Sunday, September 1, 2013

Summer Vacation Part I

Just a couple posts ago I was saying that I had started planning our summer vacation. Now, as I'm writing this, our vacation has come and gone and I want to go back! Anyways, here we go, prepare yourself!

Sunday we flew into Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. We got there at 2 ish in the afternoon and I wasn't really shocked by the weather...sunny, beautiful, and humid to boot! We got our bags and our rental car (which, by the way, we were upgraded from an economy car to a brand spankin' new Nissian Altima for freeee!) and we were off on our adventure!

Once we found our hotel we were both ready for a nap and just ready to relax, so we did just that. We hung out in our hotel room, ordered some room service, read, watched a movie, and really just started our vacation off right by relaxing.

The next morning we had breakfast outside, by the pool and the palm trees.

 After breakfast we packed up the car and headed for the Gumbo Limbo Nature Preserve, right on the coast of Florida. Before we left on our trip I did a ton of research on cool places to visit and neat things to see in the area and so I was really excited to see this place, plus it only costing $5 bucks for us to get in was a good thing too!

This "environmental complex" was such a neat place to go because not only did it have tanks with sharks, puffer fish, eels, gigantic lobster, and stingrays, but it was also a sanctuary for loggerhead turtles. Some of these turtles had been very badly injured and would have died if not for this place. One turtle we saw only had one fin, the rest, they told us, had probably been severed off when then accidentally swam into fisherman's nets. How sad is that?!

This guy was in one of the feeding tanks. We got there right as they started doing the feeding and it was so cool to see the sharks eat and the stingrays zoomin around.

This was one of the turtles in the recuperation/exercise tanks....her name was Lexi.

This was the biggest loggerhead turtle that we saw. The keeper told us he was close to being fully healed and ready to go back to the sea!

Another neat aspect of the preserve was that they had these really cool boardwalk paths through the forest. This one was surrounded by dense trees and bushes and was the boardwalk to the observatory deck.

Pretty much at all times that day there were giant looming rain clouds. Pretty cool to look at, but sucky to get caught in.

This was the top of the observatory tower, about 40 feet in the air. Just behind us was the ocean, pretty darn close!

All along the boardwalk were these giant spiders with their nasty webs and Jordan almost walked straight into this web. me the heeby jeebys!

Once we finished up at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center we got back in the car and headed to West Palm Beach. Part of the reason Jordan and I were able to afford going on this trip was because we agreed to listen to a presentation on time we spent a good part of our day doing that, but our tour guide did show us some pretty cool things along the way.

First, she took us down to the marina and we were able to see the charter boats, the gift shops, a little place called Peanut Island, and we met Captain Morgan!

This was taken right on the beach at sunset. It was as if we had walked into a magazine, the water was so calm, the temperature was perfect, and you could see for miles down the beach!

The picture above was probably our favorite part about the whole trip. This here is a loggerhead turtle nest. After the turtles come up from the water, dig their nest, and lay their eggs the nests are taped off and labeled. On the back of the notice it said when the eggs were laid and approximately when the babies would dig their way out! These nests were scattered all over the beach and the care that people have gone to preserving these beautiful creatures is truly inspirational. The hefty fine associated with messing with these sand piles is pretty insane, I'm sure that helps people from messing with them!

The next day we went back to the public beach in the same area and it was even more beautiful then the night before.

Oh, what a beautiful place to set up! The water was so clear and calm, we were even able to get some good underwater pictures!

Once we were done shell searching, swimming, just plain tanning, we walked across the street and went into all the beach side shops. Once we were done shopping we cleaned up a little and hopped in the car to head over to our cruise boat! We could not have asked for a better place to hang out for a few hours before we started our cruise.