My Kiawah motto (and rolling their eyes my kids can attest to this) is:  "A day without gators is like a day without sunshine." 

Well, my friends, on our first full day at the beach, the sun is apparently playing a cruel game of hide-and-seek right now–an, at present, FOUR HOUR game of H&S.  The ominous clouds that seemed to come to an abrupt halt directly over our beach chair compound, followed through with their threat 15 minutes after we settled down for some serious surf-side chillaxin’ (chill + relaxing…now THAT’S a word worth remembering…!).  Although this beach is not a congested area (house and condo rentals as opposed to a series of high- and low-rise (h)(m)otels), there was a mass exodus from the beach when the droplets quickened their pace from an occasional drizzle to steady rain….which is kind of funny when you think about it–it wasn’t the thunder and lightening in the distance that got people moving, it was them getting WET…WHICH IS WHAT THEY CAME TO THE BEACH TO DO IN THE FIRST PLACE, for Heaven’s sake, but I digress.  I’m talking alligators, not weather.  Let’s get to it :).

Our Kiawah mornings are fairly routine:  Tad gets up early and heads out for coffee and to read the local paper, I stay in bed as long as I can stand it, and the kids sleep even later.  When I get up, it’s coffee until the once-full pot is drained, and uninterrupted reading ( b.l.i.s.s.).  Later, after breakfast, our days are full of beach time and bike rides, and afternoons vary between trips to Charleston, usually visiting with my college roommate, shopping, more beach and bike rides, more reading, and  more chillin’.  Not exciting, but it IS true r.e.l.a.x.a.t.i.o.n….and our cell phones don’t ring and Tad can decompress, and it’s good for everybody. 

This morning began as they usually do–Tad, out…me, coffee in hand, book in lap on our second-floor deck.  Kiawah is ripe with vegetation, and although the condo we rent overlooks the 17th hole of the Turtle Point golf course, wildlife abounds.  Some wilder than others.

I heard a noise, so I stood to see if there were deer beneath our deck; instead, it was a lady in her nightgown (it was around 7:30 a.m.) and she looked up to see me looking at her.  She quietly said, "Alligator…a BIG one…get your camera!" and I (still in MY pajamas–thank God I don’t sleep nude!)(then again, if I did, I doubt I’d be sitting on the deck in my "pjs") grabbed the nearest flip-flops, my camera, and flew down the stairs to meet her. 

Becky, as I soon found out, has been coming to Kiawah since 1979, and she could be my BFF–she loves Kiawah as much as I do, and she lurves allies as much as I do :).  She said, "This one is the GRANDDADDY…" and we walked through the trees to see this:


Well, of course that wasn’t close enough, so we inched closer.  I hope you’re super-sizing these pictures 1000% to get an idea of how big he is!


STILL not close enough…if Becky’s game, I’m game!   Oh, and another reason Becky could SO be my BFF–when I said, "If he eats me, you take pictures…and if he eats you, I’ll take pictures!" she totally agreed.  Totally!


"They" tell you not to get too close to these prehistoric beasts…alligators can travel up to 35 m.p.h. and they’ve been known to climb fences.  There’s no good point of reference for readers, but this sucker measured 10′ easily from snout-tip to tail. 

Uh, oh…he begins turning TOWARDS US!!  YIKES!


I’m not one to tell "fish tales", I’m pretty lousy at estimating…but I think he was about 30-40 feet from us.  I’ve seen hundreds of alligators at Kiawah over the past 13 years, but this fella was the biggest one EVAH!   It’s the first time I remember seeing teeth, anyway.

And then…in the face of certain peril to self (and so I could share it with my family and my bluddies), I had the presence of mind to
f i l m
him as he headed back to the pond from whence he came. Which is kind of creepy to consider…they’re always there, whether or not you see them… they’re.always.there.

Enjoy…I have over and over.

Don’t forget my
little contest.  I’ve decided prizes and they’re gonna be symbolic and cheap but good.  But you’ve gotta comment to win, so get cracking! 

If you post a link to the contest post and tell your readers to check me out…you automatically win something…;) (but you gotta comment to me that you did so, otherwise, how the heck am I supposed to know?).
Ok…gotta get back to the fam…while I was writing, it stopped raining.  But, really, to me the sun has been shining all day :).


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