I am going to tell you about the time we almost got lost at sea. This occurred during the summer between 5th and 6th grade. My family and I were in some ocean-front state along the Atlantic Coast.
We decided that we were going to spend the day at the beach. I couldn’t care less. My parents had wisely purchased Gameboy Colors for my brother and me. So we ended up on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. After frolicking around in the salty waters for an hour or two, my parents decided that we should visit a lighthouse we saw off in the distance. My stepdad decided that he wanted to walk to it, but my mother told him she didn’t want my little sister (approximately 2-3 years old at this time) walking that far, so she would drive and meet us there.
My brother (approximately 5-6 years old at this time), my stepdad, and I set out on our journey. Our spirits were high for the first two miles, and we sang songs as we traipsed along the coastline. Eventually, we reached the edge of the inhabited beach area, and the road which ran parallel to the beach disappeared from our sight. We walked another mile and found ourselves in the midst of what appeared to be an unlicensed nude beach. The nudists gave us brief pause but provided verbal fodder for the next mile or so. My 11 year old eyes had never seen such freedom, and I marveled at the variety of shape and form the human body could take.
The sun climbed across the sky as we continued unerringly toward our goal. The sound of the gulls scampering across the sands filled our ears as our voices eventually tired and we fell silent. Our thoughts occupied us completely until we came to an abrupt stop. No, no, no, this couldn’t be happening. How had our eyes deceived us so completely? What was this witchcraft, this evil voodoo magic? Where were we? What happened to the road?
The lighthouse was on a peninsula, and we were on the wrong side.
My stepdad, never one to be defeated by a simple setback, decided that we should traverse the dunes to the west instead of returning north along the beach. The road had been to our west when we had first set out, so my stepdad figured that it was just beyond the dunes. We began climbing through the dunes. We proceeded in this manner for 30 minutes or so before we stopped for a break. My stepdad decided to scout out ahead to see if he could find the road. He came back quickly with a grim face and sober news.
High tide was coming in, and this whole area was going to be under water within the hour.
Tired and defeated, we booked it out of the low lands and walked 5 miles back to the main beach where we found my mother and several members of the beach patrol frantically searching for us.
We never did make it to that lighthouse.