Key Biscayne and Everglades

We headed to Miami area for some diving. On the way south we explored Big Cypress and Everglades NP. Mom took us on a 20 mile off-road trip through the swamps and ecosystems of the everglades. We didn’t see any python or gators but saw lots of huge gar in the water on the stops we made. We also saw the plague of locusts. Well, really it was just a huge hatching brood of lubber grasshoppers. They were all over the road! Mom was trying to drive around them but finally gave up.  We got to the boat that was taking us out to dive. A huge storm kicked up and we were stuck on the boat in a huge thunderstorm for an hour. The water was really rough. Mom got sick.

The first dive site of the day was a 40ft deep wreck. I was nervous about the 40 feet part so stayed on the boat with Mom. The second dive was a 20-30 foot reef dive and I was so happy! I finished my certification!

Back at the hotel to celebrate with a group pizza party. I was so excited to get back out on the water tomorrow.

The next day Mom raced off the boat and into the water to avoid the seasickness. She was able to get in the first dive. I loved all the sea life we saw including a nurse shark, ray and so many different fish. Mom got sick again after the first dive and called it quits on the deck. Dad, B and I went in for dive #4 of the trip but the water wasn’t as clear and we didn’t see much.
What a great group of people to share our weekend with. I am looking forward to more diving in the future!

Summer Fun Happens So Fast

We went to Hudson Grotto for our first certification dives. I geared up and actually got in the water. I didn’t like the tannin water color and clarity and had a little panic. I opted to not do my dive today. I will get certified it will just take a little longer. Mom, Dad and B got theirs done! Mom wasn’t happy with the water either but she got through it.  School is chugging along. I have pre-algebra, 8th grade science, business keyboarding, civics and more writing language arts stuff. I am really enjoying my academics this year. I love when B takes time to show me fun things that he is learning too! We do a Wildlife Wednesday video seminar every month and this month it was on sea turtles. I love these breaks from the other school work. We made a cat trap. We trapped Thunder almost immediately! I had my first live lesson for 8th grade science and it was painful. It was an introduction to chemistry, which I already know a lot of. My teacher actually texted me during the lesson and asked me to not answer more questions and let the other kids have a shot. We had a Not Back to School party at Airheads. I loved all the new climbing walls and ninja warrior courses. We read all the political ads that came in the mail all week and picked quickly who we would not vote for just based on the ads and the slander and nastiness the ads had. We found some old smoke bombs and other fireworks and had fun playing “paint the driveway with smoke”. I had a make-up SCUBA lesson to build my confidence before the next dive. We are working on a Wildlife Science book for 4-H this year. So we have been monitoring the bird feeders. I am the club treasurer again this year. We wrapped up the next dive at Rainbow River! I just need one more little dive soon and I will be SCUBA certified. We saw huge gar, hungry fish and so many other cool things in the river. I really am loving SCUBA! Mr. Keith has been an AWESOME instructor!

Home and Settling Back In

We haven’t been home in this part of the summer for several years. We tried to pass the time inside and away from the heat but sometimes you just have to be outside. B and I had a huge silly string fight. I learned I like peaches?We cranked the AC down and snuggled the cats, who missed us dearly. We have been taking SCUBA classes. I am really enjoying it! Testing out my new shorty wetsuit! I am cold in the 84F swimming pool so this was the next solution for me. It really helps! 

Escaping the Crowds

Ahhh…. fresh air!  We opted to skip out on the last day of the HOP and spend some time communing with nature. We all needed this, badly! We found Clarence Fahnestock State Park and plotted out a nice 6-7 mile hike. The weather was amazing! We grabbed our bug collecting gear, water and snacks and hit the trail. 

The trail followed along three lakes and was about 6-7 miles long.  Soon we were deep int he woods without anyone else in sight! Our happy places! There were little creeks along the trail that we checked for aquatic animals. The terrain shifted drastically as we wandered the trail. What a break from the craziness of the city. These are honest for forced smiles. It is amazing how nature just makes us happy. Part of the Appalachian Trail. The final stretch was along the road but there weren’t many cars. We enjoyed an ice cream treat from a place Dad went as a kid often. Back at the campground for time on the jumpy pad. I jumped for several hours! I was completely exhausted and ready to go home!