last week i went on vacation with my family to a little island a few hours from here called kiawah. it's close to charleston, sc. chris couldn't go cuz he was busy being a good employee, but i had a blast with my family. my 3 siblings were there along with all three of brooke's cousins on my side of the family. with all of our schedules being super busy and us living in different states, it's rare that we get to all hang out for more than just a few hours at christmas some years. my parents rented a huge, gorgeous house for the week, including a nice in-ground pool out back & a yard that dropped into a lagoon.
i felt like we were spending a week inside the lifestyles of the rich & the famous, only we were driving a 12 passenger van rather than a rolls royce.
one of the most exciting parts of the trip was all the alligators that live on the island. and there aren't any fences, just open spaces with marshes, swamps, lagoons and ponds where the gators are free to roam about as they wish. there aren't any restaurants or shops on the island, and you can't get in without overnight accommodations, so if you're there, it's probably mainly to go to the beach or lay around in your big ritzy house. the main mode of transportation is bike, so we rode our bikes everywhere, including into the ocean on the beach.
on our first morning i stopped to take this picture and moments after that, i resumed my little ride along the path that went right between 2 lagoons. as i was passing through, i saw a line of bubbles approaching the shore only a few feet away from me. brooke was ahead & my mom was behind me when suddenly there was a huge growling roar coming from the water right where i'd just seen the bubbles. the roar came three times as we zoomed along the path & raced for home & since there was no place for machinery or other large things that could have made the noise, we could only conclude that it was a gator growing at us for getting too close to its space. it was pretty intense.
we saw several swimming through waterways and under bridges we were standing on & i was able to get a couple decent pictures. thankfully we didn't have any bad encounters with the gators, even riding through alligator alley beside our house every day.
we also had some pretty fun encounters with crabs. there were lots of different types of crabs to watch & play with, the biggest being a horseshoe crab. my brother was the crab harasser & he kept chasing & catching lives ones so we could get good looks at them. the kids spent about an hour with one horseshoe crab giving it sand massages, singing it songs & rolling it over to watch how it's stomach muscles flapped around when it moved.
the beach was huge and clean and mostly empty. there were tons of things to see and collect and examine. the waves weren't too rough and no one got too hurt. all in all, it was about a perfect vacation.
it was a little bit sad to come home and get back to real life after a wonderful week soaking up sun, laughing with kids, riding bikes down interestingly murky paths, and eating wonderful food. but at least i can look back at my pictures and remember it all with a smile.