Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Outer Banks, NC

15 hours of travel
               5 girls
                   1 beach house
                                 7 days
                                        and lots to explore... 

Sunrise from the beach in our backyard

The name of our rented beach house -
which we absolutely loved!

Time on the beach was a must. No, it was not too cold to swim in the ocean apparently. The girls had a ton of fun and the air resonated with their laughter. I enjoyed the chance to sit in the sand and relax, sharing in their joy. 

Mermaid Abi and Jillian
Could this girl be any happier?

 Exploring led us to the familiar landmarks of the Outer Banks and to some perhaps not as typical sights.

JD, me, and Julie
(on a windy afternoon)

There are 5 lighthouses on the Outer Bank islands. We were able to visit 4 of them. Lighthouses always remind me of the movie Pete's Dragon (which I love). "I'll be your candle on the water..." 

Cape Hatteras




One of the things JD really wanted to do was catch a fish and cook it for dinner. Jillian and Abi were excited about the prospect too. Off to the Avon Pier we went. They rented poles and bought some shrimp for bait. The tide was coming in, so prospects were good for fishing. I brought a chair and a good book.

First thing I noticed was how warped the pier had become. I'm not sure there was any part of it that was level. This messed with my fear of heights and falling a little, but I was able to calm my beating heart and enjoy the sun and ocean sounds. 

Another thing I noticed was that while we were in shorts, t-shirts and bathing suits several people on the pier were in jackets, hoods, and one even in a snowsuit looking thing. After a couple hours of wind and sun - with 2 very burnt girls it made a whole lot more sense. 

Poles baited and tutorial on how to release the line and reel it back over, they fished and I read. They tried different places along the pier and I read. I tried switching sides of the pier but it was too windy on the other side. Then Abi starts yelling that she caught something, but was having a hard time reeling it in. I dropped my book and went to get JD. Even she was having a hard time reeling it in - it must be something pretty good sized. By now, several of the other fisherman are gathered around these obvious inexperienced tourists trying to help. Low and behold.. it wasn't quite what she was hoping to catch....

Abi's stingray

They simply cut the line and let it go and all went back to fishing. But sadly... no fish were caught. 

One of the things that helped us explore the area was geocaching. JD and Jillian geocache at home, but none of the rest of us had ever done it. Abi really enjoyed it and became JD's sidekick as each night or morning they looked at various caches we might be able to find. 

Our first cache of the trip

JD and Abi

 There was one cache that JD was not leaving without doing. I call it the adventure cache. The prize was out on a little island in the sound, where there were apparently sting rays. Kindly, a resident allowed us to borrow his kayak and I rowed Abi out to the island while JD and Jillian began to walk out to it.

When the water got deep enough to swim, Jillian started to freak out that she couldn't touch, so I ended up rowing back to pick her up. One of the problems we had was the GPS wasn't working so well on the island and we had no idea where on the island the cache was, so we began to traipse around searching for ground zero. 

The thorns cut our legs. I saw some really large spiders. And then... the bog where poor JD sunk up to her knees. When she reached into the hole to pull out her flip-flop something crawled across her arm. Ummm... why are we out here again?

Definitely NOT a stick in the mud

We finally found ground zero, but then still couldn't find it in all the thick brush - finally we were victorious and all our battle wounds became worth it! Except we still had to get off the island and back to the kayak - back through the muddy thorny bog we went. 

 Of all the caches we tried, there were only 2 we couldn't find. This one found us being eaten by giant mosquitoes within seconds. So we elected to give up and save our blood and sanity from itching.

One should not visit the Outer Banks and not see the wild horses. One wouldn't even think of wild horses being there, but it does make sense. It's amazing that they've been able to protect them and keep them wild for all these years. 

Having some fun in the big chair

I splurged. I can't even remember the last time I had a banana split. I did some serious damage to it before I couldn't eat anymore. 

Birthday cake, banana pudding, and strawberry ice cream
with chocolate, caramel and rainbow sprinkles

On our last day, JD and I went back to Cape Hatteras on our own. We walked about 2 miles along the shore out to the point (fairly close to low tide). It was an absolutely picture perfect day and my happy meter was at 100. If only I had seen a dolphin, I would have just about exploded with joy. 

At the point as the tide was coming back in, the waves were coming from either side of the land and crossing. It was spectacular to see. With the sun beating down, the water felt so refreshing. It didn't matter that I knew I was going to be sunburned or that my feet hurt from walking, it only mattered that God had created that day, and that time for us to see and experience and become a part of. It was the most perfect way to wrap up such a wonderful week. 

Like all great vacations, the sun must set and we must say goodbye. As we left, we took with us many great memories and lots of sand.

See more of the photos here. (they are some of the best ones)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ghana Well Project

I generally don't use my blog to ask you to consider donating to a cause I am not directly involved in, but this well project needs your help. As you know, I was in Ghana last fall and had the opportunity to meet this missionary couple. We have been blessed to spend time together both in Ghana and stateside and their hearts for the people of Ghana are genuine.

The areas where they work are some of the poorest parts of Ghana and a well is very much needed. Water is SOOO important and vital to communities. It will take $5000 to drill the well and they would like to have the money raised before they return to Ghana in the next several weeks.

Please visit their website and click on Well Project. Donate if you can. If you can't please consider passing the word along to others.