Our fifth day of vacation was mostly spent back at the beach near the boardwalk at Ocean City, Maryland. The day was cloudy but we rented an umbrella and some chairs, and I kept calling our beach helper "Garçon." We're fancy people, after all. Garçon ended up setting up our umbrella right in front of a woman sitting on a blanket. And I mean, right in front of her. We were so close to her that we could alternatingly feel her cold stare and hot hate emanating from the back of our heads.
The sand at Ocean City is denser than what you'd find at Gulf Shores, Pensacola or Destin. The sand always feels wet no matter where you are on the beach, which seemed a little weird at first, but was great for making sand castles, giant forts and mermaid tails. I started to make a mermaid tail for Peter - merman tail? - but ended up making extra long legs. Then we told Rosie to tickle Peter's feet, and she tried to tickle his sand feet. Despite Peter laughing hilariously, she realized that those weren't his real feet, and started destroying the newly built sand legs until she found his real feet.
Another difference between the beach at Ocean City versus the beaches in Alabama and Florida is that Ocean City has life guards on duty. I really liked that. Not only was it safer, but every so often they'd run across the beach (presumably to another life guard station) Baywatch style!
Another beach-goer found a horseshoe crab. The thing was huge. It was my first time seeing a horseshoe crab, and I actually didn't know what it was at first. But my son Peter has been watching YouTube videos by a guy named Coyote Peterson, and Peter knew exactly what it was. He explained to all of the beach-goers what it was, and then all of us adults pretended like we knew: "Oh yeah, a horseshoe crab!" Horseshoe crabs were around prior to dinosaurs, have ten eyes, and the Delaware area is where their largest spawning ground is located. Peter had wanted to take a crab home, but this particular horseshoe crab had died, so that was out of the question. We also probably couldn't have taken it on the plane, unless it had one of those "Emotional Support" dog vests. (A dog with an emotional support dog vest sat by us on our flight to DC - it was a cutie.)
The ocean water was very cold, so we ended up just playing in the shallow area near the shore. This ended up being a good thing. The cloudy weather eventually turned to rain, but before the rain came, the waves picked up. When the waves started picking up, rip tides started occurring. I had warned the kids about rip tides in advance, and taught them what to do in case they felt like they were getting sucked out to sea. Someone actually did get caught up in a rip tide while we were there, the life guards actually saved him, and then they put up double red flags meaning that nobody could go into the ocean.
So we had no choice but to go back to the boardwalk, where we got ice cream from Dumser's Dairyland. Peter wanted sprinkles, and Annie wanted a dip cone - and sprinkles. I didn't think that was possible, but at Dumser's, anything is possible. They didn't have pistachio ice cream, so Betty got a shake - and then made the mistake of sharing it with me. After we demolished our ice cream, we hit up the Sportland arcade again and beat the Pirate's Hook game into submission. It was raining tickets!
Back at Aunt Charlotte's beach house, Charlotte's good friend Jimmy took the kids out to the deck to pull up a crab trap. Checking the crab trap was a favorite activity of the kids - again, mostly because Peter wanted to take one home as a pet. The crabs were Blue Crabs, and it's legal to catch and eat crabs from your own trap up there as long as they're over a certain size. You can tell the difference between the male and female crabs by the color of their claws, and we could tell that the female crabs were fussing at the male crabs: "I told you we shouldn't have come into this trap, but nooo, you didn't listen, you said it would be fine, and now look at us!" I felt for the male crabs.
Horseshoe crabs, ice cream dip cones with sprinkles, game tickets galore, and fit female lifeguards in red spandex running up and down the beach... it had been a fun day in Maryland. We had one more half day in Maryland to go... Stay tuned for more notes from our trip!