On The Beach by the Atlantic

A wonderful feature of the beaches of Volusia and Flagler are the wide
beaches with lots of white sand that stays fairly packed down with the ability to drive a vehicle on the beach. This is in contrast to most of the coast where the beaches are narrow.

Most likely anyone over the age of 60 will remember trips to the beach when someone decided to wash their car in the ocean.  Don't laugh, it happened lots.

 They would drive close to the water  or even in the water a little ways and get out the bucket and soap and begin washing the car.  Before long, they were in deeper water.  Not the hot kind.  Just salty water which would eventually turn their beautiful car into a pile of rust. Tow Truck Time!

We oldtimers have seen people who have not wanted to walk any distance to the water and would park at low tide close to the water, not realizing that the water at high tide is usually 15 or so feet up on the beach.  Where is the Tow Truck  when you need one?

Suntans!  Everyone wants one. Few are willing to acquire them in the proper manner.  They figure if a little sunshine gets a little tan on the body, then staying out all day in the sun will give one a golden glow.  WRONG!!!!  The glow will not be at all golden-  it will be RED.  Not pink or tinted red but really red.  Painfully red.  

Sunscreen does help used correctly. Water eventually removes it. Reapplying is good.  Most people forget to reapply until it is too late.  After a trip to the beach most will go jump under a hot stream of water to wash all the sand and salt off their body.  If the red has not appeared enough to be painful, after the hot shower, a body looks like a boiled lobster.

The sun loves it the 2nd day.  Even through clothes you will feel the sun 10 times at least hotter than before the burn.  
Some people use Aloe Vera to take the effects out. Others will use vinegar or an assortment of body creams to reintroduce moisture into the skin.

Next the body tries to remove the damaged skin. You can even actually peel your own skin off.  You are left with blotchy skin for several days.  

To avoid a problem of this magnitude, beginning a week or so before you expect  to be in the sun a lot, begin by staying in the sun just until you begin to feel the heat.  Usually about 15 minutes to begin with.  Build up the time gradually.  You will acquire a gentle tan this way.  But  nothing beats using a good sunscreen when you are in the sun as well.  Allowing about 15min for the skin to absorb the sunscreen is a help.

It has been reported that a bad burn takes 50 yrs of no sunlight- not even sitting in a window with the sun shining in to remove the damage.  

On the other side of the coin is the fun of making sand castles.  

  The farther away from the low tide you begin to build the longer your castle will stay up.  You will need to get a bucket of water to wet the sand enough so you could grab a handful and drip drops of sand, piling it high in the air, one drop on another.  You would dig a moat around the castle for incoming water to be caught and hopefully ward off the water splashing against the walls of the castle. The sand removed can  be used to make a
wall outside the moat as well. They fall into the water in a pretty pattern many times.  Sometimes the whole side of the castle will be just a sheer wall when the outer part collapses. Sometimes there is a bit of a jut out of the castle wall when the water erodes the base of the castle.  By the time the tide has come all the way in, the ocean has reclaimed its own. Nothing remains of the beautiful castle you so patiently and lovingly built.  Don't forget the camera to preserve it.

Oh! There is another nemesis of castles.  PEOPLE!
Those are the ones who derive great joy in knocking the castle down with either their own body, throwing a projectile at it or running it over with the tires of a vehicle.


Walking on the beach is a great bit of exercise as well as a treasure hunt.  The ocean churns up and spits out many interesting objects with the high tide.  Finds can be as small as a tiny seashell to treasure up to large pieces of wood, boat parts, etc.  People are even known to have found diamond rings and other valuables.  

Take a long a bag or kids bucket to hold all your smaller treasures- most of which after viewing later will find their way into the garbage but the fun is in the collecting.  

Things may be found in the sloughs -little pondy areas along the waters edge.  Not only good things can be found in the water but not so nice creatures.  Jellyfish will leave a whelp if you are unlucky enough to brush against one. Crabs are another animal to look out for.  Man O' Wars are not so common nor are sharks.  

Watching the life guard stand where you are swimming will alert you to possible dangers.  Always heed what they tell you.  They are much more familiar with the signs than you are.  Safety in numbers is a good slogan to remember when in the ocean.  Do not think you are able to take care of every emergency without help.

The undertoe on the outgoing tide can cause you to find yourself underwater being dragged out to sea.  If this occurs try to turn yourself parallel to the shoreline and hopefully you will swim out of danger.  If not, the ever vigilant lifeguard will run out with his equipment and rescue you.

Making friends is easy at the beach.  Open mouth and start talking to the folks next to you.  Take a ball along and start tossing it, you will attract a group of likeminded folks and make a game of it. A vollyball net being set up is bound to bring a group of those who can tell you how you should put it up.  Some will even help you. Frisbies make for a fun game also. Watch out the dog doesn't steal it away from you.

Enjoy our beaches.  They offer great opportunities for learning science, exercising, resting, and just plain having fun.  

© 2010 Fran Smith

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