Saturday, July 13, 2013

Hermit Island

This is the second year we've gone to Hermit Island for camping. Getting sites is like getting concert tickets. You start calling on the designated day, get a busy tone, and keep dialing until someone answers. It may seem like a lot of work for primitive camping sites, but it is worth it. The sites are nice, the campground is quiet and well maintained, and the beaches are exquisite. The prices are also reasonable.
The first night was rough. The mosquitoes were unbearable. Venturing between the safety of the screen house and the tent cost a pint of blood each way.
Fortunately, things got much better. The first day we spent most of the time biking and hanging out on the beach. In the morning, Bug and I took our bikes out to explore after breakfast. She enjoyed the freedom afforded by the dirt roads and lack of cars. We stopped at the marina for a little while and explored the shore. Bug liked throwing rocks and looking at the hermit crabs. After lunch, we went to the main beach and hung out. Bug spent a lot of time digging in the sand and making castles.
The second day was kayaking. PB and I took out the "real" kayaks for some ocean paddling. We left the barge, which I had taken along despite H's protests, at the beach so H, Bug, KB, and the rest of the group could play.
I was using H's Capella 161 and my scoopy Lendal paddles. It was a different feel from the Q-boat and the mighty stick. The sky was clear blue, the temperature was on the warm side, and the wind was a no show. It took a little while for me to adjust to everything. It wasn't until we stopped for a snack and some water that I started feeling right. That was about the time PB started feeling less that ideal. The heat and lack of wind was not our friend. The serenity of the area and the beauty of the scenery mitigated the heat.
On our way into the beach, we ran into Bug and H paddling the barge. Bug was having a grand time and wanted to keep paddling. We made a quick decision to paddle the kayaks back to the camp sites instead of putting them back on the cars. H and I switched kayaks. It was only fair that she got a chance to paddle her own kayak. Beside, I like hanging out with Bug and some time in a kayak with her is an opportunity I cannot let pass.
The paddle back to the camp sites was short, but fun. Bug wanted to paddle "super fast", so I did my best to accommodate. The barge is heavy, short, and wide. It is not designed for speed, but it can be surprisingly spry when pushed. The scoopy Lendal paddles really helped out; I'm not sure the mighty stick could get the barge to go "sorta fast" never mind "super fast". She was happy to check out the other boats on the water. When we passed the marina, Bug asked me if I remembered the crabs. She had a big smile on her face as she recounted seeing them the day before.
When we got back to the sites, Bug wasn't quite ready to get out of kayak. The cove where the sites were located is protected and had plenty of water, so we decided to explore a little more. We paddled down to the end of the cove and checked out the store. Bug checked out the cars and other tents and asked all sort of questions. She sang "row, row, row your boat." It was one of the funnest times I've had on the water without rocks. On the way back up the cove, she waved at people.
We must have been in the kayak for more than an hour and she loved it. I was thrilled to spend the time with her doing something we both enjoy.