This past week, I went to the ocean more than I did in August through June. In fact, I only visited the beach once. Pitiful, I know. A combination of health issues in the fall and a crazy, crazy work schedule all year round had me staying in on weekends, instead of taking advantage of the beautiful, eternal summer that is GTMO.
One way to find much-needed balance in life is to get off my butt and get out of the house. What better way to relax than to smell the salt air, feel the ocean breeze, listen to the waves, and soak up the sun? Everyone has his or her personal preference to the many beaches here. I've posted pictures from Chapman, Windmill, and Cable beaches, and each spot has its advantages and disadvantages. When it is just myself and my youngest, I don't like the isolation of Chapman beach (even though it is really gorgeous), and Cable has a great wading pool (and a smaller beach to the side I love called Pebble Beach), but not much in the way of sea glass and it's in the middle of a much-needed cabana renovation, so that's a no-go. Some people love Ferry Landing, but I can't deal with not being able to see my feet, and the water tends to be cloudier there than other spots. It does have nice sand and I've found some great sea glass there, but it is not my favorite swimming spot.
Instead, I love Girl Scout beach. It is a total pain in so many ways. For starters, there are the stairs. If you have lived here, you know what I'm talking 'bout---they are a bear. Going down isn't so bad, but after a couple of hours of swimming or SCUBA diving, they make you re-think how in shape you really are. Every time I think, "Dang, I thought I was in good shape" (and then wheeze like the 45 year-old asthmatic that I am). But it is so worth it, because it has everything that we like in a beach.
Some recent treasures: a plastic bottle top that says, "Séjourné Depuis 1915." I know enough to know that's French and I've got mad Google skills, so I found out that it's a soda top from Haiti. We unfortunately get lots of garbage from Haiti. It's not the first time I've found things written in French on the beach, and I'm sure it won't be the last. Sadly, our neighbor Haiti seems to be a country that puts lots of garbage in the ocean.
|Image from (where else?) their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sejournehaiti|
|Image found at www.replacements.com|
The only downside to Girl Scout (other than the stairs that seem to double in size on the way back up) is the sand isn't tiny, dusty white sand like in Florida or the Mayan Riviera.
Therefore, you get lots of tiny rocks (or XL sand, depending on how you look at it) in your nose, ears, and mouth, depending on how graceful (or not, in my case) you are while rolling around in the tide.
This also means that kids (and adults) end up with lots of pieces XL sand in their swim suits.
I don't know how to delicately put this, but here's the thing: you end up with lots of XL sand all on your lady and manly bits.
It's as painful as it sounds.
The first trip to the beach, Son 2 gets into the shower and we hear the spilling of what seemed like 10 lbs of rocks (okay, XL sand) all over the bathroom floor. We were sweeping it up for weeks. Because of water restrictions, no beaches have water right now, but Girl Scout never had cabanas or showers, so that's a mute point, anyway. You haven't lived until you have rocks stuck in the creases and crevices of your swimsuit and your body (not a pleasant thought, I know), and then have them tumble everywhere when you take off your suit.
My poor shower trap, washing machine, and dryer all get lots of abuse after a trip to the beach.
The rock (XL sand) issues aside, the beaches here are worth the extra effort. So many conveniences of life we took for granted in the US, but the beauty of living here is the beauty of this place. Florida may have beautiful sand (XXS rocks) and crystal clear water, but show me a beach that has giant iguanas begging for food, strange artifacts that are decades old, or literally thousands of pieces of sea glass that glitter like jewels, all free for the taking (except that iguana---you definitely don't want to feed or touch him!).