Thursday night we got to Sarasota, where my friend's daughter (FD) lives. We hadn't been able to find an RV Park in the area that would let us leave the motorhome there for a week, so we opted for FD's offer to stay out in the Back 40 of her church's property (with permission of the pastor). My friend's son-in-law (FS) got us hooked up to power and water, and we settled in for the night.
Yesterday we went to FD's house to hang out, get reacquainted (I've met them before), and make plans for the cruise. FD, FS, and their daughter--my friend's granddaughter (FG)-- will be joining us, along with my friend and her mother (FM), making a grand total of seven in our party.
FD's house backs up to a small man-made lake, along with plenty of other houses in their neighborhood. She said the alligators usually don't come out of the water when there's company wanting to see one (from a distance, of course). But later in the afternoon, a gator decided to sun himself across the lake (see green arrow).
Here's a closer shot.
A cormorant landed not too far from the alligator, as though inviting himself to be the main course for the alligator's dinner, but the gator was more interested in the sun than in eating.
On a spit of dirt and brush in the middle of the lake, an egret and a great blue heron surveyed the scene for a while, before the egret took off. They have much better birds coming to their yard than I do.
We picked up my friend and her mother from Tampa airport and then made more plans. Today we executed a modified version of those plans. We shopped, and then we had to drop the sightseeing to do more shopping. It wore me out, even though I managed to find some pants that fit (they don't allow jeans at dinner on the cruise, but I live in jeans, so...).
Now, at bedtime, we're mostly (over)packed, and I'm afraid I've forgotten something essential. If I have, I can probably buy it on the ship. For an ungodly price.
But I'm looking forward to the cruise. Sunshine (and some rain). Warmth. Semi-exotic ports. Snorkeling. Rock climbing. Ice skating. Yep, you just can't beat it.