Things Unseen

We are still in South Carolina for a couple more weeks. The other day I came to the realize that there are different things to be weary of here than in Connecticut. In Connecticut I am used to being mindful of bears, rottweilers off their leash, an occasional rattlesnake  and brain dead drivers. South Carolina has a different list. And, the list does not begin and end with crocodiles.

A couple evenings ago we went to a small music event in our community. I took a couple chairs from the patio for the outdoor event. Afterwards, while carrying them back to the patio in the dark — there are copperheads around here! I replaced the chairs in the morning.

Yesterday we went to the beach on Hilton Head. The water is delightfully warm and the day, sunny. We go to Bert’s Beach, a bit of a hike to the beach but plenty of parking. Swimming around like a kid, I suddenly noticed that I was being attacked by fish. The fish were small and harmless but the first encounter was startling. But, there are sharks around here. A little while later the lifeguard ran up and down the beach blowing a whistle; all the swimmers left the water. There was a pod of dolphins traveling the length of the beach, (probably eating those little fish that were trying to eat me). There had been a shark reported in the middle of the pod of dolphins hence the alarm. The lifeguard said there is a half hour no swim time after a shark sighting, I wonder if that is long enough and if the great white sharks have figured that out, remember “Jaws”? I wonder how many hungry sharks sneak close to the beach without being seen. I will not be taking any midnight swims around here.

A midnight swim reminds of the time, years ago, when I was in the Air Force on temporary duty at Elgin AFB near Panama City, Florida. I had gone there to observe an experiment that a buddy, Dale, was doing. (This was known as a “Boondoggle” in the service). I arrived in the late evening and checked into the BOQ (Bachelor Officer Quarters). The BOQ was near the beach. Not wanting to let this opportunity pass, I decided to take a swim. The beach was closed until the following week but there was nobody around to stop me. It was delightful, swimming toward Cuba through undulating waves in the warm clear water in the moonlight. Then I thought, Sharks. I swam to shore. The next day Dale told me about all the huge sharks his wife had seen from the pier that was close to the base.

I cannot forget the alligators here in South Carolina. We have been warned to carry a flashlight at night when walking dog. The alligators are, evidently, nocturnal and travel from pond to pond at night. I was also warned that golfers need to be aware and not reach for that ball that is in the water and close to shore. My golf game is bad enough without having to play one armed.

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