Vacation - Day 6: Back to the Beach - and Yet Another Boat...
Today was going to be our last day here so we headed back over to Gulf Shores to do a little shopping, have some beach time and do some touristy type stuff. Plans changed a bit, but it was a good day.
It was mid-morning by the time we got to the main road heading down to the Gulf. We had 3:00 reservations for a glass-bottomed boat dolphin cruise and so we decided to kill some time. We spent a couple hours playing miniature golf and then went looking for lunch.
During lunch, SWMBO saw that she had a message on her cell phone. It turned out to be the dolphin cruise folks. They had canceled the trip for the day. (Bummer.) So after lunch, we made straight for the Welcome Center to try to line another one up. We called a couple of them and found what we thought was the best for us at the time. We only had about 30 minutes to get there and we didn't really know where we were going, but we set off in search of.
It was much easier to find than we had feared and what we found was quite nice. The American Star is a wooden vessel with an old world charm and a very friendly crew. They are very family friendly and we all had a great time. The ride was relaxing and invigorating at the same time as we stood along the rail at the bow looking for signs of dolphin activity, the wind blowing through our hair and the sun shining off the water. They had binoculars for the kids to look through to help spot them as well.
It took a little while but we eventually spotted some and made our way in their direction. There were at least 4 - in 2 sets of 2 (one of which was a mother and calf - itty bitty fin - tres cool) but I'm pretty sure that there was a fifth one as well. A couple times one would come up close to the boat and the baby got pretty playful, coming totally out of the water at one point.
The time came, however, to bid the dolphins farewell and make our way back to the dock. As we did, the captain invited the kids to steer. Thing 2 looked so into it as she climbed up into the wheelhouse. (That's Captain Bill behind her.) There was also a couple that got engaged on the boat.
When we got back to Gulf Shores, we wanted to do a little shopping. The usual stuff. Souvenirs for the kids, appreciation gifts for our hosts, some T-shirts, etc. By the time we actually were done and headed for the beach, there was some bad weather moving in and it was too windy and chilly to be at all enjoyable. So we have decided [read: "they begged and I, my resistance having been worn to a nub, gave in against my better judgment"] to leave later tomorrow than we had planned and and spend the morning at the beach.
Oy. I'm such a sucker.