My camera on my phone had a cracked lens cover and I forgot my other camera, so we didn't get as many good photos as usual, but surprisingly, many did turn out. It's always fun to get away from home for a while and we really enjoyed Florida.
We stayed at the Hyatt "Aqualea" on Clearwater Beach. We could see the Gulf of Mexico and the beach from our room which also overlooked the pool which was on the 8th floor.
The first day we went and saw Hope and Winter at the Clearwater Aquarium, a marine rescue facility that was in the movies Dolpin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2. I think Alice's favorite was the stuffed animals!
On the second day we went bottom fishing for Hogfish with Above Average Charters. Alice slept nearly the entire ride, but Clyde was so excited. He caught the first fish and the most fish! We went about 9 miles off shore and fished in rocky bottoms. A lot of the Gulf is flat and sandy but they know where the rocks are so we were pretty quickly catching. We were looking for Hogfish, but caught a lot of White Grunts, a Scamp Snapper, 3 Hogfish, 2 "Mother in Law" fish and a Porgy. We used shrimp for bait and the bottom was 80-82 feet down. It was a perfect morning. We were lucky we booked that morning because in the afternoon the cold and wind came in for a few days. The captain fileted our fish, giving the scraps to a bunch of pelicans that gathered. Then we took them over to Crabby Bill's where they fried them up for us.
On the coldest day (on which Clyde was also feeling ill) we attempted to go beachcombing at Pinellas County Beach, but it was so cold we gave up quickly. There were actually some guys out trying to surf since the storm had brought some waves with it. Brrrr!
The next day we doubled up and visited the Florida Aquarium and Busch Gardens. It was a little chilly, but we were happy to be in the amusement park when it wasn't crowded.
The goliath grouper was my favorite at the aquarium. And I loved their collection of seahorses and pipefish.
We loved seeing the animals at Busch Gardens and we got to see a live show with trained animals.
Clyde went on a few rides, but Alice is our daredevil....
All day, she just kept saying she wanted to do Cheetah Hunt, so last ride of the day, we did it. Ben had my phone, but here's a photo of the ride.
Yikes! It was the longest ride in the park at 3/4 mile. I had fun riding with her. I was amazed she wasn't more scared.
A giant waffle cone was a perfect end to the day.
We spent the last few days resting on the beach and catching up with a few people. I got to see my junior year college roommate after 20 years. That was a highlight!
There was a playground by the pier so we could chat while the kids played. So good to catch up. We also visited Joe Schwarz who lives on Longboat Key. That area, a bit more exclusive, was beautiful.
All in all, it was a great time. It's good to get away once a year. Especially when we're working 7 days a week for so much of the rest of it!