You guys keep the sharks away, right?

After two consecutive days in the water and sun, my family and I decided to not spend the entire day at the beach and opted to go for an hour or two in the morning.

Well, that was before some unexpected company showed up.

We arrived at Flagler Beach at around 10 am or so and enjoyed over an hour of your general Atlantic Ocean horseplay – I even managed to body surf a bit with the use of a borrowed too-small for me boogie board.

I then told my husband that we should probably think about packing it up soon, and sat down to read my book. I knew it would take him and the girls a full 15 or 20 minutes to tear themselves away from the ocean. I was awakened from my reading induced coma a few minutes later by the sound of my oldest daughter calling out to me. Upon looking up, I saw an empty ocean, with throngs of people standing on the shore and pointing their fingers. It was then I saw them.

DOLPHINS!

Not just one, but a pack of four! I grabbed my camera, and ran down the beach. I shot some decent footage of my family in the foreground and the dolphins in the background. After I shot enough tape to satisfy the National Geographic, I walked the camera back up to our blankets, grabbed a boogie board and headed for the ocean. I did not want this opportunity to pass by with me holding a camera. I wanted to get OUT there!

I was afraid that the dolphins would leave before I had a chance to get into the water. Plus I was dragging two boogie boards with me. I waded out into the ocean and was in the middle of telling my oldest to grab a boogie board when a huge wave came and knocked the boards out of my hands. Shit. I then had to turn around and chase the boards that were floating back to shore. What a waste of my time! Why wasn’t anyone in my family helping me? Oh that’s right! They are watching dolphins! Let mommy chase down the boogie boards she thoughtfully brought for them!

It was no easy task I can tell you that. As soon as I’d get close to the board, a wave would come in and push it further towards the shore. Grrr! Once both boards were in my clutches, I waded back out into the ocean. I have to admit I purposefully steered clear of my family. I was a bit miffed that they didn’t bother to help me, so I hogged both boogie boards until one of them swam over to me to get it.

This man from Brooklyn and I were the farthest ones out when suddenly a dolphin popped up about 10 feet away from me! It was so thrilling! My youngest swam out to me after that on her board and we floated around watching their fins popping up out of the water here and there, closer and then farther away. It was hard to see them at times because the waves would bob you up and down and you could only see them when the waves had you up high. At one point we bobbed up and there was a dolphin fin around 7 feet away from us!

It actually scared my 9 year old who can only equate fins with sharks. I told her it was fine, and that dolphins help keep sharks away from us – I don’t know if that’s an old wives tale or what, but she felt considerably better after that, so who cares.

And then they just swam away. It was great though. We had roughly 35 minutes with them and it was free of charge. No Marineland or Sea World fee to pay – just dolphins in the wild and a bunch of awestruck humans.

The one bad thing? The hour we meant to spend at the beach turned into almost 3 hours. My face and shoulders are pretty burned, and to make matters worse I had my big black sunglasses on the whole time, so I now resemble a sunburned raccoon. Oh, and my nose looks like a plum.

But it’s sooooo worth it. My kids and I will remember that experience forever.

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