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.

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A few more butterflies…

28 06 2009

…from the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

28 06 2009

While in Key West, we visited the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory before we met up with the Muchemore family for the big event—Chantell and Austin’s wedding.

This conservatory is definitely one of our favorites now! As you walk around the winding pathway through the conservatory, you’ll hear classical music playing. Not only are there 60+ species of butterflies, they also have an array of exotic birds, tropical plants and a koi pond. Ever notice that most butterfly conservatories are hot and humid? That’s the case here, except for the strategically placed cool air tubes throughout the conservatory—these are to help cool the air for the birds. We humans appreciated that touch on a hot Florida day, too! There’s also a Learning Center and a wonderful gift shop. Founders Sam Trophia and George Fernandez established the Conservatory and the Trophia Butterfly Foundation in January 2003. Read more about Sam Trophia in this article on www.SunSentinel.com.

I photographed a plethora of butterflies at the Wings of Fancy exhibit at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland last year. If you fancy butterflies, click here and here to see those photos. I often find butterfly subjects to photograph in our garden—check out the Monarchs I photographed last fall here. Last year I designed a Monarch Butterfly Habitat poster for my friend Mary Ellen of Happy Tonics in Shell Lake, Wisconsin.

I have no idea what kind of butterfly this is below, but it’s a beauty, isn’t it? I made a half-hearted attempt to identify it for you but it’s late and I need some shut-eye (it may surprise some of you, but yes, I do sometimes sleep).

As my father often writes on his blog www.thekingoftexas.wordpress.com, “I’ll get back to you later with more details.”

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Butterflylorez