Back in Martin

Things are almost back to normal around here (although I haven’t unpacked everything just yet). I did set up our turtle tank on Sunday, but the very next day read that aquarium gravel, which I had used on the bottom, was dangerous to small turtles who might accidentally eat it. So I ended up buying some rocks at Wal*Mart. Those were some expensive rocks! Five dollars for a bag, and I got two. And I didn’t even use half of them…well, they’ll come in handy whenever Piper and Michelangelo graduate to a bigger enclosure.

Piper and Michelangelo's new house.

Piper and Michelangelo's new house.

In case you didn’t already know, we actually brought back three turtles from Destin — one for Granny and Pop. We couldn’t decide what to get them and then started thinking about how much they like it when a frog or something shows up in their fishpond… So what better present than a turtle? His name is…um…Destin. And I hear that he’s doing just fine. This is a photo that Pop sent me yesterday.

Destin hanging out on his lily pad.

Destin hanging out on his lily pad.

In other news, Matt and I are heading back to Jackson on Friday to celebrate Pop’s 80th birthday. Julie and her family are also driving up from Memphis, so this promises to be a great birthday party!

– Karen

Destin, day 6

Today was our last day at the beach. Sadly, there were many much jellyfish lurking in the water. I swam a little bit, but didn’t really feel like getting stung…again. There weren’t as many people on the beach today, and they had been replaced by a flock of seagulls. We thought we would walk down and take a few pictures of them.

While we were by the seagulls I looked down and saw a piece of a sand dollar. I picked it up to look at it and then threw it back into the waves. Apparently pieces of sand dollar flying across the water look strikingly similar to fish when you are a seagull, and several of them took off after it. We thought this was a very good trick for getting pictures of flying seagulls, so I threw a few more sand dollar pieces (until the seagulls got tired of being tricked). Along the way back I collected lots of small pieces of driftwood (for the turtle tank, of course!).

After a while we rented an ocean kayak for for an hour. I decided to try it by myself first (it was a two person kayak). I didn’t realized that it is very difficult for a single smallish person to paddle out past the breaking waves by herself, so I ended up riding one in. That part was fun, while the kayak stayed turned the right direction. But since I don’t really know how to steer an ocean kayak in the waves…it quickly flipped over. Don’t worry! I didn’t land on any jellyfish. It was much easier to get past the waves once my mom came out with me, and then we just sat out in the water for a bit and looked at the numerous jellyfish floating by. We even saw some different ones that had sorts of ruffles instead of long tentacles.

We didn’t kayak for the whole hour, because we started to get hungry…so we went back for lunch. I also boiled my new driftwood collection (no, not for lunch). It did look like I was making some kind of driftwood soup, standing there stirring a huge pot full of boiling wood. The point of all this is to make the wood quickly release its tannins, which cause the water to turn  the color of tea and are not so pleasant for aquariums.

Other than that, we ate dinner at Carrabba’s (an Italian grill with amazing brick oven pizza) and did some last minute gift buying. We’re mostly packed up for tomorrow. The turtles are safely tucked into their bed in the bathtub, in case they come up with some ingenious method of escape from their pool (now complete with driftwood). We *plan* on leaving at 8:00, so I’ll see some of you tomorrow night!

– Karen

Destin, days 4-5

Hello again! I somehow forgot to blog yesterday, so now you get two days worth of blogging for the price of one.

Yesterday morning we went parasailing. There were 10 other people on the boat with us, but we were the first ones up. Once we were in the air, it seemed like we were hardly moving at all. The whole trip was a lot of fun, even watching everyone else go up. We didn’t do too much the rest of the day except shop a little, and plan for our snorkeling adventure…

We got down to the docks around 9:00 and were shuttled to the snorkeling boat. We swam out by the jetties for most of the morning looking for fun fish and avoiding the jellyfish (which there weren’t very many of). We tried taking some pictures with the underwater camera, but unfortunately none of them turned out very good. We also walked over to the other side of the jetties where the waves were, and I proceeded to get stung by jellyfish three times. We took the shuttle boat back to the docks around 1:00.

On the way back, we stopped at a beach store to pick up some friends that I’d been waiting for. One of them is a present from Destin for Matt. (Hi Matt!) I’ve always wanted one of these little guys…

On the left is Michaelangelo the yellow-bellied slider. On the right is Piper the red eared slider.

Michelangelo (left) and Piper

Michelangelo is a yellow-bellied slider and Piper is a red eared slider. These silver dollar-sized turtles are excellent swimmers and will spend most of their time either playing in the water or basking under the special UV bulb I got for them. They’re tiny now, but they will get bigger eventually.

After getting the new turtles settled into their temporary house we got started on our trek back to the other end of town for supper at The Lucky Snapper. Happily, they offered lots of vegetables and a view of the harbor. We even got some pictures of a sailboat and a seagull nest.

Later we took a few pictures on the beach and then walked down to Pompano Joe’s for key lime pie (which was very good). Tomorrow we are swimming at the beach for the last time and possibly renting sea kayaks. Let’s hope for no jellyfish in the morning!

– Karen