I must start at the beginning to keep from looking completely idiotic. So here it goes….
Our last day at Ocean House was a wildlife day. We saw this sweet raccoon climbing up the porch first thing in the morning and he hung out (probably wanting us to feed him) for about an hour, looking down at us from the balcony, peeking in the windows and just generally being cute.
About 10 am we decided to take a walk down to the beach. We watched as a small herd of deer (4 of them) crossed the street in front of us and then headed to someone's back porch. They stood there as though they were waiting for someone… and low and behold, this sweet lady came out and started feeding them corn and apples.
She saw us watching and called us over. She said that many of the deer in this little herd were born in her backyard! She said that they are still wild, but she feeds them breakfast and they will eat right from her hands. She offered to help Logan feed the deer. He was thrilled!
As Logan was feeding the deer, she and her husband told us about this wonderful wildlife spot on the beach where you can see tide pools, sand dollars, etc. She said there are hundreds of sand dollars and told us it was a ways down the beach… So we should drive as far as we can. And then get out and walk.
I thought, since we were having a wildlife day anyhow, that that would be a wonderful end to our vacation. Don had his doubts. I talked him into it… after all, locals said we could and I knew it was legal…
We got about a mile and a half down the beach away from the road. The sand started to get shifty. Don said he didn’t feel safe. I said we should turn around. He went slightly down the beach (closer to the surf) to do a loop… and bam…. we stopped moving. We stopped doing anything.
We were completely and utterly stuck.
A mile and a half from the road.
8 ft from the water.
With the tide coming in.
Don and I got driftwood to put under the tires. It was no use. The car just kept digging deeper and deeper. We sent Alex to run back to the road. About 5 minutes later I left to go try to find a jeep we had seen about half way between us and the road. I ran 1/2 mile up the beach, and then found the tire tracks and realized the jeep guy had left. I came back and the baby was crying so I stopped to nurse. As I was nursing, a wave came up and nearly touched our tire.
We evacuated the kids and all of our valuables (which was a lot… we were all packed to go home!) to the top of the beach and then frantically tried to dig the car out. I called our insurance roadside assistance. They were located in Georgia. They had no idea what to do and I finally ended up hanging up on them and calling 911 when another wave got even CLOSER to our tire. 911 called a towing company and they said it would be 15 minutes. We waited with our hearts pounding until they showed up.
This picture just doesn’t do it justice. This entire picture was less than 8 ft (like those crashing waves at the very top right were less than 8 ft from our car). It seems SO much longer… esp considering the waves are not moving closer and closer to us and I am not packed full of panic while looking at it.
The surf line was where the waves hit nearly every time… sometimes they were much much closer. Like just after I took this picture and we were moving backwards again (getting winched out by the tow truck) the wave came and filled the spot where my feet had been.
It took hours for my heart to stop pounding. We were never in any danger of being hurt or anything… and thankfully we have almost paid off our van, but to nearly watch your van get taken by the ocean… well it is an incredibly humbling experience!
I spent the next two hours being very thankful for pavement. I even posted on Facebook “Dear Pavement, how I love thee….” which made many of my friends laugh. But I was truly feeling the pavement love at that moment.
Nothing ends a good vacation like panic.