Each morning a beautiful sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. The view from the condo is always a glorious one, as the direction we face is due east, out and over the seemingly endless horizon of gentle waves. At least they were gentle this morning. The storms lately have been intense at night, and last night's rains were longer and more sustained. But it was all after hours, and none of it really interfered with Madison's camp this week.
Today we saw a big gopher tortoise crossing the road. Its shell was bigger than a bowling ball, and it lumbered across the road slowly, stopping all traffic along the way. It was great to see the respect everyone had for this creature. It was almost like a turtle crosswalk, minus the signals and marking on the road.
We dropped her off this morning, a little earlier than usual because there were snorkels to gather and a drive to make to a nearby place called Blue Springs State Park. Madison has been practicing her snorkeling to get to this point, and she did well, looking to the bottom to see various things down below. But the water was pretty cold, she said. How ironic, given that she loves to swim and the weather outside was very warm today!
So all the snorkel practice this summer has paid off. Madison was off and swimming with the others, although she wasn't 100% confident in that buoyancy control jacket there. She wanted a pool noodle as well, but that's okay. She snorkeled and it was in the spring, and she had a great time.
You can see why they call it Blue Springs. This water is pretty blue. Or... it could be that all the people that go swimming there turn blue from the cold. Take a look at Madison and some of the kids right after they first dove in:
Brrrr! Still, it was a great time. She was talking about this one for a long time tonight, and quite loudly too (because she was so excited). She's been like that for the entire week though, talking on and on about all her various adventures. And just when you think she's done, suddenly she remembers something else to say! For example, did you know she went looking for more manatees today? Here's a picture of one she found:
They explored an old house, a historic landmark called the Thursby House. And they had a picnic lunch there as well at Blue Springs. Here's the girls standing next to a tree that's been hit three times by lightning.
Don't worry. No storms today. All was calm, and the weather has been favorable for us, as it has been all week long!
Madison hopped in a canoe for her second part of the day, once again going out over the water, having such a great week. She has been learning a lot this week too, and the experience alone makes it worth all the effort.
They were out looking for manatees, and yes, they found some in the middle of the springs area. Here's a picture that one of the guides took:
We're grateful for the pictures the guides were taking this week. Obviously we weren't there with Madison in this camp, but each day there's a staff person with a waterproof camera snapping away pictures of the group, and there have been a few of Madison that have been great to see. She really looks like she's having a great time!
She wants to do this again next year if possible, and with all the education going on, it's not a bad idea. We'll see how it all works out. There's plenty of other educational opportunities elsewhere, although for Mommy and Madison, it's hard to resist the call of the beach. Plus, the grandparents are here, and that's a big plus.
When we got home, we had a great big turkey dinner together, which was nice. Madison was working on her artwork, drawing out dolphins, turtles, and other sealife. She's drawing them all freehand, and coloring them in afterwards. They're turning out well!
But after dinner, she and Daddy had time to head out to the beach. We sat deeper in the waves, and let them crash over us, time and again. The challenge was to stay seated in one place, and not let the waves move us. That didn't work all the time - some waves came thundering in, we screamed and got soaked! But it was fun. It wasn't as fun for Mommy to deal with all the sand in the bathing suit afterwards, but for the time being, it was fun!
We went to bed tonight earlier. We read more from "The Gauntlet," and a bit from our Superflix devotional. It's been a great day!