Tag Archives: Brits on holiday

The Ocean’s Apology

Jack and Wendy are on holiday with friends Oliver and Barbara, from Britain, and Brandon and Beth, from Virginia. Herewith a tale of their adventures.

66460144_691467604631963_6907103243638145024_n(1)The Atlantic and I had a disagreement about how I should reach shore, day 4 of our holiday. I felt riding in on Oliver’s borrowed board was best, but the wave said I should plow to shore on my face doing about 12 mph and let the sand stop me.

The wave won that toss, but since then the sea has behaved handsomely. This morning, when Brandon and I got up early to walk to an old lighthouse, we found many things on the beach, tossed up by last night’s storms.

65906883_1075559982832263_8633267998813061120_nFirst up was a strange shell I thought was  a clam, but turned out to be a pair of sunglasses. Versace, new. Brandon looked them up: $280.

“The sea is apologizing for beating you up,” he said. “It sent you a gift. And you can hide your black eye at the restaurants in Savannah.” (That is our next stop.)

“Versace, smersace,” I responded. “I don’t use name brands.”

There was a loud crash as the calm ocean suddenly produced a nasty wave.

We walked on.  A few hundred yards later, I said, “That’s not….”

“It is,” said Brandon. “The sea is trying really hard to make it up to you.”

67223035_2507246095994420_7284640253460086784_n(1)These sunglasses were more, as Brandon put it, “a Wendy-friendly style.” Aviators from Old Navy, $20 new.

“I like the heart-shaped frames, but you know I really don’t wear sunglasses.”

A strange sucking sound came from the ocean, for all the world like a frustrated sigh.

We soon reached the tidal pools around the light house coast. The storm had tossed up massive hermit crabs, a few jelly fish, numerous large scallop shells and some broken conch.

66411678_444782456368010_7061261830483607552_n“Look at that.” I pointed to the edge of a tidal pool. We waited to see if the leopard crab shell moved. It did not. I picked it up. Empty, perfect, rare.

“Oooh, this is nice,” I said aloud, holding the shell to the light to admire its colors.

“Apology accepted.” Brandon addressed this to the waves.

The sea gave a small self-satisfied sigh, and took the tide out.

 

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Day Seven: Buff Steals the Show

Still at Sylvan Lake, soaking in water and woods by day, and cocktails by night. Because the wifi is hard to get, I’m putting all the photos and video at the bottom in a string again.

When you’ve seen a six-foot male buffalo kick up his heels in a dirt bath, you know the definition of “party animal.” These massive creatures turn into eight-hundred-pound puppies, legs waving in all directions as they wriggle on their backs like worms. It’s like watching the Pope go swimming: one minute plodding along all dignity and grace ignoring the tourists with cameras, the next doing a high dive yelling “Bonsai!”

Thoughtfully, the buffalo had aligned himself about twenty feet beyond a sign describing the American bison, so the braver tourists dashed three feet from their cars to take a picture of Buff the Bather gamboling about like a prairie dog, just beyond the interpretive plaque depicting him as the symbol of Prairie Dignity.

In the car, Oliver, Barbara, Jack and I agreed: Buff had drawn the afternoon shift. While all the others were hiding out from the heat at the local watering hole, buying each other rounds, he had the high-traffic entertainment shift. Hence his need for a party piece, the ol’ hof-waving, back-wriggling, kick-’em-up high routine. Packs the house every time.

About an hour later, leaving the Wildlife Loop Trail, we passed the Custer State Park office. Barbara indicated it with a nod of her head. “That’s where they collect their weekly wages. Buff is the highest-paid, because of his dirt dance routine, but he’s training twin calves to take over next year so he can retire.”

It is a sign of how far we have traveled together that the rest of us nodded agreement, Jack adding, “Took him two years to work his way up from night shifts.”

None of the crew are as interested in the antics of the prairie dogs, though, and I have had to resort to trickery to get my daily fix. While Oliver very much enjoys the charm of the wildlife and the beauty of the Black Hills, he tailgates the person ahead until they pull over, then races on. Even a rare sighting of an antelope failed to stop his drive to, well, drive. So the next time I saw a particularly cute prairie dog village, I shouted, “Look there!” Oliver practically put us into a ditch, swerving to the side. I snapped the dogs, and since we now had to let all the people we’d passed pass us, Oliver scanned the horizon for what I’d been pointing at. Turned out to be a dying Black Hills Spruce. (The beetles are doing for them, 95,000 acres damaged). Oh dear, so silly of me to mistake that reddish tree for a buffalo/coyote/antelope/mountain goat. Well, let’s press on, shall we?

Tomorrow, I drive….

 

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