Monthly Archives: August 2011

Day 18

Today we arose early and put on our swim ware for something very different – went jet skiing!!! As David and I were deemed to be ‘immature’ just by looking at (how did they come to that conclusion?) and therefore in order to drive our own craft we had to pass a theory test. Needless to say that because we had not grown up in the area or driven a boat before we both failed; however our guide Tyler helped us and we promptly passed. I would like to point out that I ‘passed’ with one more mark than David 🙂 Within a few minutes of leaving the shore we saw a family of dolphins swimming in their natural habitat. To see them move up and down with such grace only a few feet from us was quite a sight. We turned off our engines to encourage them to come further, and we did get quite close; however they clearly had places to go and people to see as they didn’t want to stop. On the way out there were plenty of opportunities for us to play with the machines, getting up to 45mph in some cases. Skipping over the wake of other boats was some fun even getting some air time. After about an hours ride, we got to a beach which was only accessible by boat. This gave Rachel a chance to collect some shells, David and I to walk the shore, and mum a chance to feel solid ground under her feat one more time. I did take my camera with, securely packed in two water tight plastic bags, wrapped in towels – however I decided that it was best off staying safe inside, rather than risk getting it wet and removing it for a 45mph ride in the face of water spray. On the way back, Rachel put dad on the back of her jet ski and took control; she did rather well, not quite getting up to the speeds that David and I had done, but still not bad for a woman driver 😛 Considering this is Florida’s wet season, we couldn’t have asked for better weather today; all of us really caught the sun (some more than others!). Tomorrow is our last day in the states before we head back home. We have had a spectacular time, seeing first the CN-Tower, followed by Niagara; Empire State Building, Rockerfellar Centre, finally coming to a relaxing bump in Naples. The plane ride tomorrow is one of our longest taking 8hr 20min (or 13hrs 20min including change of time zones!) however as we are flying British Airways – I am sure we will be well catered for. As for blog posts, as our holiday comes to an end, so must blog posts. I hope to post one more before our flight tomorrow, a short one when we land, and then a link to the final set of photos (when available) on my photography website. Apart from that, all we need to do is go into the pool one last time, pack, and say au-reviour to the US of A!

Day 17

Another fairly relaxing day. We went to Tin City, which was like a shopping centre but all put inside old buildings; best bit of all was that it was air conditioned!!! This afternoon it was spent in the pool, before going back to Naples beach to see the sun after sunset. Tonight there was plenty of lightening so that was quite a sight to see. It’s going to be an early night tonight, as we have to be at the jet ski place by 8:45 so we can take our driving test. Can’t wait!!!

Day 16

Today has been a mixed bag. Firstly we went to a flea market, from the outside it was fascinating, lots of people coming together to sell things, like a car boot sale if you will; however when I got in, they weren’t selling the kind of things I was interesting in, such as kitchenware etc. This coupled with the fact that it was covered and not air-conditioned meant that it was very humid indeed. We then came back home and went in the pool. We managed to get mum in, this was a success for David and I. We decided to throw so much water on her, that she was no wetter that she would have been in the pool. For the evening we went to Naples beach to see the sunset. Considering the weather so far has been very unpredictable we were really lucky for tonight. It didn’t rain and the sky had just enough cloud to catch the light and make for spectacular shots. I have uploaded the best HDR shot below, however I think I am going to have to re-render them with Photoshop when I get back to see if I can add more detail. Tomorrows plans are going to be played by ear weather dependent. Its not going to be too much tho, as Sunday we are going jet skiing and we need to be up early!

Day 15

Today was a very sleepy day. We went for a drive, I slept, we came back and ate, after I slept. After that we went to a shopping centre and I got a shiatsu massage. One exciting development of the day is that we have booked jet skiing for Sunday morning – so that is going to be exciting. As we are having one each I need to take some sort of driving test, I hope I pass 🙂 hopefully we will get to see some dolphins and manatees in the wild so fingers crossed there 🙂

Day 14

Three words sum up today: Wet and wild!!! We went on a swamp airboat, the ride out was exhilarating, and the ride back was even more so. As we are in Florida during the rainy season, on the way back we were caught in a tropical storm. To be travelling across the swamp at over 35mph in torrential rain, weaving in and out around the trees was amazing. As the rain fell so quickly it was like little pin pricks all over, however this of course meant that the camera had to stay firmly in its bag to avoid being soaked. When we returned to shore we got to hold a baby alligator called Lucky. I don’t normally think this of reptiles (especially after the frog incident) but Lucky was very sweet indeed. For those who have not held an alligator before, its a very weird feeling indeed, and not what you would expect. I thought that it would be cold, wet and slimy – however it was the opposite of that; he was smooth and very well behaved as I held him tightly, you could even feel his heart beat. As the weather was really rainy this afternoon, we went shopping to the glorious shopping district of WalMart. I got two t-shirts which befit my personality down to the ground; and at under $6 (£3.85) each they were a real bargain. Evening was spent in the pool (without rain this time), and dinner was more meat. I have had another look at the news about the riots in the UK. I have decided that I am going to hold off blogging about this on my holiday blog (as it is nothing to do with my holiday), and will not blog about it until I get back on my main blog as I will only see the tainted view that is portrayed by the american media – however needless to say, I am disgusted with what is going on, and hope that my friends and family stay safe. As for plans for tomorrow, we are a bit unsure as everything is weather permitting, however even if its just a drive then that will be good.

Day 13

Today we have sorted out Wifi in the villa – so I am a happy boy as I am able to blog from my MacBook Air rather than from my iPhone; when I get back I will do a blog post over on my proper blog about all the technology I have used (and in one case purchased) whilst away. If I remember I will put a link to it on here. Anyway, today we went on a tour around Naples. Normally when you think of going on a tour you think of walking streets after streets, looking at building after building – however not this tour; we went on Segways!!! Rather than write what a Segway is, for those who don’t know, click here for a link to the Wikipedia article. This was the first time I have been on a Segway, and out of the group of 7 we were in I volunteered to get on the machine first. It was like learning to ride a bike, your body naturally tells you to do something, however to make the machine work you need to do the opposite. Five minutes later, and my knuckles relaxed on the handle bars and it was amazing. The machines went up-to 12mph which was quite enough, as all we were doing was wearing a helmet, and lets face it any faster and you coming off, the pavement would have just shredded your skin. The tour guide had a microphone and we all had wireless earpieces to hear what he was saying. The points which I listened to were interesting, however I was more interested in playing with the $7000 machine. Once we came back we had lunch, and then went for a drive – which I slept through as the heat, humidity and sheer amount of concentration really was tiring. After the drive we came back to the house and went swimming in the pool. The pool was lovely, nice and warm and deep. As we are here when storms are likely, it started raining; as we were already wet we stayed in the pool as the water sheeted down on us. For the evening we ate and now I’m going to watch an American program called ‘Take The Money And Run’, I hope they bring it over to the UK as it really is good. Anyway thats it for me tonight. Speak soon. P.S – My friend Harry has told me about the riots that are going on in the UK. Ive had a quick look online, however if anyone has been affected by it my thoughts are with you; stay safe!

Day 12

What a day!!! We first woke up at 4:30 to get to JFK for our flight to our villa in Miami. As we left the hotel we were greeted by a limo. It was so nice to see the city in style, before our flight. The flight was uneventful – oh how that was about to changed. We checked into our villa, it’s lovely, the pool is big, the rooms are huge ad we have a lovely american fridge freezer with ice dispenser. After a two hour trip I needed the loo. Normally I wouldn’t blog this, however as I got up to flush the loo, something stared back at me – a frog. I wouldn’t mind much, as normally I love frogs. However the thought of it watching me and being so close to me is just eeeewwwwwww. Anyway we are now off to get some food, the villa doesn’t have wifi, just cable Internet (and non of us have Ethernet on our tech) so I’m blogging now. Hopefully we will have that sorted soon tho 🙂

Day 11

Well, today was a relaxing day. I stayed in the hotel until around 16:00. The plan was to go to the Apple Store, however my mum scouted it before hand, and said the glass tower was all covered up, and inside it was just like any other Apple Store – so it wouldn’t be worth going. After that we went to Grand Central Station, it was a beautiful station, with huge amount of character. We then did a tour of the chocolate outlets; M&M’s and Hershey’s. It’s amazing how much profit they are able to add to chocolate , we are talking tens of dollars for a small bag of M&M’s. I suppose they can do as they know tourists will pay it. Sadly it’s our last night in the big apple tonight, as we are off to Miami tomorrow. We have to leave the hotel at 5:30 so going to be another early night 🙂

Day 10

Today has been a relaxing day. True to my word I was up at 2:10 and in Time Square by 2:30 to take some photographs. Even though it was early in the morning there were still hundred of people around, however there was more room for me to manoeuvre a tripod and get the shots which I wanted. I was kindly assorted by David (who is know known as SatNav – as he is very good at navigating), most of my shots require editing as I shot for HDR, however I will post the best non-HDR shot after this post for you to see. We had a lie in and had lunch in Central Park. In the busiest city in the world there are still miles and miles of greenery. It really was a spectacular sight to see. To finish up the day we went to the Rockerfella Centre (which has free wifi – hence I’m blogging now) however it’s currently pouring down. I hope it brightens up as I would love a couple of HDR panoramas of the skyline – fingers crossed. Tomorrow is my last day in NYC before we fly to Miami – and yes I will be visiting my Mecca; the Apple Store 🙂

Day 9

Today has been a day full of sight seeing of historic monuments. First thing we went to see was The Statue Of Liberty. When you see it on the photographs you really dont get an idea of how big it is. Just standing at the foot of it looking up gives you an idea of how big it is. I don’t think any photo you can take will justify the scale of it. Secondly we visited Brooklyn Bridge. I have taken some fantastic photos of the steel work, to think that this was constructed years and years ago without modern construction equipment just makes the mind boggle. It was a fantastic sight of the skyline – however you will have to wait to see the photos of this. I’ve had a look at the weather and tonight is probably going to be our last clear night for Time Square photos. So I’m going to get up at 2:15 to (hopefully) get some fantastic shots with my tripod in a less crowded view. We shall see 🙂