Every day at midnight, they change the name of the day that rests on the floor of each elevator on the ship. Sunday started out as a wonderful word, but by today it had become a bad word, a word full of sadness and departure.
We had to be out of our rooms by 8:00am, so we got up early, had breakfast, and made our way off the ship. Out on the gangway between the ship and the terminal, one of the port workers noticed my mom having trouble walking, so she had us stand aside while she went to see if she could get permission for us to take a shorter route. She got it and sent us down a different ramp from everyone else, and when we thanked her, she said we're lucky we have our mothers to travel with. She's right.
After FS and I fetched our cars, we got everyone loaded, and then drove back the way we came. Our drive through Alligator Alley showed more birds than the week before. I spotted egrets, storks, ibises, and vultures, and other birds I didn't know. Later, when we were stopped at a rest area, FD told us she'd seen oodles of alligators. She'd kept saying, "There's one. There's one." My mom and I obviously don't know how to recognize alligators the way Floridians do.
Back in Sarasota, we had one more place to go for some sightseeing before our adventure was over: Siesta Key, which is famous for its white sand beach.
The sand on the beach there is made of quartz and doesn't get hot in the sun. My friend said the first time she took her daughter's family to the beach in California, FS looked down and announced, "Your sand is dirty." Indeed it is, compared to the sand at Siesta Key.
On California's beaches we get seagulls that congregate on the sand. At Siesta key we saw seagulls, but we saw other, slightly smaller, birds that congregated with the seagulls too. I don't know what these birds with the red at the base of their beaks are. Can anyone help?
My friend's mom did some hunting for seashells. You can see that, even wet, the sand isn't the same as in other places.
FD took this picture of me, but my fill-flash didn't come on. Even so, I like the shot.
Years ago, when my sister-in-law would come to the beach with us, she'd tell her toddler daughter to go catch a bird, and that would keep the little one occupied for the longest time. I still love seeing little kids chasing the birds.
The sun was doing a nice job of setting, reflecting on the water and the wet sand.
We watched it drop toward the horizon...
... as a boat crossed its path...
... and a pair of pelicans flew above.
Soon there was nothing left of the sun but the tiniest arc of light, then even that was gone.
It was a glorious way to end the day.