Photo a Day Challenge: 🌊 June 14 – Ocean

challenge ocean

The ocean came to Charlotte once.

On Sept. 22, 1989, Hurricane Hugo made landfall in Charleston, S.C., in Category 4 glory. When the storm reached Charlotte, 85 miles away, he still packed hurricane-strength winds. I woke up after 3 a.m. to find my cat, Cybill and turned on the radio.

(Side note: We had TVs back then.)

I stepped outside. The wind seemed to push and pull at once, the heavy smell of salt water all around. The sky glowed a menacing sea-green then yellow. Trees snapped and transformers blew to punctuate Hugo’s howling winds.

Today’s challenge word, ocean, isn’t easy unless a hurricane decides to make landfall 85 miles from the coast (reports of seabirds in Charlotte fascinated me – they’d been swept up in the storm and carried inland.)

The toy above has a cool story that has nothing to do with hurricanes.

But it has an ocean. This toy belonged to Madison first, then Hayden. We tried to get rid of it – maybe 16 times. Camdyn had it, too. With it, they all learned words, facts, numbers and music from around the world. Across the globe and oceans and continents.

If I have it my way, we’ll have it forever.

ocean quote



  1. Yvonne says:

    I’m curious to know what is shown for Australia on the toy!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’ll have to check … I think it’s a boy with a boomerang, and a kangaroo. The music was the coolest, though.

  2. ksbeth says:

    how scary that must have been. i love the toy, and funny how some things find their way to you and never leave

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      it was actually fascinating, and simultaneously dumb to be out there right then, beth. this toy just can never go in a yard sale pile, so long as i’m on this earth, at least.

  3. Ocean. Something I’ve been connected to for most of my life in one way or another. I love your choice of photographs. Hurricanes are amazing in the destruction they can wreak. Since I moved to the west coast, we don’t have any over there to worry about. But we do get earthquakes, mudslides, and that sort of thing.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s been a while since I touched the ocean – back when Elise and I went to Ft. Lauderdale for a soccer camp last year. As a Coloradan, the ocean was just in pictures.

      I’m fascinated with hurricanes and prone to crushes on meteorologists. I’m not sure these are related.

      You have plenty else to worry about besides hurricanes over there, Sue!

  4. stomperdad says:

    I swim in the same ocean here in Canada as I did growing up in MD. The water temperature here is about a billion degrees colder! What’s on the globe for Canada? 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s all the same ocean, if you think about it. I like when the Michiganders come south and get in the water in April when it’s like 40 degrees.

      They’re ready to roll!

      Canada gets a Mountie and a moose, Eric. And the music was pre-Bieber.

      1. stomperdad says:

        Then the music was likely to be Celine Dion. Michiganders understand cold. My boys were in the lake last weekend and the water is only 50ish. They’re part polar bear.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        On your side or the wife’s? Don’t answer that question.

      3. stomperdad says:

        Neither one of us. It was almost too cold to put just our feet in.

  5. Nix says:

    I’ve only been in the ocean on visits to the east coast but like any body of water for me, it’s a soothing and fascinating thing. Ohio (and now Nebraska) only has things like tornadoes, so no experience with hurricanes but I imagine that devastation is relative. My sons had a similar toy when they were kidlets. No idea where it went. I boxed up the dinosaur one instead. That, and their 50 bajillion Lego sets, matchbox cars and maybbbbe their favorite stuffed animals for when they’re grown up with kids of their own.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      To me, the ocean is vast and dangerous. Like a hurricane, it can make one feel small in the grand scheme. (Hell, a large dog can make me feel small, but still.)

      There are some toys that can never be played with enough. that go from one kid to the next with a timeless elegance, if you can call a plasticized contraption with big buttons elegant.

      A box of essential hand-me-downs is a wonderful idea, Nix.

  6. What an epic globe! Switzerland is one huge Matterhorn! 🇨🇭

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Mad respeck, Tamara. Mad respeck.

  7. cricketmuse says:

    We live inland and deal with seagulls. They must have been blown off course by a storm. They seem content hanging with the Canadian geese down at the lake.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Seagulls here love Walmart parking lots. I think they might have snapped off the norm of sea life in favor.

      If a Canada Goose is born in America, what should we call it?

      1. cricketmuse says:

        Confused goose?

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        … on the cusp of turkey.

  8. Anxious Mom says:

    I remember that hurricane, the usually low creek behind our house came within yards of the backdoor and we cooked on a gas camp grill for days.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We were without power for a while, but it felt like everything for 12 months out got canceled.

  9. Kisma says:

    I miss the ocean! I’d love to get my toes in the sand and smell the air – if even for a day!

    Love the toy!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I miss the sound and smell of the ocean, Tiff. A day away would work for me. That toy will remain with us for a long time! It has to.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.