Jul 18, 2016

Beach 2016: Saturday

I don't think I actually took pictures every single day we were at the beach this year. Maybe I did, but this is the first year in, oh, 15 or so that I didn't take my "big" camera.

You may remember that my laptop's hard drive has been full for the past year and I've had trouble successfully moving everything to an external hard drive, so I didn't bother taking my DSLR on the trip because I knew I wouldn't be able to transfer the photos to my laptop afterward.

Well. Over the weekend at my semi-annual scrapbooking crop, instead of scrapbooking, I became my own Apple Genius. I moved my entire iPhoto library (97,000+ photos) to an external hard drive, then crossed my fingers, prayed mightily and deleted the original library -- and it worked!

Then I moved 4,800 photos and videos off of my iPhone to my laptop and deleted them off of my phone -- and I could swear my phone actually feels physically lighter.

Now "all I have to do" is edit those photos and load them all to Costco so I can order prints to scrapbook at the January 2017 crop. And the next, say, 15 crops in a row.

All of that to say, the pictures from this year's beach trip are all phone pics, and I didn't take as many as I usually do. Don't judge.

To try to avoid most of the traffic getting onto Ocean Isle this year (there's only one bridge to get on and off the island, and you can sit for hours if you get there at the wrong time), we timed our arrival about four hours before check-in time on Saturday.

That gave us time to grab lunch at an island favorite (Pelican's Perch), run into a surf shop for a few things, and then head across the street to dip our toes in the ocean.

I took these pictures right by the OIB pier and public beach access point, so it's probably one of the busiest spots on the entire island.

Even so, the number of people out and about -- and particularly the number of people in the ocean -- compared to last year, when shark bites had been in the news for weeks, was remarkable.

Even though our swimsuits were in the van, the kids were dying to get in the water, so we just let them have at it. Worst thing that could happen was that the van would get wet and sandy. NOW DON'T GET THE WRONG IDEA. That is a fate worse than death for me on a normal day. But I told myself that this was just the beginning of Beach Week and far to early too start ruining their fun.

After we loaded the very wet, very sandy people back up in the van, we headed north to the house. There was a little snafu with the housekey transfer, so we ended up not being able to get in the house for quite some time after official check-in time. Note to those vacationers thinking about VRBO vs. rental-company options: when you deal directly with a homeowner, you don't have a lot of recourse when things go awry, especially when they have a long waiting list for their property. Just saying.

We were pretty late getting to the Shallotte Wal-Mart that night for the first grocery trip of the week -- I don't think we got there until around 9:30 -- and that put us in the checkout lines at 11:45. Would you be surprised to learn that they only had three lanes open? No?

I will say that they handled the midnight shift-change in Shallotte MUCH better than they did in Garden City -- where we vacationed for years. When we'd get stuck in line at shift-change in Garden City, it would cost us an additional 10 minutes, easily. This was a pleasure compared to that.

Once all six of us finally got through the line (and we all remembered our ice!), I asked a stranger to take our picture -- another annual tradition.

Every year it cracks me up that throughout the Saturday we arrive at the beach, people ask me on Twitter, "When are you going to the store?" And then after I Tweet out the picture, I get replies like, "I've been waiting all night for this -- I can finally go to bed!" Apparently our first grocery trip of the week is an epic adventure for many of you, too.

I will say that there were SEVERAL things on our list that we weren't able to get that night -- much of their produce section was wiped out by the time we got there, and there were some other random things we couldn't find. So -- each of us went back out to a closer grocery store probably every day the rest of the week for those things and replacements for perishables.

My brother-in-law Gerry did the math and figured 30 people x 3 meals a day x 7 days = 630 meals. Soooo, lotsa groceries.

Anyway, that kicked off Beach Week 2016, and it was constant excitement from that point forward. More to come.

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