We left the beach, tired but happy, and headed toward the parking lot. We were thinking we would load our possessions, then go back to the visitor center to shower and change in shifts. It was about 7:30, the sun was below the horizon, and darkness was moving in. That’s when the terror began.
As we made our way between the sand dunes, they surrounded us. Swarms of giant mosquitos. We panicked. We swatted madly. We screamed and ran.
Perry, Kaitlyn and Megan brought up the rear with the remainder of our gear. As they flew past the few remaining beach visitors, Kaitlyn slid out of control and careened into the boardwalk rail. ”Trip her, Dad!” Megan shrieked. ”Leave her as bait!”
When we arrived at the van, it was even worse. We opened the doors to more thick swarms, screamed, tried to load our belongings, swinging wildly all the while. We sprayed mosquito repellent blindly in every direction, all to no avail.
We closed the doors and windows to keep them out, but found to our horror that we were only locking ourselves in with them. It was like being in a horror film. We screamed again, opened the windows and started the engine, cranking up the a/c. Without even stopping for a headcount, I hit the gas and swerved toward the park entrance, using my free hand to smash, swipe, swoosh and shoo the vicious creatures that engulfed me.
The panic in the van became more subdued as we drove, finally settling to a faint irregular thudding as the kids in the back picked off the remaining population one by one, smearing them into the windows with the palms of their hands.
Ten minutes down the road, we finally took a breath and calmed down. I heard a few nervous giggles from the back, and suddenly we could laugh about it. It was funny, but I wouldn’t want to do it again. We have resolved: next year, we leave the beach before sundown.