by L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.Hilton Head Island, SC
The velvet fog which obscured the early morning view of the Sound signalled we were in for some warm air. By ten o’clock the soft grey mist had burned off, revealing a cerulean sky and a yellow orb. The waters glittered.
The Tide Chart forecast low tide at 12:12 p.m. and we had until 06:10 p.m. before it rolled back in. In other words the entire afternoon was open for bicycling on the beach! The winds were from the East at 8km/hr, a mere breeze.
Characteristically I struggled with arthritic joints when I got out of bed, but after a sustaining breakfast, hot coffee and a handful of pills the discomfort subsided. By 11:00 o’clock we were ready to hit the beach. We bicycled on the paths to nearby Tower Beach to connect to the beach along the boardwalk over the sand dunes and sea grasses.
Our initial stratagem was to go north against the modest headwind as far as Coligny Park (about six miles from our starting point) then double back as is our custom. Once at Coligny Park however we were so invigorated by the tonic sea air, the rolling surf and the dazzling sunshine that we pressed on to Marker 97 at Singleton Beach (another four miles).
This meant we translated our blithe outing from a 10-mile hike to a 20-mile marathon. For whatever reason we were entirely undeterred in our prolonged venture. A paroxysm of gusto had insinuated our project. The pauses along the way were brief, once at Sonesta Beach for a “pit stop”, the other at Marker 97 just to relax before heading back into the blinding sunshine which radiated upon the beach pools and the Ocean.
It was about four hours before we returned home after having started at 11:15 a.m. Small wonder the days dissolve when such blocks of time are consumed so pleasurably!
Once home I capped my athletic endeavour by lounging by the pool for about an hour (which meant collapsing into a chaise longue and blissfully dozing in the declining afternoon sunshine). My tranquillity was interrupted only occasionally by the sound of a falling cone from one of the huge surrounding Sea Pines. It was only when the sun fell behind the Palmetto ferns that I awoke from my dreamy slumber and tottered back to the condominium.
When cycling homeward – inspired no doubt by our accelerating appetite – we had contrived to go to Annie O’s Southern Eats for dinner. It is a casual restaurant which promises good food. We were not disappointed. We shared an appetizer, then each had hearty She-Crab soup and the evening’s seafood special. Naturally we succumbed to dessert which as the menu heralded was topped with whipped cream and crystallized brown sugar.