One of the great things about Fort Myers Beach Florida in November is my parents move all of their friends south. And that means that their friends children come to Fort Myers Beach for a vacation as well. Our closest family friends had two of their three kids down the week that we were there, which was great since we don’t see each other often and we got to ditch the old people together and re-bonded by Sea-Dooing with the dolphins in the ocean!
We started our day bright and early meeting in front of the condo at 9:00, we drove down to Times Square in Fort Myers Beach. We met our captain – I don’t remember his name either, but we named him Captain Jack, as in Captain Jack Sparrow.
After signing our lives away, and initialing about 50 different statements about which we were told, “Don’t worry about those we’ll go over it with our safety demo,” we were off to the safety demo. There, Captain Jack’s assistant told us how to make the Sea-Doo go, how to stop, and the various signals that our fearless Captain would be giving us out on the water. The last demo was about the safety clip, that clips to your life jacket, and to the emergency stop so should you fall off the Sea-Doo will stop, “but don’t worry, it’s pretty calm out there today, so no one should fall off.” Famous last words.
We were told to idle out between some buoys and wait for Captain Jack. When he got there our Cap’n said “Alright! Let’s go find some dolphins!” and he was off, before I even knew what was happening our leader was gone like a shot!
I should mention here two side notes. One, the boy was unsure about participating at all, because he generally worries about safety and doesn’t really like to do anything dangerous, unless of course there’s alcohol involved in which case all inhibition goes right out the window. So, he didn’t want to drive – too nervous. Two, when we were signing our lives away Captain Jack’s assistant asked the boy and I who would be driving. I said I would but we would like to switch half way through. The assistant said to the boy, “How old are you?” The boy answered, “28” First mate, “Oh, okay that’s old enough.” What?!
So I was driving, and the boy was holding on saying “Slow down!” Well, I couldn’t very well slow down, we’d lose them completely so I went about 60-65 km/h. Before we knew it Captain Jack was telling us to cut the engines as we floated around 2 dolphins. We watched them for a while, and then moved on to find some more.
At our next stop we found 3 very active dolphins and a manatee! The boy was very surprised how big the dolphins were, and as for the manatee, while it was cool to know we were right near one, we mostly only saw a grey hump in the water – it could have been an old tire for all we knew. We did learn that a manatee’s closest relative is an elephant! This stop was one of our best views of a dolphin up close, we were floating around watching them when one came out of the water right in front of us, and swam alongside our Sea-Doo, very cool.
Next stop, 2 more… more of the same, and time to switch. With a little instruction on how to switch without getting wet, (from our friends, not Jack) we managed and I was now the passenger. Now timid boy was driving and I was feeling slightly nauseous as he figured out how to accelerate and how to slow down. More of the same by way of dolphins, although the next group included some babies.
Now that we had seen A LOT of dolphins, Captain Jack took us out to play on the Sea-Doos, as we made our way back home. The boy’s confidence was growing as he started jumping the wakes from those in front of us and going much faster than he had requested that I go. At one point I told him, “I’m going to be sick on the back of your head if you don’t slow down.” He laughed at me… malicious.
Off we go, heading for home, I’m holding on with all my might, thinking “my inner thighs are going to be sore tomorrow… I’m going to fly off this thing if we don’t get back soon… this is WAY faster than he wanted me to go… I’m going to be sick… I can’t believe I’m holding his hat… if I fall off that’s the end of this hat… I’m going to be sick.” When we hit a wave, and I flew up off my bum, we hit another wave, I flew up again, and I was actually standing, not letting go… and screaming “SLOW DOWN!” We hit another wave, I flew off the back, but I don’t let go… I’ll teach that boy, you throw me off the Sea-Doo, you’re coming too! What choice did I have really, if I hadn’t taken him with me he probably wouldn’t have noticed I was gone. After all, he obviously didn’t hear me screaming at him that I was going to fall, or to slow down!
We’re in the water, swimming in the very water that the dolphins are… we are swimming with the dolphins. The Sea-Doo, did indeed stop, but it still required a swim, I told the boy to go get it and come and get me. Our friends stopped to see we were okay and then cheered, “That was awesome!” Captain Jack, NO WHERE TO BE SEEN! In fact it took the time for us to fall off, swim, get back on and starting driving for a few minutes before we saw any sign of our mighty Captain. He gave us a thumbs up, we gave one back and we drove the final 2 minutes back to the buoys. That’s right, our adventure was 4 minutes from home.
We definitely earned our drinks with lunch, as we recounted in play-by-play how exactly we ended up in the water.
What about the hat? Oh I saved it, I lost the sunglasses that I had on though, so I was forced to spend the afternoon shopping for new glasses, Oakley Outlet $60 SWEET!
So that was the highlight.
The lowlight, while immediately afterward I was in quite a bit of pain, about 2 hours later it wasn’t going away and my ribs were really hurting, and I really couldn’t get comfortable sitting, and especially lying down. I tried the hot tub, which felt good while I was in it, but unfortunately I couldn’t sleep in the hot tub.
As for the boy, well he was feeling fine although to be fair feeling REALLY guilty, as he should. But his guilt and sad puppy face made me try not to complain about the pain too much, because he just looked so sad every time I winced.
Tomorrow, can’t sleep, can’t golf, can barely walk… might as well shop!
Where are the pictures? We didn’t bring a camera because I didn’t want it to get wet, now we know that there is a glove compartment in a Sea-Doo, and we could have kept one there, so there are no pictures… alas, earwax.