Florida 7/12

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Florida July 2012

To me the essence of the Florida 2011 trip was this moment:

We're on the beach just north of Cocoa Pier with the Murphy's, under a canopy, eating lunch.  Dash, finished with lunch, gets up as if in a trance, and heads to the water (I'm following him 50 feet behind, Helicopter Parent that I am).  He heads straight into the water, up to about his nipples, stops and as if awakening from the trance, starts looking around to figure out what to do.

In San Diego, you go into the water, but you have a plan first:  full wetsuit or short wetsuit; are you boogie boarding? better have everything ready, 'cuz you've only got a sort amount of time before the hypothermia sets in.   Florida: the default position is in the water. 

Last year was wonderful, Leigh and I were, stressed from work, were really looking forward to this trip. 

Two days in, we already have a theme.  Last year seems to have been The Sand Castle Year, this year is about the waves, and today is forever The Day of the Duck Dive.

Yesterday, Day 1, we head to Dan and Corrine's and then caravan to New Smyrna.  We pull into a spot on the beach. Low tide, the water is far away.  We slather Dash up with sunscreen and start unloading the car.  I couldn't see if Dash was in a trance, but he is drawn straight to the water, heading straight in again.  After setting up the base camp, my next six hours or so was this pattern over and over: 

Dash and Zoe head into the waves with their boogie boards.  I guard.  We're on a sandbar Dash-sternum-deep. Dash is more interested in using his board to "beat" the oncoming waves than to actually ride the waves.  Zoe is asking me questions, "What is the most extreme thing you've ever done?"    She catches the odd wave, rides it in, wades back, "What is your most extreme animal story?".  The whole time, the undertow is moving us north at probably half a full walking pace.  We drift 300 yards north past the lifeguard chair, wade into shore, I gather their boogie boards to carry and we head back to our base camp to hang a left back into the water.  This goes on pretty much  six hours except for a lame token sand castle and lunch.  Towards the end of the day, Dash seems to get the hang of riding the waves.

We head back to the Martin's house, where Zoe and Dash spend almost the entire time in the pool.  Corrine serves tacos and cheese cake Zachary share some bottle rockets.

Today, same routine... Dash immediately heads straight to the water.  I'm with Zoe and Dash; Leigh and Corrine say "Danny and Zachary are out on the sand bar, go join them."  I swim out to join them and spend the next 30 minutes or so walloped, pummeled, tumbled.  Life is good.

Returning to Zoe and Dash, Dash is choosing to attack the waves without the boogie board.  At some point, someone teaches him to Duck Dive.  The remainder of day consists of ever-cocky Dash in relatively deep water attacking waves that are walloping me.  Mostly he Duck Dives under them: big wave breaking, him diving underwater, but surfacing first, feet down head up, wiping the water off his forehead... He is like a cork: 45 lbs, skinny, waves taller than him, not experienced enough to see the hubris of it all.  The Duck Diving goes on for hours.

Sleeps all the way home (6:30p EDT (3:30p PDT)).  He's sleeping now.

Two awesome days.

Monday, we decided to hit Busch Gardens.  That evening radar pointed out that most of Central Florida was clear -- outside of the Tampa area.  Lightning pretty much closed all the rides for the day.  We didn't know and they were EXTREMELY reluctant to give any indication about what they knew.  Three hours in line for a roller coaster before saying "to heck with it".  Not a big loss overall (the highlight was the preferred parking).  The weather for the remainder of the trip was fine.


Tuesday was Mom and Smyrna.    We didn't actually see Mom prior to Tuesday (at one point I was considering parking behind Mom so that she'd come say hello before she went to work).  Waves were a little less suitable for boarding or duck diving; we spent more time moving sand (holes and castles).  Dash came up with idea that I should aim all my sand at him instead of onto the castle.  "Dodge Dirt".  Hey, whatever makes him giggle.



And Norwoods.  King Crab was twice as expensive as last year (a shortage); lobster was a bargain.


Wednesday was Cocoa.  Unlike Smyrna where sandbars break up the waves, Cocoa's bottom was one long gradient, which provided long gently breaking waves.  Dash for the first time ever spent most of the day actually using the Boogie Board to Boogie Board.  He found that he could go longer (with the board) could easily outdistance me without one.   So it was all about beating me every wave.  Fine with me, Bona Fide Boogie Boarder.

Dash's lobster the night before caused some explosive gas...


Actually, this is debris from another round of "Dodge Dirt".

Thursday was back to Smyrna.  Thursday night we went to Boing to join Zoe and family on trampolines.


Friday:  Meeting Sean and Aunt Anna at Cocoa

Saturday: Pontoon boat from Turkey Creek to Sebastian Inlet with Anna, Patrick, and Sean. 


That night, Dinner at "Grills".  Really nice atmosphere. 

Dash and Sean waiting for dinner (still coloring the kids menus) Dash with Sesame Seared Ahi (on the way out he had Sashimi in the Airport).  He's into it.

Shooting Hoops


Sunday Cocoa Beach with  punctuated by a violent squall line sending us home (I detoured through Kennedy Space Center).

Monday:  Airboat rides (at Midway (Highway 50 and the St. John's River)


Really cool: the high water line from Hurricane Fay in 2008 (it's not an optical illusion, it just looks like one)



Grandma and Dash

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