Well we were up pretty early and wondering what we were going to do today. All we knew was that our good friends Jeff & Stephanie and their two teenagers, Jeremy & Mallory, had flown in from Louisville last night to spend the week with Jeff's parents and aunt & uncle who have condos in the area.
We decided to come over to the east coast of Florida to do some visiting and we thought Jeff's parents or his aunt & uncle (who we also know) might just be here. We had no idea that Jeff & Steph were coming until just a couple of weeks ago. Good timing. :)
So, somewhere around 9:00 I called them. It turned out the condos were just a few minutes away in Palm Beach Gardens in the PGA National golf course community. They were having breakfast and invited us to join them for a boat ride. "We'll be there in half an hour!"
We threw on some clothes and drove over to Ron & Judy's (the uncle & aunt) condo. Stuart & Sheila (Jeff's parents) were also there. It was really nice seeing this family that we dearly love. They really make us feel like part of their family and we always have a good time. :)
Stephanie handed Linda our mail. One box included another thank you note and three boxes of girl scout cookies from Miller Insurance Agency. :) It sounds like lots of folks are giving them a call based on our recommendations. Now if we can just turn those cookies into cash. :) Well, even if we can't, they do a great job with RV and truck/car insurance and we'll keep recommending them.
After that, Linda and I both went into "follow along" mode. I joined the boys to pick up some drinks and get the boat ready. Linda stayed with the girls as they put lunch together while waiting for our call.
We arrived at Riviera Beach Marina, where Ron requested his friend John's boat be put in the water. As a side note, John hired me for my first job as an attorney. The boat sat way up on a rack in the storage area of the marina. I have to say that I have never seen a boat put in the water with one of these giant forklifts. Pretty neat.
Once the boat was in the water, Ron took on the role of Skipper and we helped get the boat cleaned up before adding gas & oil. Of the ten of us, I was probably number two in boat knowledge - and that was not a good thing. :) Jeff's favorite show as a kid was Gilligan's Island and there was no holding back that theme song. :)
Eventually, the boat was cleaned and ready to go. We spotted a manatee that surfaced right there in the busy marina area - that was a cool, unexpected treat. :)
The girls arrived with enough food for 20, and we loaded up. That's Ron driving, Stuart sitting next to him, Judy in front of Ron, Stephanie in front of Stuart, Jeff with the red hat, and Sheila at the front right.
After a shaky start, we made our way out into the intracoastal waterway. We slowly cruised along the island of Palm Beach. Jeremy took the wheel with Mallory beside him.
The rest of us full-grown kids relaxed - well, except for Stephanie who, as usual, was still organizing. :) Stephanie was my Executive Assistant through good times and bad and all the way up to my "retirement" - there is none better. Though Jeff and I have been friends since college, we have all become really close in the last few years.
As you can see, Linda and I took the helm for a photo op. :)
And Linda and Steph shared a "We're here and you're not" toast. :)
Well, since we were on the doorstep of the wealthy in Palm Beach, I had to show a few shots of a lifestyle with which we are neither familiar nor envious. I commented that there are several unfortunate kids living here that will never know what it is like to live in a trailer. :)
A long way from our reality with lots alone selling for $10,000,000 plus! :)
We turned around at one end of the island and made a slow return trip. We coasted along as the ladies broke out the food. Excellent - I was starving. :)
We took a peak out the channel to see the ocean -way too windy and wavy for us novice boaters to attempt that excursion. We continued on until Judy spotted a pair of dolphins. We turned and watched them for a few seconds before they disappeared.
Heading back toward the marina, we saw what seemed to me to be a public dock at a small island known as Peanut Island. We pulled in and tied up to check it out. The perimeter of the island was a park that included a mile and a quarter paved trail around the island, a snorkeling lagoon, and even a nice little tent campground.
We walked around the island checking things out. It was made from the remnants of dredging the intracoastal and channels. It was once supposed to be a center for the shipping of peanut oil. It also houses a bunker built for John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Most of the interior of the island is off limits to the public. The park is quite nice and offered some good views.
On the north end of the island, we noticed that the tide was out and sand bars were exposed. The ladies decided to wade out to the sand bars and walk around.
This shot is Linda preparing to test a shortcut back to the island - she made it a little further before it got too deep and she had to backtrack. :)
The group gathered back at the boat. A few of us scanned the water around the rocks for anything interesting. We saw a small, torpedo-shaped fish that I was later able to identify as a barracuda. A small, yellow stingray also appeared for a moment. I could sit and watch the comings and goings of the small ocean community for hours. :) Unfortunately, I was not fast enough to get photos of any of the sea life today.
Alas, we hopped back in the boat and finished our little ride back at the marina. We unloaded the gear and food and went back to Ron & Judy's patio home on one of the five golf courses at PGA national.
The group snacked and had drinks while I helped Ron switch computers. I got the new computer set up for internet access and got his anti-virus and anti-spyware software downloaded. I'll have to help him get his Microsoft Office products working tomorrow. A small price to pay for a boat ride, eats, and drinks. :)
It was a long, fun day. "Dinner out" turned into "pizza in." Good pizza!
My only worry was how to go through all my pictures, detail the day in a journal entry with photos, and still be back at Ron's in the morning for our 6:45 bass fishing appointment. I thought I could do it. Guess not. A rare time when the Journal entry had to wait. :)