Marine Life in the Gulf!
"They" say, if your children want to travel with you, do it. Twelve years ago, I took Olivia on a trip to Naples, Florida, to celebrate her graduation from high school. We had a great time and vowed to make more trips in the future together.
When Olivia turned 30 back in March, I offered her an experience in celebrating this milestone birthday. Travel is our thing, so we put our heads together to devise a plan. We were thinking stateside and for a long weekend. Florida was a sensible choice, and Naples, Florida, was one of our top choices. We had the first flight out yesterday to paradise!
We had lots of fun yesterday getting our bearings around South Florida, plus meeting up with Olivia's college roommate, Kate, and her boyfriend, Jeff, for dinner at Captain Jacks Waterfront Grille. I loved seeing how these girls have blossomed and matured since their collegiate days. Our meet-up was a great start to our weekend!
The mother/daughter duo couldn’t have gotten any better with a trip to Pine Island, Florida, early this morning. We visited my friend, a high school/track teammate from James Ford Rhodes High School in Cleveland, Ohio, Patty Whittingslow-Holloway, and her husband, Dan.
It was great catching up with Patty, who has made a life for herself in Florida for over 42 years (she left after graduation and never went back to Ohio to live). She has three grown children and a few grandchildren that she loves dearly. We’ve seen each other periodically for reunions in Ohio, but it was my first visit to her home in Florida.
Dan, a fourth-generation fisherman from Pine Island, was our captain for the day - taking us on an epic summer boating excursion. We motored all over the bay areas near Pine Island and the Gulf of Mexico in his 22' AquaSport fishing boat. Man, Olivia and I doused our skin with gobs of sunscreen because we had to; the sun was intense as ever!
And though I NEVER saw a moose, grizzly, or any bear for that matter on my epic trip out West, we did get to see rich marine life in the bay’s shallow waters. Our first sighting was from Captain Dan, standing on his perch and steering the boat where he could see the waters move a certain way and identified a 10’ shark. I’d say it was grey and white, or that’s what we thought the colors were as the shark swam fast through the murky water.
The other fun marine life was seeing a school of dolphins having a good time splashing about near our boat. They circled us a couple of times, then went on their merry way to other fascinating places in the sea.
Our last sightings were the manatees. We saw huge ones coming right up to the boat and several pairs of mama and baby manatees. They seemed friendly, swirling around before coming up for air, plus going under the boat, being playful, and having fun in the warm waters of Southern Florida.
Once we had our fill of the cute marine life, Dan took us to a cove on North Captiva Island. We disembarked with food, towels, an umbrella, and other gear and walked through the mangroves for about 75 yards until we got to the Gulf with its crystal blue waters with very warm water - it had to be close to about 85 degrees Fahrenheit. We swam in the warm ocean for a couple of hours. The white sand, blue skies, turquoise warm waters of the Gulf, mom/daughter fun, and rekindled friendships made today perfect.
Tomorrow, we rest!