Bilbo sat on the beach and wiggled his toes in the sand. He hadn’t known what to expect when Thorin told him they were going to see the sea. Thorin had said it was like a large lake, so large you couldn’t see the other side, even on a very clear day from the top of the tallest tree. He’d also said the water came and went on a regular basis and sometimes it came higher than at other times; and not just when the weather was wet. It was when Bilbo had asked Thorin what caused this phenomenon and Thorin had said he didn’t know, but he was sure Bilbo would find it very pretty, Bilbo realised Thorin had never seen the sea either.
Neither, it appeared, had any of the other dwarves, so what had started out as a trip for four or maybe six, rapidly grew to include everyone. Bilbo had been looking forward to a few days on his own with Thorin, but he couldn’t deny the adventure to the rest of his friends. They’d find time to be alone – they always did.
So now Bilbo was sitting on the warm sand, watching as most of the dwarves played in the sea. Technically they were surfing, but some of the dwarves seemed better than others. Bombur was sitting beside him on the beach, having rapidly come to the conclusion surfing was not a pastime he wished to indulge in.
After a few minutes Balin came over to join them. He had been wandering up and down the water’s edge, but had done little more than get his feet wet.
“That water’s cold,” Balin said. “However they seem to be enjoying it. Although, what on earth are those two doing?”
Balin pointed to Kili and Fili, who seemed more intent on pulling each other under the waves than balancing on the surfboards.
“Seeing who can hold their breath the longest I think,” Bilbo laughed. “Everyone else seems to be doing quite well, considering they’ve never tried surfing before.”
“It’s the low centre of gravity,” Balin said. “Makes it easier to balance.”
At that point Thorin clearly overestimated either the strength of the wave, or his own ability. Afterwards he would claim the wave was more powerful than he had thought, whilst Bilbo said Thorin was showing off to Dwalin and it was entirely his own fault. Either way, he toppled off his board and landed on top of his nephews who had failed to see him coming. After a bit of an argument, which involved a quantity of seaweed being thrown around, Thorin marched out of the sea and headed up the beach towards Bilbo.
“That’s enough of that,” Thorin said. “There’s a large dune a little way up the beach and I think I can see a sheltered patch of sand behind it. We should go and check it out.”
Bilbo stood up and joined the dwarf.
“Do you want us to give you a call when we’ve laid the picnic out?” Bombur asked.
“No,” Thorin replied. “We’ll make our way back when we’re ready.”
The two of them set off along the beach, ignoring the rude suggestions shouted from those still in the sea.