Man, Maine is nice. We stayed at B's family's place, a little house that overlooks the beach on the island. Her extended family was sprinkled liberally throughout the island, and they were all up for the fourth. Quite amazing, seeing a family like that, when I grew up with just my parents, basically. My mom's side was pretty much all in Taiwan, while my dad's side of the family was kind of estranged, him having married a non-jew and all. They were also far, far away; we lived in Ohio or Minnesota while they lived in Chicago or Florida. We did visit a couple of times, I think. But anyway, this was a full-fledged clan of grandparents, and cousins-twice-removed, just this massive tree. I was impressed.
Walking along the rocky Maine shore was a lot of fun; most of the rocks were stable, and I could make my way reasonably well with camera in hand and sandals on feet, but there were a couple tricky bits that were really fun (and scratched me up a tiny bit). We hiked in the inner part of the island, on these nice easy short trails, and got bitten up something fierce by bugs. This is when I learned the lesson, "ignore the bites and they will go away." The only real problem was then I had to ask if we could walk back along the road, since walking in underbrush tickles the bites and makes them newly irritated.
And the swimming. We started out in the river outlet, though since it was a bit low of a tide there wasn't much swimming to be had there. So then we got out and walked across the beach to the ocean proper. There, B and I went in, slowly... B was really enjoying it as I told her "this is so cold, it physically hurts my legs to be standing here." It did, too. It was just that cold. So I played around with thigh-deep water for a while, went a little further in to waist deep, and then walked out. By this time, B was swimming out in the deep areas, looking like a fish back in water for the first time in a year.
So I played around at the edge of the water for a bit, and got sandy. I also discovered the little tiny ... organisms ... that live right under the sand, at the edge of the water. I think she told me what they were, but I forget. Sandpiper food, anyway. And I had to stand up and stop thinking about them for a bit, 'cause I was slightly creeped out. (A few minutes later I was all right with it, it just took some getting used to.)
So anyway, I'm standing there, trying to brush sand off (I had some all over by then, I'd been lying down in the sand), and I notice that B is looking. So I decide to go for it. I run into the water, get hit by a wave as I'm about thigh deep in water, and it splashes up onto the rest of me. That, for me, was the decision point. I dove in chest-first, and started a breast stroke with my head above water. I dipped down into the trough of a wave, and as I came over the top I saw she was still watching.
Then I realized just how completely and utterly cold I was, and how it felt like someone had kicked me somewhere very sensitive. I stood up, waved, turned around, and headed for shore as fast as my feet could take me. From behind me, I hear: "That was brave... stupid, but brave!" in her laughing voice. It was great. :)
That was Friday. I did basically the same thing on Saturday at a slightly different beach (minus the heebie jeebies at the sand things. I learned not to look too closely ;)
Saturday I also learned how to eat clams and lobster at the big family get-together. Finally I know, there is a trick to it. :)