I'm not sure what is happening out there in that ocean (well, I have a frightening idea since I'm watching a little bit of Shark Week), but it seems the water is getting rougher and rougher. I mean, I specifically remember decades ago when waves wouldn't toss me around. Or when I could body surf for hours without landing on my face while ingesting a mouthful of sand.
These days, not so much. And while I can already hear your mind ticking...
Clearly it has nothing to do with my age. It has to be something else. Global warming. Santa Ana winds. El Nino. His little sister, La Nina. Normally, I would blame being tossed around like a rag doll on the latest Tropical Storm - as they generally seem to plant themselves off the coast the same week we are vacationing. But this time, we lucked out - the storm was still way far away.
Maybe it was the raft. Probably. Raft error. That sounds good. I mean, I think I used to be able to actually sit on a raft in the ocean and just right the swells while chatting it up with my pals. This go I spent a good twenty minutes trying to launch myself onto the raft without success. Unless you rate success as falling off the other side, tipping backwards, getting stuck under the raft, nearly losing a piece of your suit or drinking several gallons of ocean water.
Obviously the ocean is changing.
Never mind that after a quick half hour of flailing about I developed a great urge to lay down on my beach blanket and read. This actually frightened me a bit as I specifically remember thinking (again...decades ago) how lame 'those' people were. The ones who dragged all their stuff out on the beach and then just slumbered on their blankets reading. Have I become one of those people. Um. Yeah. Actually.
Of course in order to reach that goal I had to work my way back in from the deeps. Proof again of a changing ocean. I'm sure it was just last year that I would trollop to the shallows, practically skipping and dancing over the incoming waves. There was no skipping this year. For some reason my legs got shorter making it impossible to trollop anywhere. It was more of a lean forward and push kind of action that seemed to gain me only about three inches at a stride.
I made it eventually.
I've also become, evidently, a beach walker. Again - one of those people I used to mock. Why would one drag all their stuff out to the perfect spot (cooler, towels, rafts, blanket, book, snacks, lotion, hat, sunglasses, tshirt) only to lay it all out with a nod and then head out for a long walk? Why? I have no idea. But I actually enjoyed it.
Since we were at the beach as a group - my brother, nephew, niece and pseudo-nephew - we would take turns being the go-getters. Jamie and I would head out on our walk first leaving the boys in charge of our stuff. I have no doubt that was all talk - I have no doubt they paid zero attention to our stuff because they were busy trying to pick up chicks. When we returned, the boys would head out for their walk. Which was actually a run - because if your young and single at the beach you've got to show off what you can.
Jamie and I had some fantastic talks on our walks. I think that's why I enjoyed them so much. So much that I didn't realize my back was turning lobster red or my calves were begging for mercy. Sand walking is a tough sport.
Of COURSE I didn't catch that. But you know why? It's because I'm so nice. Because when you are on a good charter, they make you pick a reeling order - that way everybody knows who is reeling in the next 'big' one. There's none of that panic "I don't want to do it!" stuff.
And because I'm so kind, I let my brother have the first go. Had I known this would be our only 'big' catch, surely I could have thought differently. Or not. It looked kind of hard.