Sat Nov 29 - Day THREE - Cocoa Beach and a Boat Ride
After hardly any sleep again, I woke up and got ready while my sleeping boys did what could not do. All night, some guy in the room next to us would cough every few minutes and wake me up, if I had fallen asleep. I wasnt very happy about getting so little sleep once again, but after we all headed down to breakfast, I felt a lot better. Once again, the weather looked perfect! I was so glad we lucked out yet another day!
We decided that since our boat trip was at 1:00, we would go explore the Cocoa Beach area a bit. Our first stop was the Ron Jon surf shop. Nana desperately needed sunglasses after having none the day before. Shed forgotten hers at home. We picked out a nice stylish pair for her - movie star! The beach was a block away, so we got a little shovel for Lucas and headed down to the Atlantic ocean. Scott (and Lucas, of course) had never been to the Atlantic, so this was pretty darn cool. We enjoyed the beach for about an hour and watched all the sand birds run in and out of the waves. Very cute! Nana finally convinced Lucas to go touch the water and once he did, he was stomping around on the wet beach like a happy puppy! He also decided to lay back in the dryer sand and make a sand angel resulting in a very sandy kid! But, he had fun.
We left the beach and took a drive farther down Cocoa Beach, then turned around and stopped at a Publix grocery store for some snacky -type food before we went to the boat. We ended up standing in the parking lot, eating out of the tailgate of our rental car. Fun times . . . After a quick trip back to the hotel to de-sand ourselves, we were off to Kelly Park, just across the river from our hotel.
The Space Coast Boat Tour boat, the Blue Dolphin, was docked and ready to welcome us aboard. I could tell this was going to be a fun trip. As we waited for everyone to board, I noticed the boat captain get off the boat and make a call on his cell phone. A second later, my phone rang (which is the Mickey Mouse Club theme song, in case you were wondering).
Hi, this is Space Coast Tours
I looked up and said, Hi - yeah, were right here.
He looked back and I waved at him. He busted up laughing. Apparently, his wife forgot to mark us off the list as we boarded. Really, they had us down twice, for some reason and she had marked off one but not the other. All that waiting, and the extra party didnt even exist. Everyone was laughing at what had happened. OK! Well, everyones here, lets go!
It was a VERY fun tour, and I highly recommend going if you are ever in the area. As we headed up the Banana River, the first mate (and captains wife) Michelle, handed out drinks and chips. But this was not to be our only snack! Oh no! There was more to come. We putted along, slowly, as not to disturb the manatees. Manatees? Where? Well, none yet. Maybe later. There were plenty of birds to see. Both brown and white pelicans, cormorants, ibis, egrets, heron, etc. We passed through the small locks, which compared to the Ballard locks in Seattle, was a very small operation! The boat stopped at Fishlips, the restaurant from the night before, and a couple men came out and handed them several trays of goodies for us to try. Delish! Hot wings, sandwiches, veggies. All very good.
On the way back we went past the Carnival Glory and the Disney Magic ships then through the locks once more. On the other side the captain suddenly slowed down and said, folks! We have a manatee! He drove up closer to the shore as this big, lumbering, potato of an animal came slowly up toward the boat. He stuck his little nostrils barely out of the water. I was so excited, I was shaking. A real wild manatee! Oh happy day! I tried taking photos, but not many did him justice. He slowly drifted away from us and we continued on our way.
At this point, we had already reached our two-hour tour, but Captain Mark said if no one objected, hed like to continue our tour up the canal and see some dolphins. Why not? No one seemed to mind a bit. We had perfect weather, food, nice people to chat with. Life is good.
And then there they were! Dolphins! Happy day again! Of course, they were a bit far away, so all the photos I took are of teeny little dorsal fins sticking out of the water. There was even a mama and baby. THAT was neat to see. The water in that area of the Banana River is only 3-4 feet deep, so they never submerged very far. We saw a total of seven dolphins on the tour. Wonderful and unforgettable.
On the way back, Michelle handed us coupons for free appetizers at Fishlips. It was decided, by the family, that we would just have to go back. It was good, why not? After docking, we thanked everyone, tipped the first mate and her little grand daughters who helped out, and went to the playground for some Lucas time. He ran and ran and ran. He had been great on the boat and deserved some time to play. Lucas loved the tour too - of course, he loves marine life, so this was quite an experience for him.
The idea had been thrown out early in the day that maybe we could do some mini-golf, and since the light was staring to get low, we decided why not now. We had seen a Funtasia Mini Golf in Cocoa Beach that looked fun and got there about 5:00. After 18 holes of fun, we went to Fishlips for our appetizer dinner. Between all of us, we had: spinach artichoke dip, onion rings, peel-n-eat shrimp, wonton shrimp, nachos and some extra chips. Opa had a martini. Scott and Nana had beers and Lucas and I had smoothies. Half way through dinner, Lucas conked out on Scotts lap. The poor kid was pooped! So were we, so we finished up and headed back to the hotel to pack for our next round of fun.
Tomorrow, were off to Walt Disney World, and a quick trip to visit my 94-year-old great-aunt. A day of transition, as Opa says. Busy day ahead!