Sunday, November 9, 2014

Florida 2013, Part 7: New Smyrna Beach and Marine Discovery Center

When you’re staying at the beach, you do just that. The beach. I got up early and ran on the beach. I had done some other runs throughout the trip, but this was amazing. And beautiful. And amazing.

I was up before the sun and headed south along the beach. The birds (plovers?) were out digging for their clams before the sun, too. After heading south for a while, I turned around and started north again. The sun started to break over the watery horizon. When it was fully up, it reflected right back on the water making it seem like there were two fiery orbs.

These two guys cracked me up. Clearly, they had spent a grand night partying, and had passed out on the beach. By this time, there was a decent amount of foot traffic, and these guys weren’t waking up for anybody!

Footprints in the sand… Nothing to do with that lame story about how god carries the person having a hard time in life. Instead, this just means that at least three people had their running shoes laced up before me!

Sand sculpture… Proof that I was running… BAREFOOT! My first 5-miler with absolutely no shoes. I had intended to just give it a whirl for a mile or two, but it was awesome and I felt great, so I just kept going.

After I got back to the hotel, we had breakfast and went swimming. Then, it was off to the Marine Discovery Center for a cruise of the Indian River that lets into the ocean. This was quite a treat.

First – there were lots of birds. Lots and lots of birds. You can see where I’m going with this. (I should have been an ornithologist.)

Next – we didn’t have to go far to see dolphins. These dolphins actually inhabit the space between the fresh water and the salt water. They have adapted to this environment. We would have been happy with this, but we saw more and more. Sometimes swimming alone, sometimes in groups of two or three. It was so much fun.

Added bonus – manatees! Also known as sea cows, they are so dang cute. This guy got up close to our boat. The captain let us know that manatees will do this when they have been fed from the boats by tourists or locals. Then, they will approach a boat from deeper, and because they are slow swimmers, they will become injured by the propeller. So sad! Manatees don’t need people food, people!

Finally – not all boat rides are thrilling for little people, and that’s when you must get creative. Here, we see the hermit crab races. Do you have any idea how much or how fast hermit crabs walk? Not much. At all. But, hey - kept us busy!

Before bed, Meatball sent a message to Nana: “Dear Nana. I am at Costal [Coastal] Waters a hotel near the beach.” and another note to grandma "Dear Grama. I am Sam. Tooday we are going to the beach."

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