Outdoor Water Adventures

What makes you happy?

Cook, go out, perhaps the outdoors, water sport, family time? What about reading, listening to music, traveling?

It’s important that we do things that we like, that we enjoy, because that help us motivate a balance in our life. We all have to work, to provide for our families, we all have responsibilities with our society. But, what about clearing your mind of the heaviness of the everyday life? What about breaking the routine once in a while? Those things that take us out of the loop, are the ones that bring balance to life. Those things are the ones that will give a real meaning of all the work that you do.

Traveling, having fun, taking time with family, explore the tourist area where you live, water fun, hiking, adventure, friends… The list could go infinite, those things are a need in our lives. Some people may think that those things are luxuries, but they are not. Everything that we do out of balance tend to be a problem sooner or later.

 

 

Personally I will love to travel 24/7… But I can’t. At least at this moment I can’t do it. But still there are so many things that I can enjoy close to home. I personally love spent time with my family, I think everybody should take time to do that, it’s very rewarding and everybody benefits from it. I combine the two things I like the most, the result:

Great time as a tourist close to home with the people I love.

I am always in the look out for things to do with my teenagers and Jorge. That is why I love Groupon! It give me so many options of things to do around the Orlando area with the great bonus of discounts. I encourage you to check them out, I am pretty sure they have something to offer in your city.

 

I found these two Groupon for kayaking and swimming with dolphins and manatees, we try them both in two different occasions. Both of this Groupon are from the same company, but sold separately. It really is a good deal! 😉

Kayaking

Jorge and I went for a little adventure for ourselves…. The tour lasted for two hours. I would say that is more for beginners. But still two hours were you can stop what are you doing and enjoy the sun, the warm water and the Florida fauna.

They offer also Paddle board

 

 

Our Swim with Dolphins and Manatees experience we did it with the kids.

They take you to a little Island on the Banana River where dolphins and manatees pass by like cars in a highway. They don’t guarantee the encounter with the dolphins or manatees but its most likely to happen. Of course there are rules to this, if the mammals come by you can’t harass the animals or chase them, or go on top of them. You have to be gentle and always remember that they are wild strong animals. They are so used to people that they will come to you. Specially manatees! They like to be pet like dogs do. The tour guide was telling us to stay around in the area that sooner or later they will come to you. Exactly that happened! We had two visitors, and indeed they like to be pet and rub. So cute! One of them stayed with the group for a long time. It kept poking us, for us to touch him and rub his back. Later came another one, and this one roll to the belly to be touch and rub too.

We saw some dolphins passing by but they didn’t stop to say hi. Probably they were in a hurry or something. Our tour guide told us that sometime they stop by too and like to be touch and they are playful. We were not that lucky with dolphins but the manatees filled our heart with cuteness.

Take a look to our fun outdoor adventure here in this video.

 

 

If someday you are around Central Florida, you should stop by and have one of this tours. I will be taking another kayak tour soon with other company and see how it go. I will share my story with you later about that. If you want to know more information of things to do in Central Florida send me a message and I will do my best to help you.

Thank You so much for traveling my stories with me. Until then,

xamlinnette 🙂

Our tour guide.

 

 

 

 

Until next time!

 

My kids ❤

 

Jorge and me 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Details Of The Ordinary Beach Day  

In one shoulder my backpack in the other a beach bag with our sunblock 30, 50 and 100 SPF, beach towels, a book and more stuff label with the “just in case”. My hands carried the bags of snacks, my hair was pull up, my sunglasses protect me from the infernal sun-rays. I had my swim-suit under my short and a sleeveless shirt, but still the drops of sweat make their way to be part of my attire. Even I had already walked the way to the beach few minutes ago, it felt like the beach was running away from us now. The wooden trail bridge was long like and infinite path way taken from a science fiction movie. It felt like it was creating itself while we walked. My senses got sharp with every step, I felt the heaviness of the snacks bags, I felt the sweat drops racing through my body from point A to B. My ears could hear the wooden bridge squeak noise of our steps and the other people walking out passing by us. My mind start playing with my thoughts, thinking that people might be thinking that we were crazy coming to the beach so late. It was about 4 pm but I think the sun forgot that, it was shining with all its power like at noon time. At some point I looked back to see all the way that we walked already and it surprise me to see a black/grey Giant on the sky. It was so big and spread out that looked like the clouds had exploded. People kept walking by us leaving, while us kept going in like as some kind of reward was waiting for us. Indeed there was a reward…

The water shined like a diamond, it was hypnotizing each word that kept calling my name. It repeatedly said “come to me”, it was magical, it promise to sooth the heat away. I didn’t fight with it, I let my senses to take over and like a zombie I went straight to the water. Suddenly the sound of billion of cracking eggs shells under my feet woke me up from my zombie stage. When I looked to the floor, it wasn’t eggs, there were trillions of nice looking shells of all kinds of shapes and colors in the shore.

 

When my feet touched the water I felt a warm welcoming. And when I say warm, literally the water was melting mild. I didn’t have to go through any kind of torturing process of adaptation while getting deeper in the water. It was like having a warm sea salt relaxing bath in a giant tub.

After the first stage of my relaxing experience passed, then again carefully I walked over the billions of shells. Scrubbing sand was waiting for me in my path to get attach to my feet creating a temporary sock until my feet got dry.

I sat on my beach chair, got my iPad on hand. I was exploring the possibilities of reading or going on Face Book to tell the whole world that I was at the beach, until I heard my Jorge telling my that he saw a shark… The rest is history. You can read it at Sanibel Island, A Funny Story and Manasota Beach.

 

Until then…

xamlinnette 🙂

 

Sanibel Island, a Funny Story and Manasota Beach

 

Passing the Toll Bridge to Sanibel Island.

 

Almost there!! After almost 4 hours drive from Orlando FL, before you get to Sanibel Island there is a toll bridge of $6 that connects to the island. Once we passed the bridge we wanted to visit the lighthouse that is on the eastern tip of the island. We found our way around, we parked, ready to explore the lighthouse, by the way the parking is $2 dollars.  The 120 year old lighthouse also have access to the beach, a little detail that I didn’t know until we got there.

 

 

 

Check this link out! It has the history of the lighthouse, very interesting. I always like to know at least a little bit of the places I go, specially if am writing something about it.

We decided it to take a look at the beach by the lighthouse, that was not in our plans because I didn’t know that the lighthouse had access to the beach. Below you can see the bridge we passed minutes ago, this view is from the tip of the island..

The views were pretty but the water wasn’t very inviting, at least not enough to make us wanted to stay. It looks to me like a wide open bay, not that intimate, peaceful look, the one we that we were looking for. But it was ok, because our plans were to go to Bowmans Beach Regional Park.  Racing with the heat we got to the car again for 30 more minutes drive to our new destination, hoping that we could get as soon as possible to the refreshing waters of the gulf.

 

Sanibel Lighthouse Beach

 

It is funny when you realize that a little bit information and research of a place you want to visit could make the experience completely different. I wanted to visit Sanibel Island but I didn’t do much research about it. I looked at the map and I only saw Bowmans Beach Regional Park as the only beach identified as a beach on the map, so, that was enough for me. I didn’t complicate my life digging into it.

Thirty minutes later, like always we decided to take a look at the beach first before getting the stuff out of the car. We like to study the area to see where we could make our little temporary resting nest. We started to walk through a trail, we followed the sign and kept walking, then the restrooms, more signs, then a wooden trail, and then a bridge that goes over fresh water… We looked at each other wondering how much longer we had to walk to get to the beach. Later I found out that the walk from the parking to the beach is .25 miles. When we finally reach the beach we saw a nice view, not too many people, the water it was inviting and look very refreshing. I don’t know if it was the heat that it was driving us crazy but we all wanted to get in the water. The only problem was that we had to walk all the way back to the parking to get our stuff and walk back to the beach. At the end of the day we walked one whole mile just going back and forth to and from the beach. 🙂

Later on, once we were back home I found this website that list and describe all the beaches that Sanible Island have. I wish I had found it earlier, but here I have it to share it with you. SanibelTrails.com

 

 

Shells and more shells!!
My kids playing around

 

 

 

The Funny Part of This Story!

Once we were settle, that we already enjoyed the warm water of the gulf, play and talk with the kids we sat under our umbrella to relax and read. My son Jay went for a run and my daughter, Jorge and me were ready to read each of us our own things. When suddenly Jorge tells me with a calm/hysterical voice:

Jorge: A shark! There is a shark! (I look at him, and I said)

Me: Jorge stop! That is not funny you could scare people!

Jorge: I am not kidding! I saw something on the water…

Me: It could be a dolphin, let me see.

I started to pay attention to the water, when I saw it!!!! I took my camara and run to the shore to recorded. Here is the video! Take a look! While I ran to the shore, I looked back saying… “Oh Jorge!”

 

 

 

View over the wooden bridge that takes you to the beach.

 

Next day we wanted to visit another beach on our way back home, I looked at the map and my eyes stop at Manasota Beach. After breakfast, we set the GPS to that direction, it was one hour drive. First thing, the parking is free!!! And there is plenty of it. Second, it was only 2 minutes walk or less, third there is live guard, (for those that like to feel secure) . Also had nice bathrooms, gazebos, and the best thing it wasn’t crowded. The water was nice and warm, the day was beautiful, the sand didn’t have as much shells as Bowman’s Beach. It was perfect! The wild blue yonder and the clouds were decorating the skies giving us a soothing view.

 

 

There is nothing better that have a calm and relaxing view, listening to the hypnotizing pattern of the waves, a book and all the people you love the most there with you.

Late in the afternoon we packed our things and headed back home…

 

 

Until then…

xamlinnette 🙂

 

 

My Dolphin River Encounter

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As we were going down the river, feeling the warmed touch of the sun in my face, the wind messing gently my hair, I breathe freedom. I felt like I was in an expedition far, far away from home, even we were only an hour away. I saw the different birds flying and resting along the line of mangroves that marks the river bank of the Indian River Lagoon. Looking to the water Jorge told me that he saw a big jellyfish, but I didn’t see it. I keep looking around, and I hear my daughter saying the same thing, I missed it again. With a Titanic kind of feeling, me and my family were in the bow, in the from part of the 45 ft tour boat. When Kelly, the owner of the Good Natured River Tours, offered the opportunity to go to the front of the boat where we could have a better experience, we were the only ones that took advantage of the offer. While her husband, Captain Bill Reynolds, was pointing out all the point of interests of the river banks, birds, interesting houses and more, I was on my search for marine mammals. Kelly told us that the dolphins in the lagoon were very friendly, and that sometimes from the beginning of the tour they are already greeting them, swimming along the boat. Well this time we were not that lucky, and specially me! Up to that point, I had not seen, not even a jellyfish, just few fishes and birds. Still of my not so lucky encounter with the wildlife, I was having a great relaxing time, it was getting warmer, the sun was strong in my eyes, even with sunglasses, but still I loved every minute of the view and of the my outdoor moment.

The Good Natured River Tour last two hours and goes along the Indian River between the Pineda Causeway which we crossed under until the Dragon Point Dr. (where in the very end of that tip of property used to be a Dragon House that eventually was destroy by weather) – passing that the tip we went into the Banana River just a little bit in, then turning back to Indian River again but we kept forward until we got to the Eau Gallie Causeway. There by the Eau Gallie Causeway is where we head back, this was our last chance to encounter the friendly mammals. Our hopes were up, Kelly kept looking around with her binoculars, she told us that there was a lot of movement in the area; like boats and jet-skis, more than usual. It was Labor Day, everybody was enjoying that extra day off like us. Until that moment, before we got to the Gallie Causeway I had my first encounter with wildlife, I saw a funny blue crab swimming desperately… jaja! it was my first time seeing a blue crab or any crab swimming. Well, I learned that actually they are excellent swimmers they even have special adapted appendages that are shaped as paddles… interesting, the only thing I knew about them beside that they are crabs is that they taste very good.
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The Captain was so nice that he kept our tour going until we found them! First we saw a solo dolphin, swimming around in his own business. We were excited, we took pictures of his fin, going up and down. “Well at least we saw one”, I said to myself.

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I felt bad for Kelly because she was looking and looking, but wildlife is unpredictable, it’s impossible to guarantee that they will be waiting for us to make us happy. But then!!! Oh my God!!! Then!!! Two super friendly dolphins came close, swam by the boat, jump and took a good look at us. Thanks God I stayed in the bow even though the sun was melting me away, definitely it was the better place in the boat to enjoy the encounter. The were so close to us, it was literally, like they came to say hello. I took a super cool video, and you will hear my crazy moment of joy, please try not to laugh… -____-

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We finished our day eating at the Grills Riverside restaurant, when you get this tour on Groupons like we did, it also includes a $5 voucher discount on food per person. We were 5 in total so we had $25 dollars discount on food!!
Food was great, and we even had dessert, fried cheesecake… Yummy!

xamlinnette 🙂