Monday, September 22, 2008

Fun in the Sun

We are back from our anniversary celebration. We went to Naples, FL (and Marco Island). It was lovely and quiet in FL this time of year. Since it's typically hurricane season in that area, we didn't have to fight the crowds. It was in the upper 90's with humidity that rivalled Vietnam.

One of the highlights of our trip was a 2 1/2 hour jet ski tour of Marco Island and the Everglades. What a great way to explore the coast with easy access to areas otherwise unavailable to larger boats. Our guide took us to what used to be inhabited by million dollar homes but was hit by hurricane Andrew several years back. Talk about desolation. With the shell of the homes still standing, it is amazing to see how powerful these storms really are.
We saw sharks, manatees, and dolphins (playful and close enough we could've touched them). The only thing we didn't see were alligators and crocs. I was okay with that. Among these creatures, I was reminded just how little we are both in size and place in this world. The manatees alone were 1200 pounds and swam eerily under us while keeping their distance. They were checking us out as we were them.

We asked one of our waiters for beach recommendations. He told us to hang out at the Naples Beach Club (typically private) and the Marriott on Marco Island. Since it wasn't high season, both places welcomed paying customers at their bars, spas, and beaches. What fun!

People could rinse and dry the shells they found at the shell stations along the beach on Marco Island. The shells were amazing. We found a few uninhabited giant conch shells that we kept along with many different shells like the ones pictured above. Now if I can just get the smell of rotting fish out of them.

If you look closely in the skyline of the picture above, you can see thousands of dragonflies. They were flying around everywhere.

This big guy (~ 4") was hanging out on one of our paths. I'm not sure what he is exactly, but he is certainly magnificent in both size and color.

Small lizards were scurrying everywhere. This guy hung out on the side of our condo as did many others.

There were also lots of little frogs. Some were the size of flies. This particular frog was about the size of a quarter. I think my husband was a National Geographic wildlife photographer in a former life. Otherwise, I couldn't explain all out macro pictures of these little creatures.

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