the mess out of us.
We dumped our wagon into the water but saved the camera.
It was truly a yin and yang sort of evening but we enjoyed every minute of it.