Karen & Pats visit

We’re very happy that Kent’s sister Karen McDaniel and her very good friend Pat Blackmore from Annandale, Virginia were able to spend five days with us on the boat at Fort Myers.

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Karen and Pat drove through some very heavy rains on there way to Florida.  There first stop in Florida was with friends they know from the American Legion.   Karen called Sunday night and said they were staying one more day with their friends and then continue to our boat on Tuesday.   This was a very good idea as the weather, wind, and high tide would have made it difficult for them to get on our boat.  We had all four blocks under the plank.  You can see it’s still very steep to get on the boat.  The winds were so bad that there were 15 foot waves on the Gulf.  We had them splashing over the walk ways.

Tuesday the winds had started to calm down.  When Karen and Pat arrived it was nice and sunny.  It was so nice to see them it had been a long time since we were together. Later in the day we took Karen and Pat to our favorite spot for Happy Hour The Firestone Sky Bar.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPat is checking his watch to see how much longer until the doors open.  Karen is patiently waiting for 4:00 when we can take the elevator to the top floor.

We enjoy taking our friends and family to Firestone Sky Bar for Happy Hour.  The view is always great and hopefully you’ll get to see a beautiful sunset.   We all had a great time visiting and having a drink together.

Wednesday morning our dear friend Sue McDonough from Elkorn, Wi.  ( Anita’s mother in law) stopped at the boat.  She is on her way to visit her son Jamie who lives near Tampa.  We were so glad to see Sue, even if her visit was short.

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Wednesday after lunch we took Karen and Pat to Manatee Park in hopes we would see Manatees.  The park is a non-captive warm water refuge for the Florida manatees.  In December when we came to the park with Paul and Linda, the Caloosahatchee River was to warm for them to migrate to the Park.  The water on the river is now about 62 degrees and way to cold for the Manatees.  The water at the park is now 83 degrees due to the power plant generating the heat.  Manatees have very little body fat and can’t tolerate water temperatures below 68 degrees for a long period of time.  We were in luck there were several of them just hanging out.   They are hard to see as only their nose and maybe their tail will surface when they come up for a breath of air.  The park also has an extensive Butterfly garden.

This Manatee is giving Pat some special attention.  Karen is trying to pull it away from Pat.

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After we left the Manatee park we drove to the Edison Estates.  Karen and Pat weren’t interested in touring the homes so we walked around the botanical gardens.  Of course I had to take some pictures of them with Mr. Edison.  The statue is in front of one of the largest Banyan tree in the continental United States.  The Banyan tree has been on the estate since 1925.

Karen and I walked through the gardens and then meet the guys at the Banyan Cafe were we had a drink.

Our next stop was at the Pine Island Post 136 American Legion.  Karen and Pat are members of the American Legion and they enjoy visiting different post when traveling.

While on Pine Island we had to stop at our famous market and purchase shrimp for dinner.  Our shrimp dinner was a bonus to a great day with family, and a visit from our dear friend Sue.

Thursday we drove to Fort Myers beach and have lunch at Pier Side.   We were very glad that Sue McDonough could join us for lunch.  We opted for an inside seat less wind but still able to see the Gulf.  After lunch Sue had to leave us but we enjoyed our time with her.

The one thing Karen wanted to do during her visit was sit on a beach, and she got her wish at Fort Myers Beach.  She was even brave enough to get her toe wet in the Gulf.  The beach was very crowed.

Friday we went to Sanibel Island to see the light house, this was something Karen was hoping to see.  The Sanibel Island light or point Ybel Light was one of the first Lighthouses on Florida’s Gulf coast North of Key West and the Dry Tortugus.

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The lighthouse is 98 feet above sea level.  It’s and iron skeleton tower with a central spiral staircase.

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The lighthouse was first lit on August 20, 1884.  It’s built on the Eastern tip of Sanibel Island.   Built to mark the entrance to San Carlos Bay for ships calling at the port Punta Rassa across San Carlos Bay from Sanibel Island.

We sat on the beach for a while and enjoyed watching three dolphins swimming very close to shore.  They were going back and forth feeding.  I was glad that Karen and Pat were able to see dolphins on their trip.  Kent and I picked up more shells.  I am getting quite the collection of different shells.  There were a lot of dead crabs and other Gulf creatures on the beach.  It was very dirty after all the high winds which caused huge waves to come ashore.

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This is a picture of all the different shells you will find on Sanibel beach.  I will have to go through the ones I have collective to see which ones I have.  Sounds like a job after we are done with the loop.

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Then it was time to say goodbye to the beach and walk back to the car.  We drove around for a while on the island looking for a place to have lunch.  We found the Lazy Flamingo so we stopped and ate out side.  There was a Dairy Queen across the road so we all walked over and had ice cream for desert.

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This place was very pink with crazy pictures and sayings on the outside walls.

We also found this sign that said “Off Island” in fact we saw several of them.  They even had arrows for us to follow.  We kept driving around trying to find the island called Off Island  and never did so we gave up.  Ha Ha

Saturday was Fort Myers 14 annual Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival at Centennial Park. The park was only a half mile walk from the marina.  There were 10 hours of non stop Celtic music by five different bands.  The bands were West of Galway, Marcille Wallis & friends, The Screaming Orphans, Rathkeltair, and the Albannach.  We brought our own chairs and had a front row seat.

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Kent had asked the Screaming Orphans, who do a variety of music, if they would play Shenandoah for his sister Karen.  As she listened to the song there were tears streaming done her face.  The song had a lot of meaning for her as she once had a cabin on the Shenandoah River.

To satisfy our appetite they have Celtic fare and American festive food, meaning I didn’t have to cook.

They had Domestic and imported beer which was a favorite of Pat, Kent, and Karens.

They also had a row of old classic cars you could look at; however, none of them were for sale.

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No Kent you can’t buy it.

We also enjoyed watching the Irish dancers from the Kellyn Celtic Arts Irish Dance Academy.  I love watching them dance, it reminded me of Irish Feast in Milwaukee Wisconsin that we had attended several times.

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We saw all kinds of people dressed in kilts even little kids. I just loved watching this little guy all dressed up.

Pat said he didn’t know life could be this good.  He had never been to a Celtic Festival before.  Everybody had a great time.  We stayed all day and ended it with listening to The Screaming Orphans again.  Each band played twice during the day.

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Then on Sunday morning it was time to say goodbye to Karen and Pat.  We are hoping to get together again as we travel up the east coast.

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