Archive for January 1st, 2006

Having our kicks in 2006!

Doug smiles big with the manatee. We left the house at 5:45 AM to make our way to a river off the Gulf of Mexico and swim with sea manatees. When we arrived, it seemed we might not be able to do it because we didn’t have a reservation made in advance, but two groups cancelled and so that freed up space on a boat for the six of us. We had 5 minutes to get our gear and put on our wet suits. That was an adventure in itself! The girls decided not to squeeze in the bathroom and put them on, but just quickly do it in the main entrance. We all were given mediums. Well…our bottoms and our tops aren’t necessarily the same size. We were squeezed in pretty good. I think they just wanted to see us struggling to pull the things on ourselves. Anyway, we make it on the boat along with boy scouts from Tennessee and head to a little bay area off Crystal River.

We lower ourselves into the water with our scuba masks and flippers and start swimming to the area where manatees lounge. It took a while for us to see our first manatee. I have to admit, I was a little nervous to see my first one right next to me…but not as nervous as I thought I would be. My first time ever in Florida, as a youngster. We petted them and looked at them. They aren’t the most gorgeous creatures in the world. But our captain described them as dogs wrapped in a giant baked potato. They were much friendlier than most dogs I’ve run across. We saw close to 20 different sea cows, along with some other varieties of animals. I wish we would have run across some colorful fish, but we weren’t in the colorful fish area, I guess. We were in the hour for an hour and a half and then headed back to the boat. It was a great experience and we took pictures with an underwater disposable camera. I considered opting out, but thanks to Miles’ convincing, I did it. I thought they’d be bringing us to deep waters in the ocean. Shows how stupid I am.

We relaxed all afternoon and evening. We had a Cinderellabration, just like in Disney World. Ours was better. Heather, Jackie, and Bryan slept almost up until the ball dropped in New York. I worked on pictures we had taken to make them look prettier and such. I called Miles when it hit midnight in Orlando and he called me when it hit midnight in the Midwest. I was already sleeping at that point. Then we got some sleep for our last day in Orlando.

At Universal Studios. We headed to Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure for some fun in the sun. We got there before the park opened, so we beat the crowd. Apparently New Year’s Day morning is the least busy time, so we rode 7 rides before noon rolled around. Rides ridden today include: Dueling Dragons roller coaster(twice), Hulk roller coaster, Spiderman, Flyin’ Unicorns (by accident), Jurassic Park River, Dr. Doom’s Fearfall, and watched the stunt show The 8th Voyage of Sinbad. Dueling Dragons and Hulk were favorites, while Jurassic Park scared the crap out of us, and Dr. Doom was a huge disappointment. A good day, all in all. We shopped for a little bit and ate a snack at the “#1 Theme Park Restaurant in the World.” Then the boys decided it would be a good idea to watch King Kong in the cinema at Universal Studios. The girls weren’t all that interested in seeing the movie in theaters mainly because it was 3 hours long, but decided to humor them and tag along. I was asleep by the end of the previews and for the first hour of the movie. I must be getting sick because I never get so tired so fast, nor do I sleep during movies. I woke up at the first appearance of King Kong and apparently didn’t miss out on any of the plot line. The last two hours of the movie were pretty decent. But I could have been just fine if it were cut down to being not so long. Some things were a bit ridiculous, but also humorous at times as well with Kong’s jealousy and what have you. Turns out, all three boys had seen the movie already; this irritated me, but am still glad to have seen it. We returned to the house and are cooking, packing, and putting Heather’s pictures on my computer. We’ll probably consume the last episode of The Office as well. We fly out tomorrow morning and brace ourselves for the weather. See you all soon!

OK, bye bye!