It was supposed to be a nice family day at the beach.
The weather was warm (I dressed like it was Darwin!), and there was a crazy hot wind blowing, which in these parts is pretty much considered the worst thing ever, but would apparently make one particular beach great to go to, according to Boatman. And he was right. Driving over the sand dunes, after gazing at the ocean a good deal of the drive there, and looking out to see this, was surely a sign that the day could only be great.
When you mention South Australian beaches to people, they pretty much straight away come out with, ‘look out for sharks.’ As if when sitting on your picnic rug, looking out to sea, you might at any moment see a sharknado approaching (ostensibly with that evil, hot northerly wind). Quite honestly, I’m not too terrified by the idea of sharks. Having spent my entire life being on permanent croc watch at any beach I’ve ever been too, the idea of a killer that is confined to deep water (which I don’t plan on swimming in), and that can’t chase me up on the shore, is slightly less terrifying.
Generally speaking, my main fear is if anyone will see my climbing up a sand dune to find a little bush to wee behind. Or if a snake or spider will be sitting in that bush waiting to bite me on the behind.
Well it turns out it wasn’t snakes or spiders I should have been weary of.
It was this guy.
The jury is still out on to what he is exactly, but considering the fact that after being beheaded, those nippers were still going crazy, I’m calling him a Zombie Ant. And he is the meanest bugger I have ever had the bad fortune of meeting.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
So we’re on the beach. The three older kids, who apparently have no sense of feeling in their skin, are jumping out about in the waves (the day may have been warm, but the water was cold, cold, cold), Boatman is sitting on a picnic rug, keeping an eye on them, and Ava and I were building sand castles.
I have a bit of a love for building sand castles. Especially in perfect white sand, that is warm on the top, but cool underneath, and stacks up nicely on itself. We had been going for a little while, building a giant ‘sand dune’ as Ava called it, with tunnels underneath it, going in almost all directions.
Like I said, I was dressed in Darwin clothing; that is shorts. And because I was carving out the third tunnel, I was on hands and knees in the sand, arm buried under the castle, and bottom waving gloriously in the air without a care in the world.
And then I felt it.
‘Ow!!! Something bit me!
‘What?’ Boatman asked.
“Ow!!! It’s still biting me! There’s something in my pants, and biting my butt, and arrrgh!!!! Look at it!!!!!!’ I was pulling furiously on the bottom of my shorts, when the giant bug fell out, nippers waving angrily, right butt cheek in a world of pain.
“It’s a giant wasp!!’ Boatman exclaimed.
I wasn’t hanging around to look, but instead bolting down to that frigid water to apply the world’s largest ice pack to my poor bottom. There are very few things as humiliating as being bitten on the backside by a bug whilst building a sand castle. It really doesn’t help then, when giant waves try to push you off your feet, saturating every part of you, including the white t-shirt that you thought was such a great choice that morning. Especially when friendly families are wandering up and down the beach, saying hi, whilst you’re simultaneously trying to look at the giant welt on your butt, and not panic wondering if you’re going to die from the bite, or develop gangrene and have a large portion of your arse and upper thigh cut out.
Finally, I returned to the picnic rug, when my lower body was so cold, it was sufficiently numbed, and Boatman showed me the punishment he had inflicted on the would be murderer. Like I said, despite the fact that this things head was completely removed from it’s body, it was still flailing around wildly. I buried both parts of it separately, but I will not be surprised if like some Twilight-esque vampire, it manages to put itself back together.
Finding a safe sport on the mat, I sat down gingerly, feeling very sorry for myself, and suggested that perhaps we not stay too much longer, because an antihistamine was not a terrible idea, and Boatman agreed. Heading up the sand dunes to get the kids, I started to relax. It would be fine. The zombie wasp/ant was likely not venomous. Plus it was dead. As was the other I saw floating in the ocean next to me when I was icing my butt cheeks, and there surely couldn’t be any more. Plus it was a beautiful day…..
Then I looked down.
And there was another, crawling up my left leg, nippers out, ready to take me down, and any sense of self-respect or calm went out the window with me screaming, ‘Tiiiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmmm! There’s another one on my leg!! We are leaving now!!!!!’
And with that we went home. The Zombie Ants won, but I don’t care because I lived to tell the tale, and I still have two butt cheeks to prove it.
And so that dear friends, is why sharks are not the most dangerous things on South Australian beaches.
How was your Easter Weekend?