Friday, October 12, 2007

a vacation in photos

My in-laws live in Florida, giving us a handy reason to go visit every year. I actually went to high school in Florida, but there's so many cool places I never got to see while I lived there. This is a picture of a ferry we took down the river in Homasassa Springs. It's a state wildlife park and a manatee refuge. It was every bit as hot and steamy as it looks, even in October.

A blue heron....we saw several of these on the ferry ride, and a lot more native Florida animals when we arrived at the park...

...but of course, the manatees were the coolest. Hard to get good pictures of though.

The next several pictures were taken on Clearwater Beach. Here's Jack building sand castles. Actually, I did most of the building, and then he would smash them and tell me to build them again.

Jack was working hard climbing up and down these sandy banks.

Then Maria helped him walk along the top of the banks. Nice sissy.

We have major jellyfish issues. This was actually a tiny one. We saw a dozen on our snorkeling trip that were a foot and a half around! But my camera wasn't handy.
Several people in our group got stung, but we were lucky.

A cloudy sunset. That's Kain in the background. I got way more pictures of Jack than anyone else. I feel guilty about this now, but really it was only because Jack was right there *with me* the whole time, whereas the bigger ones tended to wander off and do their own thing.

This is Maria on the boat for our snorkeling trip....definitely the highlight of our trip.

Our boat went out to these ruins of a fort from the Spanish-American War. The fort used to be on a nearby island, but due to beach erosion it now sits in 9 feet of water. We snorkeled off of this fort for a bit. It got interesting when Kain cut up his foot on the barnacles while climbing around on the fort, and then we saw the monster jellies.

Then we went to Egmont Key. Here's the lighthouse, and there's also another fort on the island, this one intact. We didn't get to explore it much. We only had two hours to spend on the island and wanted to spend it snorkeling.

Kain looking for shells. The little keys off the coast are great places for shelling. We found some beautiful specimens, as pretty as you'd buy in any shell shop. Of course, this was *after* I'd spent a bunch of money in the shell shops.

Here's a cool specimen, an intact sand dollar. We found a couple of smaller ones too. I've since managed to pick all the barnacles off of this one and clean it up nicely.

Jack waiting for a wave. Most of the gulf coast where we were at is kind of lined with barrier islands, so there's not much in the way of waves. On Egmont Key, however, he got his first chance to play in them.

Here the wave just smacked him.

Waiting for another.

The plane ride home. Jack missed his nap and was falling apart at this point. Ice is a highly undervalued entertainment item for small kids. This cup of ice entertained Jack for quite a while once he started getting restless. Emergency rations of M & M's and goldfish crackers are good too.

And here he is...literally fell asleep in mid-goldfish cracker.


Entropy said...

Great pics! I love the whole sand dollar, that's awesome!

Terimisu said...

Beautiful pictures Mel. I thought John's parents lived in Missouri? Looks like it was a wonderful trip. Eden and I went to Destin in July. It was our first trip to Florida and we loved it.

Kelly said...

What a fantastic trip! Thank you for sharing the pics, it looks like it was amazing!

And how cute - the "sleeping with the fishes" pic! LOL!