July 2012 Archives

coming home

sunriseCache.jpgWe started the day by getting a sunrise webcam GeoCache. It required us to be in front of the camera at 6:30 AM for the photo, but it was a beautiful way to start our day. It also marked the first time I saw the sun set, and the sun rise the next morning.

We didn't know how long it would take to return our car, or what type of traffic we would encounter on our 1.25 hour trip to the airport, or how long the car checkin would take or security. So we left at 8:30 for our 1:00 flight. It wasn't a rushed get out the door thing, but a "we're ready, so why not go now?". We got to the airport, checked in the car, which was extremely quick, found our checkin counter, and at 10:00 we got our boarding passes. We ate lunch, went through security, waited at our gate for about an hour, loaded the plane, and came home.

IMG_0182.JPGThe flight was smooth and quick. The pressure bothered Anna's ears quite a lot, but the flight was uneventful. 

We met the Geragi's at the airport, grabbed our bags from baggage claim, and then went for dinner at Perkins with them and my Mom. We gave our gifts, shared our experiences, and stories. Came home, showed some photos, retrieved Anna's Rat from our friends the Monge's house, and tried to relax and go to bed early.

This has been the most relaxing vacation I've ever had. I cannot believe how much I enjoyed spending all this time with my beloved wife.



Last beach day

The last day of our vacation. I have slowly come to terms with the end of such a relaxing vacation. I have spent a lot of time today thinking about my father, which was the driving reason to have this vacation. We packed up most  of our stuff this morning, and we only kept  out the few things we need between this morning and tomorrow. Finding room for all the bits and pieces is hard, as we didn't have a lot of room to begin with. 

After packing and cleaning, we had one last visit to Max and Porky's. I really will miss Alan's stories, like the giraffe licking him from ear to ear. 

We had a wonderful time on the beach, where we got some last shots for the christmas video, and enjoyed the sun one last day.

Sunset.JPG
We of course had Bizarros and Java Surf's shaved ice in the evening. 

After supper, we went to look for a series of GeoCaches that are on the river side of the island. We only found one, but we had fun looking for all four. I got a nice view of the sunset during this time. We were all tired, so we left for our beach house.

We spent the rest of the evening packing the remainders into bags and suitcases. We are ready to go home and see our dogs

Beach day

Lexi DolphinAfter yesterday we just took it real easy today. We had some Max and Porky's for lunch, did some shopping at the longboard surf shop, Surf Style, and the Shell Souvenir store. Then we swam at the beach for the rest of the day. Lexi got this most obnoxious and funny blow up Dolphin. it was great for Lexi to ride waves, because she could get above the waves and stay above them. She could ride them for 60/70 feet, about twice as far as the rest of us.

I still wasn't quite ready to think about going home, so those conversations were avoided for the most part, although we did make a checklist of things that we needed to do, or wanted to do, either today or tomorrow.

We had Bizarro's pizza and Java Surf's shaved ice for dinner. It's the best combination. After dinner, we found a geocache just north of our beach house. its a fun pasttime, and all the kids enjoy it.

Salty Kisses at Discovery Cove

Oh, Where to start?

Discovery cove is the focal point for our vacation in the preparation. We knew it would be a great experience for the children, and wonderfully nice for us.

The service level at Discovery Cove is on par with a cruise ship. Once you are in, all you need is your swimsuit. They provide towels, sunscreen, meals, snacks, snorkels, masks, ... you name it. This atmosphere changed my pace from busy busy, to slow and relaxed. It was so nice to simply go and do what we wanted.

saltyKisses
We got up early, as we read online that they schedule the dolphin experience in the order of arrival, and we didn't want to be delayed by afternoon rain, so we were at the park by 7:50. We had our complimentary photo taken, got an individualized explanation of 'what's what' in the park, had a nice breakfast, put on our wetsuits, and by the time we were ready to swim, the pools were opened.

We started the day by feeding the stingrays in the Grand Reef. I didn't think I'd get a chance to do that with my children, without visiting Grand Cayman again. The ray's were not as 'personal' as in Grand Cayman, but for a lot of the younger park goers, that was a good thing.

While the Grand Reef has cold water, I could snorkel there all day. The fish are beautiful and the rays are so graceful. There was a shark tank with a window to the grand reef, so we could  look into the shark tank from the grand reef tank, and feel like they are swimming with us.

About an hour in, our dolphin experience time had come. It was so sweet to see the smiles on my kid's faces as Lester the dolphin pulled them back to our group one at a time. After all in our group had their dolphin swim, we got to meet Hurley, and feel the skin of a young dolphin. 

The dolphin experience was over too quickly, and we then moved on. There was a much warmer fresh water river experience where you go lazily through a winding river that we did next. We spent the rest of the day between these two tanks. During lunch it started to downpour, and lightning, so we spent a bit of time just relaxing under the provided shelter.

In the afternoon, again we swam with all the fish in the reef, and I think my favorite part was swimming just Katie and I around the reef while our kids played on their own in the reef or onshore.

On our way home we had Chili's in St. cloud, and almost as an afterthought, We watched the Melbourne Causeway fireworks show, and then put the kids to bed.

another beach day

First off, last night we saw a loggerhead turtle on the beach. She was huge. We kinda scared her back into the ocean, but that's ok, she will come back, as we didn't get anywhere close to her.

Anna has been getting a cough that is worse and worse, and started complaining of an earache, so today I took her to an urgent care clinic just up the road.
After much poking and prodding she has:
Swimmer's ear.
a sinus infection
bronchitis

AnnaBeach
So, Anna is all drugged up, and she took a nap while I joined Katie, Noah and Lexi on the beach.

After digging a huge hole on the beach we went for a tired supper at long doggers, which offered a relaxed atmosphere, and a great video of professional surfing competitions.

Afterwards we went back on the beach for a little bit to let Lexi and Noah burn off more energy, and as always we finish up the day at Java Surf. As  you can see, Anna did feel better enough to join us for a little while.

Tomorrow is Discovery Cove, so its off to bed early!

salty grapes

Today we got up late, had a nice breakfast at the beachside cafe. It was recommended to us  a week ago, but we never had a chance. Good food at a great price. I really liked the breakfast.

KatiesShells
We then decided to go to the Bathtub Reef in Stuart Florida. It was a GREAT swimming area. The water near the shore is nearly HOT.  as you get a bit further out, it is cooler, but still warm.

We snorkeled around the reef for several hours while the tide came in. We found some great shells, and each of my kids learned how to use a snorkel. I swear that each of them would spend the entire day face down in the water if we gave them all snorkels.

Unfortunately a stormfront appeared from over land, and forced us to head towards home. The rain that tiny blip on the weather radar had was impressive. After a total downpour, my wife was outvoted and we went to iHop for dinner instead of crackerbarrel.

Now the kids are in bed after a long ride home, and we are settling in for a nice quiet evening and another moonlit walk on the beach.



Sunday, the beach day

AnnaOnTheBeach.JPGWhat more to say? We spent the day at the beach. For the first time since our arrival, the green flag was being flown by the lifeguard. The water was clear for the first time. Noah learned to use the snorkel, Lexi learned to balance and stand on the boogie board. Anna made some new friends who taught her how to surf the waves.

It was almost low tide when we arrived, so we had to move our progressively up the beach as the tide came in. After about 25 feet, we decided to head home for dinner.

Tonight we are having baked potatoes, and shish-kabobs on the grill. (and of course shushies at java surf).

We will see what the evening holds!


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