Gone Fishin'

We took a deep sea fishing trip and I came away battered, bruised and sore. I can barely move. 

We headed to Fort Myers Beach and boarded Capt. Tony's boat. This is your typical "cattle" boat. They line you up elbow to elbow and you generally spend most of your time trying to not get tangled with the person next to you. The boat ended up being about 3/4 full even though it's the off season.

There's a straight up stairway on the front of the boat to get to the top deck. We were just hanging out up there waiting for them to get started. Just as the captain fired up the engines we decided to go downstairs. I took one step down and my foot slipped out from underneath me. I landed on my ass and went whacka, whacka, whacka all the way down to the bottom. I came out with huge bruises on my wrist, my ankle and one hell of a sore butt. Great start!

Here's Mike doing some fishing. They use really heavy spinning bait caster type rods and reels. You don't do any real casting, you just drop it straight down to the bottom. The rods are heavy and have a very long butt at the end so I couldn't hold it in one hand while reeling with the other. I managed by shoving the end under my armpit and letting it stick out the other side so I could get some leverage.

Mike caught the first fish. We had no idea what they were, if they were good to eat or not, so we just started chucking them in our bucket, deal with it later. 

Here's one of them. It's called a grunt. We only kept two kinds of fish. They told me what kind they were but I can't remember. A porgy or something like that? The real fish everyone was gunning for was grouper. I managed to reel one in.

It was fun. He fought hard and it was difficult because I had that rod trapped under my left arm and I had to hold it above the rail. Too much upper body strength for me. Once he was about half way up he gave in and it was easy to reel him the rest of the way. They measured him at 18 inches. Grouper have to be at leasts 20 inches before we can keep them. Goodbye grouper.

Not to be outdone, Mike pulled one in, too. They measured him at 18 and half inches. I'm pretty sure they just added that half inch in so Mike would look good. Ha. Men and their inches! LOL.

On the way out we saw a small shark, and on the way back Mike saw a big old sea turtle. (I missed it...) But here's the best, the dolphins gave us a nice show.

It was quick but it was fantastic. They were riding the waves at the end of the boat. They would jump high and flip around in mid air. Awesome way to end the trip.

We caught about 28 keepers and they quick filleted them for us. There's about 2 pounds of fish there.

Mike won for first fish and biggest fish. (Although, I still think they fudged on the size of that grouper.) And I won for most fish and biggest keeper. I am the tight line fishing queen!!!

I am sooooooo sore! Having to hold that heavy rod so high has my upper arms and back aching. I found another huge bruise under my left arm from the rod. I am beaten and battered. But, we're having fresh fish for dinner tonight.

Naples ZOO

Our first outing for Mike's vacation was the Naples Zoo. 

I knew this wasn't a big city zoo but I really expected a whole lot more from them. They had all your typical animals, big cats, bears, and monkeys. Here's a few of the big cats.

I'm getting frustrated with the camera because everything is behind the cages and you can't get a good shot through the wire. I'm doing the best I know how.

They had an alligator exhibit. We made sure we there on time to watch. It was lame. There were 2 guys across the canal, one yammering on about alligators and the other running around with a stick poking at them so they would come up on the shore. He'd throw a piece of meat to them and then poke them a few more times. That's about it. I must be jaded, I guess. We've been to the show at Gator Rama and it's much more exciting and fun. They get the gators to jump up out of the water to get their treat.

This is Red EYE, the biggest, oldest gator they have. He's been in a lot of fights.

Here's one exhibit I was looking forward to. You get to feed the giraffes.

Unfortunately, they wanted $5 for three pieces of lettuce. I passed and just watched others feeding them. Pretty cool, they make a ton of money from this.

 It was stifling out there. None of the animals were out and about. All of them were hiding in the shade. They have fans all around, all pointed at the animals. There was absolutely no breeze in that entire zoo. We were drenched in sweat. I would have loved to see the hyenas up and moving around.

I've decided that I am just a bad tourist. The things we saw most were things I've seen time and again... in my own backyard. Yep, watching the ducks go at it!

I'm  not sure what kind of fish these are. Anybody? I tried to find out, but there were no signs and nobody around to ask. 

So we kind of gave up and spent most of our time walking through the more botanical parts of the zoo. There are all kinds of interesting gnarly twisted trees and exotic palms and plants.

Dudes, these trees were spectacular!

So to sum up, we spent good money to go to a zoo and see wild animals that you wouldn't normally get to see in your own backyard. Well, not so much here.  Okay, it's all good. I walked away with a pocket full of seeds we collected from various exotic plants and trees, just laying on the ground. I'll stick them in some dirt here and there and in about 3 or 4 months I'll post pictures asking what the hell kind of plant it is. (Yes, I'm a seed filcher!)

Tomorrow we are heading to Fort Myers Beach for a deep sea fishing trip! We are going on one of the cattle boats but it's off season and middle of the week so hopefully there won't be too many people there. Mike now has a smart phone so I will be posting (hopefully) pictures of our catch on the go.

See ya in a few....

Stairway to Heaven

I haven't posted anything in awhile because, well, not much has changed. We are still under water. We'll go 3 or 4 days with very little rainfall, things will just start to dry up a bit and them Boom! Dark clouds will come rushing in out of nowhere and literally dump everything they have on us.

This really provides us with lots of sky and cloud opportunities. Now, I'm not a bible thumper, nor am I a huge fan of Led Zeppelin, but the Stairway to Heaven actually exists.

Here's some more interesting cloud and sky shots.

There's a rainbow hiding behind the clouds.

And some deep contrasts of light and dark.

With rainy season comes the frogs. We have about a million of these tiny little guys all over the place. They are bright green, grey and even brown.

On the screens...

 And on the house...

Speaking of frogs I have lily pads and lily flowers galore but I have yet to see one frog sitting on a lily pad. I want that picture! I'll have to "stage" it. Grab me a frog and just throw him out there.

 The lily flowers are small but quite beautiful.

And they only stay open for half the day.

 During the rainy season we usually get a gator in the pond. This year is no different. He hides up underneath a tree that hangs over the water so he's very hard to spot.

He's a cutie! He's only about 2 and a half feet long and very shy.

 Mike says he has seen at least two gators in the pond. I've only seen the one.

 And the fish are all over breeding like crazy. I'm not sure what this baby is. Probably it's a tilapia.

And to round it all out I finally captured a pretty good shot of a bee. 

This rainy season has me down a bit. Because of either the constant rain or the muggy heat I have just not wanted to get out there and do anything. It reminds me of winters in Arkansas when every year I suffered from cabin fever because it was constantly too cold and I didn't want to even think about going outside.

I've gained weight and lost my drive to take care of things like the plants and flower beds... Things are dying either from lack of care or drowning in the water.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Mike had this entire week off of work and we are planning to do some sightseeing and other touristy things. I NEED to get out of the house.