Friday, 10 January 2014

Paddles and Pins

We made use of the fine weather to explore nearby Anna Maria Island. It was great to be able to shed the heavy winter gears and wear shorts and T-shirts! We noticed as we drove southwards that there was a proliferation of medical services, from medical centres, an array of specialties, allied health right up to huge hospitals. There were also many buildings for legal services. Where the doctors and lawyers are, there must be golf courses. And sure enough, we soon saw manicured lawns spring up around us.

Anna Maria Island was pretty and filled with geriatric residents (or perhaps tourists)? They walked, cycled and drove slowly and with little regard to traffic around them! We had initially planned to swim at the beach, but although pretty, they were honestly a little underwhelming. This included Siesta Key on the next barrier island further down south. It was voted the second best in the whole of America, and the signs all around boasted it as number 1. My American friends, I hope you don't take any offense. Coming from Australia, a land blessed with spectacular natural settings, including beaches, these beaches just can't compare. There are nice,but we struggled to see how this even comes close to the top. Nevertheless we still enjoyed walking along the sand and feeling the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Yes! We're finally back in T-shirts and shorts!

Scenery of blue upon blue

The shoreline on Anna Maria Island

We saw much wildlife along the drive, particularly birds

A photo of all three looking at the camera with no silly faces! Achievement!

About to walk to the Anna Maria City Pier

A fog despite the sun?

The only reason we're stopping to visit...

The path is promising

The beach itself although pretty and better than many other beaches is a little underwhelming

Southern Fried Salad...must be healthy
We ate a quick lunch and drove back down the mainland towards Fort Myers. We had to get to the kayak rental point by by midafternoon. Poor Jonah's imagination had run wild no thanks to his siblings and he was petrified that there were alligators and piranhas in the water that was going to him. After some convincing, we managed to get him onto the kayak. We paddled along segments of the Great Caluso Blueway Trail, a 190 mile paddling trail through the bays and islands of the Lee County Coast and the Caloosahatchee River. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to do a full guided tour, nor was it manatee season. We also didn't have time to paddle far out enough to see dolphins. However, we did many mullets jumping out of the water and plenty of birdlfe including the great blue heron and osprey. Surprisingly there was no one else around. We returned our kayaks at the closing time of 5pm and headed towards our hotel for the night. We had one last stop to make...the Miromar outlets. How convenient that it was only 10 minutes away and that it had a Disney Outlet! We acquired some very outdated but very cheap pins to trade at disneyland. As it was late when we finished at the shops, we ate at the nearby Applebee's. The service was unfortunately slow and by the time we checked into our room at Bonita Springs, it was close to 9pm. Everyone crashed shortly after.

Fort Myers

A segment of the Great Caluso Blueway Trail

That's my mother pretending to do some padding

These two finally got it together towards the end

A repeat of last nights' dinner

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