Riding the Waves


Wednesday was the last day of our “beach vacation” before heading back toward Philadelphia for end of the school year fun and graduation activities.

Everyone was thrilled that the sun returned for our last day at the beach. After two cool, grey days, the sun, blue skies, and slightly warmer temperatures had returned.


*Photo credit: Grace McCleery*

Our crew was split into two crews: Toby and Tyler were on a charter fishing adventure while Grace, Molly, Rusty and Ozzie were home with me. After a morning filled with necessary last day of vacation chores like laundry and packing, we packed our beach bag and sand toys for an afternoon at the beach.

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We arrived to discover we had the beach to ourselves. The sun may have returned but I guess other vacationers felt that a high temperature of 62 degrees was still too cool for a day at the beach. The only other people we saw all day were a few older women walking the shoreline looking for sea glass.

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It was by far the most relaxing day of the trip. I was able to lay with my face angled up toward the sun, and soak in some much-needed vitamin D.


*Photo credit: Grace McCleery*

The kids also enjoyed a day with nothing to do and spent their time looking for shells and sea glass, flying kites, sunbathing, reading books, and making sand castles.

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*Photo credit: Grace McCleery*

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They even braved the cold North Atlantic water, made all the cooler by two days of storms and rain, and played in the ocean.

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The waves were unbelievable and created hours of fun as the kids dove, splashed and jumped through the crashing waves.

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Those same waves that were bringing such joy to our group on the beach were making life miserable for our family members out on the ocean.

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Toby and Tyler’s charter fishing boat left the dock at midnight with Toby, Tyler, Mark (Toby’s cousin) and 20 other people aboard. Within minutes Toby and Mark knew they were in for the ride of their lives.


The first 6 hours on board were spent sleeping while the boat made its way 40 miles offshore. There was a bunkroom available so that everyone could get a few hours of sleep before the fishing began. Tyler fell asleep right away, making himself at home and comfortable…so comfortable that he ended up rolling from his bunk to the man’s bunk beside him and laying sideways across the stranger. The stranger quickly moved to a new bunk far away from our little “roller and flipper.”

Toby did not sleep so well. The waves that were so much fun for us at the beach were making life rough for those on board. Those 10-15 foot waves were tossing their boat like a cork, causing those trying to sleep on the bunks to become airborne, lifting off their beds with the sudden drops between waves.

The result was two very seasick family members…and neither one of them was Tyler. He was immune to the tossing and turning. Probably because the way he moves through his day is so reminiscent of a storm at sea. His little body is accustomed to sharp turns, sudden drops and unending movement.



While Toby and Mark were losing their last meal, Tyler was stuffing his face with snacks and treats.


At 5:30 am the boat dropped anchor at the first of 4 fishing spots. Having not slept at all, Mark and Toby began fishing. Tyler slept in until 8:30 am.


It was a rough trip for Toby. The fishing wasn’t great for him and he felt horrible the whole time, but Tyler LOVED it. Tyler loves fishing anyway but the experience of being out on the ocean in a big boat, experiencing all that goes with a charter fishing experience, was heaven.


He loved the fishing but also loved watching the other men reel in huge cod, ordering food from the boat’s café’, and walking around the upper deck. It made the entire experience an adventure for my young fisherman.

While at sea they also had the unique experiences of boating through a shoal of red squid in the middle of the daytime…an experience usually only reserved for nighttime.

They also passed by a pod of migrating humpback whales…What a thrill!!

Tyler was the only kid aboard and everyone was very kind to him. He loved visiting with the cook who made him a hamburger. Another woman gave him some candy, and a gentleman that had a nice bit of luck fishing invited Tyler to real in one of his big catches.


In the end Toby had five catches and Tyler caught one eel.


I am sad Toby and Mark’s experiences weren’t better, but am happy Tyler had such a positive experience and that he got to do it with his Daddy.


That evening Mark came back to the rental house with Toby.

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Mark’s wife, Faith, and his two daughters also drove up and joined us for a pizza party. It was sweet of them to make the 1 ½ hour drive up to spend the evening with us. It was so much fun. The kids loved hanging out together and we had a great time visiting and catching up. Our families get along so well and always have a great time when we get together. It was a perfect way to end our time at the Jersey Shore.

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Tomorrow we head inland for 3 days of graduation fun in Downingtown, PA!

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