Thursday, December 31, 2015


After going through all the hassle of finding the shelter and renting a live trap we came to a new realization.

Will Feral had already made this trip.

When I checked his ears before he'd always been back in the brush and with his black ears it was hard to tell whether or not his ears had been notched.

Seriously?  You couldn't see this?

We were sitting outside and he came halfway across the yard to be nearer to us and with the green all around him I could see very clearly the tell-tale left ear notch.

Ha ha you get to explain when you return the cage!
I guess Will has the last laugh.

Long Live the Queen

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Dolphins Plus

Our visit was nearing its end and it was time for the big event....swimming with the dolphins.  We stopped for lunch at Buzzards Roost and then went to prepare for our adventure.

The girls got to go first when the dolphins were at their friskiest and I've never seen such big smiles.

They got to go through several moves with these beautiful creatures, such as giving them belly rubs...the dolphins that is.

 They got to be pulled through the water on the belly of the dolphins.

Pulled by two dolphins at once by hanging on to their fins.  Did someone call for Dolphin Towing?

Kissed by a dolphin....I think it was love at first sight.

 And pushed through the water by their feet.

One of the tricks was to hold a pole for the dolphins to leap over.

They got to shake hands with them.

Then there was the splash fight...the dolphins won, fins down.

I'm not sure who was having more fun, the girls or the four of us watching them.

After the girls showered and dressed we went to the sister facility on the bayside to see the baby dolphin.  She was swimming around with her mother in this photo.

It was a great day, followed by ice cream, of course.  The diet begins January 1st.

Long Live the Queen

Marathon Key

We wanted to show the kids a bit more of the Florida Keys, but to drive all the way to Key West and back in a day would be a long time driving without getting to take in much along the way. So it was agreed we would just go as far as Marathon Key to visit the Turtle Hospital, Sombrero Beach and Crane Point.

But first, as always, we needed to stop for lunch.  Stephanie found The Wooden Spoon on Yelp and it sounded like a place with a lot of character, so that's where we stopped.  The Yelp review said to ask for the home made ketchup, so we did.

The owner proceeded to take a red bottle and behind the counter was mixing in the secret ingredients, which he shared with us and I was committing to memory.

He brought it over to the table and said I got to be the first to taste it as he squirted the bottled directly at my face.  It was a horrifying moment as I watched the red blob coming my way like a 3D movie and awaiting the wet messy splat sure to follow.  But it never came.  It was a fake bottle and we all had a great laugh.  Then the owner proceeded to entertain us with the history of the place and one joke after another.  Great pick Steph!

After lunch it was off to the Turtle Hospital, where we learned about the variety of sea turtles and things that can harm them, most of which are caused (no surprise) by man.

Those that are struck by boats often develop a buoyancy in their shell called Bubble Butt (I can relate to this!) which prevents them from being able to dive for food.  Weights are added to their shells to allow them the ability to dive again.

We were bummed to learn that while we were there, they were doing a release at Sombrero Beach and we were missing it.  Oh well.

Our next stop was Sombrero Beach for the kids and Steph and I went to the Crane Point Museum for a walk on the nature trails.

The map was awful and we were soon lost, but finally managed to get to the Adderly House.  For a while I thought we might be spending the night there, but then we got back on track again.

It was a nice hike until I started noticing all the golden orb spiders.  Ewwwwh.  They were huge and everywhere.

Steph was mugging it up with the palms.

I enjoyed being able to show Stephanie what a mangrove swamp looked like...and smelled like.

We knew the kids were going to be waiting for us, so didn't finish our trek out to Crane Point and I wish we had.  Another hiker told us they saw a human size iguana out there.  Now I'll never know if he was pulling our leg or if missed out on a fabulous photo op.

L0ng Live the Queen

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Day

It's a little harder to get into the spirit with temperatures in the 80's, but the kids weren't complaining at all because Christmas day was the trip to Miami Beach.

We spotted this adorable car on the way into town.  I guess Santa and his reindeer fly a little lower down here.

Maybe we didn't have white snow, but there was lots of white sand to be enjoyed.

Emily always has her volleyball with her and is in search of a game, so when we spotted this grouping of nets she was very happy indeed.

I just had to share this photo of myself getting ready to receive a serve.  Oh wait...that's not me, but I can see where people would be confused.

We wandered down the street in the Art Deco district until we found a spot large enough for our group and had some lunch.

Then it was back to the beach for the kids and I continued down the street with the camera to photo some of the great buildings built from 1923 - 1943.

There are many vintage cars parked along the streets in keeping with the forties theme.

I spotted this dancer further down the street.  She was so taken with the holiday spirit!

Long Live the Queen

Friday, December 25, 2015

Up up and away

We decided to relax things a bit with more leisurely mornings and a later start than the first day.

We headed off to Key Largo in search of lunch and some entertainment. Lunch was at Hobo's Cafe and everything was super yummy.

Then it was off to find the para-sailing adventure for the younger ones.

Left Brain and I have done this before, so he just paid to ride along in the boat.

I had not medicated myself for motion sickness and don't care much for boats, so stayed on land to get shots from the dock. 

This young man was trying to conquer the jet boots - he fell a lot.
I had to admire this pontoon with a picnic table on it.

The four high flying Rossings had a great time and then it was time to settle things down a bit with some beach time.

The beach was not quite what we had expected, but we'll find some better ones later this week in our travels.

It's not possible to be in Florida without sampling key lime pie, so we made a stop at Mrs Mac's for some on the way home.

I wasn't sure Kiersten really liked it until she cleaned up the pie plate with the server.  I think it was a hit.

Long Live the Queen of Landlubbers

Family Fun

The family arrived in the late afternoon and we spent our time visiting and catching up.  The plan was to sit outside, which we did for a little bit and then it suddenly poured, as it tends to do here in Florida. This is supposed to be the “dry season”, but we’ve had record humidity and rains lately.

After an early supper the cribbage games began.  There’s not a ton of room in an RV for six people to gather, but by pushing some chairs around and using one of my storage cubes for a table, it worked just fine.

The next day we were up early and headed for Shark Valley to enjoy the day.  We got tickets for the 11:00 tram tour and spent the time walking around a bit in search of gators and birds.

Just before the tram tour was to begin they brought out a 13’ Burmese python they had captured on one of the earlier tours. 

 These are an invasive species and have caused many problems with the ecosystem of the Everglades. There are no more small mammals to be found in the park at all.  All the raccoons, rabbits, squirrels and the like have been totally eradicated. It’s estimated there are over 10,000 pythons in the Everglades and there is no way to eradicate all of them.  
On the tram tour we spotted some alligators, far fewer than normal due to the high water.

Half way through the tour we stopped at an observation deck for viewing and bathroom break.

After we left Shark Valley we headed to Safari Park for lunch and then to ride the airboats.  None of us had ever been on an airboat before, so this was a unique shared experience. 

Kiersten spotted this brightly colored bird that was walking along on top of the lily pads.

Due to the noise, earplugs were provided and I found the experience very peaceful as we flew over the tall grasses of the glades.  I just had to snap this photo to show you Left Brain’s hair flowing in the breeze.

We stopped along the edges to get a photo of these little alligator babies.  The driver estimated them to be about two years old.

After the boat ride we were treated to an alligator show.  A man was standing in the enclosure with four large gators and demonstrating how their mouths closed, the eyes go into their heads and how muscular the tail was.  He’s either very brave or crazy, not sure which.

After the show we had the girls hold the baby gator for these photos.

On the way to the exit they had some caymens and Cuban crocodiles on display.

After being totally gatored out, we called a day with them going back to the hotel and we returned to the RV to do some kitty snuggling and unwind.

Long Live the Queen of Gators