Friday, September 13, 2013

Leaving a Beach to Go to a Beach

The key to Messing is just going with the flow.  You may have a destination in mind, but you really don’t have a plan as to what you will do when you get there.  Or if you do, it’s easily derailed when something more interesting comes along.  When you’re with a large group, however, Messing isn’t always the way to go.  As much as people may not want an itinerary, they need a direction to go so as they don’t stand around wondering what’s next.  It’s also vital to pick something that at least the majority are wanting or can do so as most people don’t feel left out or bored.  The key is to think of the group and not individuals.  That doesn’t mean that people can’t wander off and do their own thing, but when you want to do things as a group, it’s just imperative you have a group mindset.

In our little group, Teri is the organizer.  She is the best at planning and making the arrangements needed for these little excursions.  However, since we didn’t really want a structured trip, the joke became Teri’s suggestions, which we usually went with, by the way.  It was soon discovered that people do better with a plan.  There was enough freedom in our trip to seem relaxing, but enough structure to keep us doing something besides staring at the walls, which would have been okay as well.

I hate paying to park somewhere
I don’t know what it is, but when I’m away on a trip with no reason to be up early, I’m still up before I want to be.  When we used to chaperone youth trips, Char and I would get up early and go down to the continental breakfast before any of the kids were awake and enjoy the quietness.  Perhaps, my early rising still stems from this habit.  However, the adult children were in the condo with me, so there was no real quiet. 

Before leaving, the ladies of our group divvied up the breakfast duties, each taking a different day.  This morning it was Katie’s turn and she was one of the few who were awake before I was.  A couple of the others were already sitting on the couches, groggy eyed and mumbling.  I headed to the porch.  The morning looks better when you are able to view it in special settings.  The mountains are one of them.  The beach is another.  I stared for awhile as the sun hung over the gulf, enjoying the quietness of the ocean and the few birds that scurried for food and fishermen getting ready to dig in for the morning.

We were taking over.
I live near the Atlantic and the difference between the east coast of Florida and the west coast is like night and day to me.  The sand is different, softer on the west coast, and the gulf has no waves to mention.  They have ripples.  At least, that’s all I saw when I was there.  It was like wading out into a lake with shells.  I also never noticed that fishy leftover seaweed smell that sometimes blankets our town from the Atlantic.  I had a hard time thinking of the Gulf as an ocean.

And that’s why we went to Honeymoon Island, the shells.  Remember above I said we live on the Atlantic.  I am five minutes from the beach and shells.  Yet, I was told that this beach has special shells.  “They are not the same as the ones on our shore.”  So, on our, suggestion list…we had it set to go to Honeymoon Island to explore.  We had made this trip a few years ago with a different group of people and never made it to the island, much to the disappointment of a couple of our ladies.  This time around, we were determined to see what the fuss was about.  All I could think of was that I was leaving one beach to go to another.  We were also staying on the beach, but it was the wrong beach.  That’s part of Messing, going somewhere else to see what is already around you.

This is how I do the beach.
One of our couples decided to stay behind and take in the beach at the hotel, so the other eight piled into a couple of cars and headed north.  This is when I discovered that the GPS lady was pushy. 

A couple of months ago, we bought the girls the new S4 Androids.  Since then we’ve taken a couple of trips and instead of printing out directions from MapQuest, which isn’t always the most reliable way to go, we turned on one of their navigation apps and allowed the lady to tell us where to go.  This seemed natural to me since I live with three ladies who are always telling me where to go as it is.  However, when Miss GPS decides it’s time for you to turn, she wants you to turn.  Right then!  And she will repeat it over and over until you do.  She doesn’t care about red lights or traffic or the fact that you aren’t going as fast as she thinks you should be and is turning you into a parked car or off the edge of a bridge.  Needless to say, I argued with her quite a bit.

Pelicans claiming their perch
Eventually we made it to Honeymoon Island, a state park where I had to pay $4 to park my car.  If I had more than the four of us in the car, I would have had to pay eight dollars even though it was the same single vehicle.  It makes no sense to me, but then again, I don’t understand Disney or Universal charging people $15 dollars to park their car in the hot sun while they go to pay $100 dollars to enter their park.  I expect my vehicle detailed while it’s sitting there for those prices.

We had planned ahead to go to the beach, so we had camp chairs, umbrellas, canopies and coolers full of water.  What we forgot was something to put the shells in that we were there to collect.  That didn’t stop us from collecting them, however.

And they were different than the ones on the beaches back home.  At least, they seemed it to me.  We had spirals and curly ones, tiny conchs, and giant broken conchs.  I had not planned on collecting, but found myself bending over whenever I saw a unique shape, design or color.  What we will do with them, I have no idea, but we came to collect shells and damn it that’s what we were going to do. 
Searching for shells

I also took some time to wade out into the Gulf, over rocks the size of a fist that seemed to always find the middle of my foot, I could walk out for awhile and the water remained waist high.  The water, however, was murkier than the water on the east coast, more brackish in color if not in smell.  We had also been told to shuffle our feet because sting rays liked to sleep on the bottom and if you stepped on one, YOWZA!   How true this is, I don’t know, but I wasn’t taking any chances.

I am not one to go out into the ocean.  I mean, it is basically a giant toilet bowl for fish and I really don’t like the idea of swimming in their waste.  I love going to the beach, though, as long as I get to sit in a chair in the shade.  I don’t usually need sunscreen, because I am rarely in the sun.  However, the girls wanted company in the water and walking along the shore, so I was in the sun more than I expected to be, which means by the time we loaded up the van again, I had a nice shade of red on my shoulders.  I didn’t complain, however.  I couldn’t.  I don’t believe a Floridian that gets sunburned deserves sympathy.  They live here and know the danger.  So, since I didn’t want my own words tossed back at me, I just gritted my teeth and dealt with it.  I was granted lotion later that evening, however.

Before we had left on our trip, a friend of mine told me that she had lived near Honeymoon Island for a few years and had spent quite a bit of time there.  She had also told me that at one point there had been a nude beach there, which she discovered while sitting there and having a naked elderly man stroll by her with his dangly bits swaying in the breeze.  While we didn’t explore the entire park, we didn’t come across any clothes optional sections or wandering naked men, for which I was thankful.

For three hours, we sat under our canopies, walked the sandy shore, or swam in the calm gulf.  Music played in the background as we talked and laughed and enjoyed the scenery of nature and girls in bikinis.  Well, I was enjoying them, anyway.  We even had our own photo shoot, which tends to always happen wherever we go because we like memories we can look back at.  It was a relaxing time and while hot, not unbearable.  That’s part of the joy of hanging out with good friends.  It doesn’t matter what you’re doing; it only matters who you are doing it with.

King of the beach!

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Other posts you might enjoy ~ Strawberry Messing 
                                             Prelude to Major Messing 

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  1. Dude you can find shells without cigar and brandy! Oh, and I concur on GPS lady, she needs to die!

    Have a safe trip!

    1. It was a great trip, James. If you've never been, I highly recommend it.

  2. "the ladies of our group divvied up the breakfast duties" ...and then made me cook the tators the second day