Marco Island ĖTwo

The Norgaards introduced us to the airboat and an adventure that they experienced a couple years ago when they were here.† The airboats were about a 20-minute drive from the condo.

A real live pelican sat in front of us on our airboat like an oversized hood ornament.

He felt more to home than we did.† Addie, I love your hair.† Your mommy sure can French braid!

Itís not really a neck collar on Chris.† We were each given heavy duty earmuffs because the airboat engine is very loud when itís speeding down the riverways of the Everglades.†

Captain Matt said this mangrove forest is only second in size to that found in Bangladesh.†

The dense tangle of roots in the mangrove trees easily handle the daily rise and fall of tides and protect the Gulf coast from erosion, or so weíre told.

This was a big grassy area and a look at another airboat from a distance.

The captain stopped outside a channel and let Addie and Gunnar sit in his chair for a photo op.

We zoomed so fast and for so long that we were totally windswept long before the trip was over.† It was really fun, better than a roller coaster ride at Valleyfair or the Mall of America.

We were a little early so we hung around and took pictures of the pelicans.† There were several airboat companies in this area.† Chris has already made the arrangements.

Captain† Matt then stopped on the edge of the mangrove forest and fed raccoons who scrambled to him when they heard the food pellets rattle.

He told us that the raccoons keep a lookout for alligator eyes below in the water because alligators can whip themselves up out of the water 2/3 of their length and the average alligator is 9 feet long.

We were also told that snakes hang out of these trees but we didnít see any, thank heaven.† The place reminded us of the bayous near New Orleans where we also went on a boat ride, but more of a pontoon.

After the airboat I was forced to hold an alligator because Addie held one when they vacationed here two years ago and she challenged me to be as brave as she was.†

It wasnít very big and its mouth was tied shut but it still gave me the willies.† It gave the kids the giggles.

As long as Jenny took all these pictures I might as well use them.

Then we went to Snookís Inn for lunch, and guess what Addie ordered to eat?† Yes, alligator nuggets and, yes, it tastes like chicken.† I tried it.† Not bad but I preferred my scallops.

Many of the homes in this area were built on stilts because of the hurricanes.

They reminded me of being on South Padre Island where winds also push ocean water across the land.

Most of the time the shells were pretty well picked over by the time we got to the beach, but one morning we stepped out earlier than usual and found some fancy ones.

These were not our fanciest ones nor our biggest ones.† Jenny hopes to do some craft work with her stash.

We didnít spend very much time in the hot tub because it was very hot and the pool was perfect.

Chris took us for a tour one evening to show us the entrance to the Cozumel tower and other beautiful spaces in the complex that we hadnít seen because we always entered from the underground garage where we parked our car after coming and going.† The lobby is pretty impressive.† So are Jenny and Chris.

If we arrived as guests rather than vacationers at the place, this would be a seating area in the lobby.

And if Robin or other owners were having a large gathering, they might want to make use of this entertaining area.

Jenny took me to a craft shop where there were lots of ideas.† Actually, itís pretty amazing how much money they get for shells that we picked up on the beach for free.