Fun at the Mote Marine Aquarium

10 02 2010

At the Mote Aquarium, my friend Cam purchased a bucket of sand for $6 and the kids got to mine through it for shark’s teeth over a trough with running water. They had a blast finding various types of shark teeth and fossilized stingray tails. We all got a chance to touch several types of stingrays (a first for me!). Over at the laboratory, we watched two resident dolphins do tricks with their trainers and met Harry and Buffet, the manatees. There are several sea turtles at the laboratory, too.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


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Dolphins, oh my! and snorkeling gone awry

3 08 2009

On June 2, the day after Chantell and Austin’s sailboat wedding in Key West, our entire group went back out to sea in two boats for our great dolphin watch and snorkeling adventure. As Captain Gary predicted, we did see a plethora of dolphins. He told us that they were taking an afternoon siesta—that explained why they didn’t come up really close to the boat or show their faces very often—but I still got some nice record shots.

The morning started off beautifully—smooth aqua-colored water, sun in the sky, dolphins encircling both boats. We got to the snorkeling spot and disembarked. By the time I got the hang of the mask-in-the-water-tube-above-water-don’t-forget-to-breathe procedure (thanks to Kathy), the waves picked up (making it hard to keep the salt water out of our tubes!). We knew it was getting a bit dangerous to stay out. The sky went from sunny and blue to a menacing shade of gray. The boats were rocking so violently that we had trouble even getting back into the boat when our trusty captains called us in. The snorkeling jaunt was supposed to be 45 minutes long—we weren’t in the water more than 20+ minutes before the weather ended it all. The ride back to shore was incredibly violent and the rain started coming down so hard that we were soaked by the time we got back to the dock. It was so choppy that I couldn’t even shoot photos to show how rough the weather was! Despite the rocky and abrupt ending to our adventure, we certainly had a “Champion!” morning—as Zimbabwe-born Captain Gary had promised.

The Muchemore family was on Captain Gary’s boat. Michael and I shared a boat with A.J. and his girlfriend, Christina (the couple shown in two of the photos below). A.J. is in the Army and was home on leave from Afghanistan and vacationing in Key West with Christina. The two met in Pontiac, IL (where he is from) four years ago and became the best of friends, which evolved into a “fairytale love story,” according to Christina. When he gets home in December (they’re hoping), he’ll be moving to Schaumburg, IL, where Christina majors in Interior Design at the Art Institute. She plans on getting her masters in architecture. A.J. will attend Harper Community College to finish his degree. And it appears that there’s an engagement and wedding in their future—need a photographer, Christina?

Check out these links below for more photos from our weekend in Key West, including Chantell and Austin’s wedding:

Birds of a feather
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/what-20-bucks-will-get-ya-in-key-west/

A rather unusual tree
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/amazing-tree-in-downtown-key-west/

Weekend in Key West
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/04/weekend-in-key-west/

Here lizard, lizard, lizard
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/here-lizard-lizard-lizard/

Cloudspotting
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/cloudspotting-spinal-column/

Much more of the Muchemores
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/much-more-of-the-muchemores/

Muchemore redux
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/25/muchemore-redux/

Chantell and Austin
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/chantell-and-austin-on-the-pier/

Yes, another wedding photo…
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/yes-another-wedding-photo/

The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/the-key-west-butterfly-and-nature-conservatory/

A few more butterflies…
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/a-few-more-butterflies/

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

SnorkelAdventure





Weekend in Key West!

4 06 2009

That title should explain my brief (and abrupt) exit from my blog. Michael and I flew into Key West on Saturday afternoon. We spent that evening exploring Key West, followed by a visit to a botanical garden and a butterfly conservatory on Sunday. Late Sunday afternoon we met up with the parents of the groom, Kathy and Kevin (groom’s parents), who are my parent’s neighbors in San Antonio. They had asked us to join them at their timeshare in Key West; the trip soon morphed into the impromptu sailboat-at-sunset wedding of their son, Austin, and his lovely bride, Chantell. I was asked to photograph the event and was thrilled to do so. This is just one of the photos I’ll be posting. I shot this shortly after they said their “I do’s.” (Notice the sunset behaved well for the shot, too!) It was the most fun wedding I’ve ever photographed (and I’ve shot over 100 of them since college)! Chantell and Austin—with their unbridled energy, enthusiasm, and sparkling white smiles (not much to improve in Photoshop there!)—were such a joy to photograph. Perfect weather, perfect wedding, perfect couple with perfect smiles, perfect day!

We had to get back so I could photograph an event for the American Horticultural Society (which I’m leaving for now, in fact), so we (sadly) couldn’t stay with them the rest of the week. This was our second time in Key West, but we saw quite a bit more than we did on our first trip many years ago. I felt like we were in some exotic country—almost forgot we were still in the U.S. It’s quite a different atmosphere—lizards, iguanas, roosters and chickens running loose everywhere…very laid-back atmosphere…brightly colored cottages and exotic flowers in bloom…and bicyclists and mopeds galore. It was a short but very adventurous four days!

More photos to come of botanical garden lizards and flowers, butterflies, Key West shots, parrots, Hemingway’s house, cats, boats, interesting clouds, dolphins, snorkeling…and, of course, more wedding and sailboat shots.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Chantell Austin Wedding