At the risk of turning this into a slide show, I do have some vacation pictures to share. I’ll spare you all the sandy details but let’s just say Sunset Beach is a marvelous place to spend a week in June. For now anyway, the looming demise of it's trademark floating drawbridge will alter the island beyond compare. But that’s another post. For now, I got pixels...
On the last day our annual migration, the wife and I ushered our girls aboard what can best be described as a kick-ass speedboat. The skipper of the Sea Thunder was a jovial sort; he leaned back in his chair and cracked stale jokes over the loudspeaker as he piloted the brightly-colored craft with one hand. Minutes outside the channel, the skipper leaned on the throttle. My wife smiled at the horizon as I watched the kids react to their first high-speed lunge into the open sea.
Soon we were bobbing in the waters off Bird Island, ‘No Woman No Cry’ wafting over the boat’s many speakers. Scanning the shore for the Kindred Spirit mailbox, we gave up when a throaty rumble of a competitor’s craft hove into view. Obviously, the Sea Screamer was laden with the Great Unwashed, nothing like the erudite yet shirtless denizens of my fine vessel. Still, we stared at each other as both boats pitch and dove. Before either cruiser could launch a salvo, three dolphins splashed out of the water as if on cue.
Both crowds gasped as schools of silver swimmers cavorted about between the two boats. Executing coordination unknown to man, the gleaming divers danced in unison around the watery arena. The skipper goosed the engine for a better view and ran his best ‘Flipper’ material. Each attempt to capture the mammals with my digital camera was met with yet another shot of unfocused sea. Did I mention the first mate sold ice cold Bud Lights straight from the official Sea Thunder cooler? Dollar a pop - in port and underway.
After the swimming mammals hit the showers, The Skipper fired up the twin outboards, sending our sleek craft into a determined trajectory South, parallel to the sandy shore known as Cherry Grove. There our captain stopped and pointed out c-list celebrity homes, a Nascar driver, a has been and another sports figure I’d never heard of. Truth is, I spent most of my time watching my girls as they tasted the spray arcing off the boat’s sleek hull. I’m no more master sailor, but my time aboard the U.S.S. Mount Whitney did teach me the intrinsic value of daydreaming at sea.
In the end, we covered 15 miles of shoreline, from the northern edge of the Grand Strand to the weedy backwaters of workaday Calabash. At the turnaround point, Skipper held our position off north Myrtle and started talking of cannons and condos. I thought he was kidding until he sounded battle stations, causing First Mate Noah to look up from the cooler long enough to pull a cord. ’BOOM!’ went a midships cannon, it’s vibrating echo bouncing off the high-rises in staggered concert. As the returning booms washed over the boat, passengers squinted and grinned (minus one kid who was obviously sleeping off some late night Kool-Aid binge). I was among the awake and grateful, happy to be making memories that had nothing to with deadlines and live shots.
Remind me of that tomorrow when I’m hashing out my third vosot of the day.