Last week’s heat wave was only at the level of holy hot peppers, but on Monday this past week the heat wave took it to a new level of holy blazing saddles!! I mentioned in my last post that the worst I ever experienced in the summer was a couple of years ago when I happened across Assateague Lightning’s band in the water trying to escape the high heat and really bad flies. Well, this past Monday I went down to the Island because our lingering heat and humidity was coupled with a predictive west wind, and the weather apps and area meteorologists certainly got it right. It was hot, muggy and buggy as that wind blew across the Island!!

I was thrilled to already have taken nice images of Chip’s band in the water the week prior, so I took my time after work and gathered my camera, drinks and beach gear before heading down. I once again parked in the area of the State Park and made my way onto the beach. The ocean was really rough and brown indicating a rough surf with sand getting churned up into the breakers. The wind itself was strong and constant, blowing humid, hot air.

It’s funny, though, as I walked through the moderately crowded beach moseying along I didn’t notice the flies so much. I guess they had plenty of people to attack thus spreading them out a bit. But, once I hit the gap (as I call it) between the south end of the State Park and the north end of North Beach, there weren’t any people for the flies to attack other than me. And that they did!! I think every biting fly within a thousand feet found me. I didn’t make it very far and had to turn around. It probably looked like I was doing some kind of dance, like the jig or fire dance, on my return to the more populated part of the beach.
As I made my way north again, Chip’s band came running over the dunes and straight to the water’s edge. Chip won’t go in the water, and he was shaking and stomping to no end. I felt really bad for him, but I also realized his dance moves were worse than mine. The shaking and stomping didn’t help, so then he would roll around on the ground. I could see hundreds of flies buzzing him. It was just awful.

The band now only consists of Chip, Susi Sole and their two kids Seases Bay Breeze (Breezy) and their 4 month or so old colt. So while Chip was out trying to shake the flies, Susi Sole and the two kids headed straight for the water.

The waves and surf battered and beat them, but it must have felt so good. Chip even relented and got in up to his knees, but he was so unsure about the water. It must have felt good to get his legs wet and get the flies off of them but not good enough to get drenched, I guess. The surf and waves rolling in were so rough that it’s the first time I have seen Susi Sole (or any adult horse for that matter) get knocked off her stance and almost go down in the water.

They stayed in for quite awhile. Once they got out it was time to coat themselves down with a nice layer of sand by rolling around on the beach. Then, just like that, they were off again… up and over the dunes just as fast as they roared onto the beach. A short time later someone told me they went up over the dunes and were back to raiding campers just like any other day.

I moseyed along a bit more but about a half hour after witnessing them fight off the flies, the wind suddenly changed directions just as fast as someone flipped on a light switch. It began to blow from the southeast from across the water. The temperature suddenly dropped and just like that the flies were gone. It actually got quite cool and felt really good. Since no more horses were on the beach I figured I’d head home for the evening once again fascinated that the Island entrusted its rarities with me to experience.

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