A Day in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea

20150620_114950wm

Once a year, the Queen sets up a special weekend for me for my birthday. She books a hotel room for a weekend in Miami, where we cram in as much fun, South Beach, shopping, sushi, pizza and donuts as we can. This particular week happened to have my birthday and Father’s Day fall close to each other, so it was a double dose of what I just mentioned above. Thank you to my Queen for being so sweet. Best wife ever.

This time we decided that instead of fighting the weekend traffic to get to South Beach, we’d see if there was a public beach closer and try that….and we happened to stumble upon this cool little beach/town called “Lauderdale-By-The-Sea” which was only 15 miles from our hotel in Sunrise.

LBTS Map

Now to those in the know, it’s a quaint little quiet hamlet nestled in between Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach. It’s well known to those on the East coast. But to those who aren’t local, it’s a blink and miss it kinda place. It has a real Fort Myers Beach feel to it with many many restaurants and shops lining both sides of the street.

It’s also known for a living coral reef just 100 yards from shore – which we didn’t find out¬†about until after we left. ūüė¶

The red arrows show where the first and second reef are located.

LBTS Pier

We GPS’d a restaurant on the beach and made our way a few miles from our hotel to a nice sized parking lot right across the street from the beach. Plenty of parking spots were available and it’s $1.75 per hour. We dropped a $10 in the meter and made our way over.

IMG_4160wm

The sand is soft and brown, and the water – well, it’s beautiful and clear.

IMG_4156wm

I didn’t waste much time getting in the water either. It was sparkling and warm with visibility over 20 feet. I didn’t find any shells in the deeper waters, so I stayed close to shore and searched for minis in the surf ridges with my mask and snorkel, with the Queen staying close by doing her own shelling.

If you’re visiting the East coast beaches and are afraid to get into the water, searching for minis is great. Strap on your snorkel and mask and stay in the shallows, searching the ridges. You’ll find so many it will make your head spin.

20150621_181622wm

Like bubbles, nerites and marginellas.

20150621_181740wm

and murexes, worms and dwarf olives.

20150621_181950wm

…some baby’s ears and gaudys.

20150621_182152wm

and yes, you will find cones. I wasn’t even searching for Alphies and this guy just ended up in the sand in front of me.

20150621_182403wm

you’ll also find a boat load of shells that you may not even be able to identify!

20150620_124958wm

Like this one above. I’d never seen one of these before. Thanks to Karen V over on Facebook, it’s a¬†Pyramidella dolobrata. Otherwise known as a Ringed Pyramid Shell. Pretty daggone cool.

You’ll also find amazing pieces of coral (which are still soaking in bleach as I type this).

IMG_4155wm

IMG_4154wm

This really is a beautiful and quiet beach. It wasn’t packed at all, even as time passed. We soaked in plenty of sun (and got a little red in the process) and had a wonderful time together.

IMG_4153wm

As I mentioned, the coral reef of located just South of the pier, about 100 yards out. I’m kickin myself for not knowing this before hand. However, the next time we visit (and there will be a next time), we’re¬†gonna be out there.

Put this one on your “must visit beach” list. You will not regret it.

IMG_4159wm

and a Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there.

Advertisements

What a Year

20141123_063215wm

2014 has been a pretty entertaining year, both in the way of fun and challenges.

Lots of lessons learned this year. Patience. Humility. Determination. Fighting on in the face of struggle.

IMG_2915a

We started off 2014 by calling it “The Year of Fun”. It’s certainly been that as we have had a lot of fun. But it’s also been the year of continuing¬†to be happy¬†when our circumstances have dictated otherwise.

“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; They just make the best of everything.”

It’s been a wonderful year of shelling the beaches of Sanibel.

20140720_144346wm

20141123_090508wm

4-20-1wm

We took some great trips.

We had a ball at the Florida State Fair.

IMG_3029wm

We loved Lobster Fest in Key West.

IMG_3416wm

IMG_3427wm

While the Blueberry Festival in Brooksville was memorable,

IMG_3151wm

the Central Florida Barbecue Blowout in Oveido was forgettable.

IMG_3163wm

We (I, actually) enjoyed the Pepper Fest in Pinellas, mainly because of the fun we had afterwards with our friend Karen at her home beach – Stump Pass.

IMG_3198wm

IMG_3212wm

And we dove. Boy, did we dive.

IMG_3796

We dove Sanibel.

4-20-6wm

And I found a MONSTER Alphabet Cone too.

4-20-7wm

We dove the Keys – the upper, middle and lower….

IMG_3376wm

IMG_3395wm

72600018wm 72600007wm

HWC

20140911_120443wm

and we’ll be diving in a few other exciting spots in a few days.¬†We had 12 festival stops planned but did not get to hit them all. That’s ok though!

We also met and got to hang out with some very sweet and kind people this year. We’re quickly approaching 500 additional friends on our Facebook page. Thank you all for coming along for the ride this year.

We have a lot to be thankful for and we definitely are.

DCIM100GOPRO

We’ve had fun¬†and¬†learned some tough lessons as well, which has made us grow¬†as people throughout this year’s journey.

But isn’t that what growing up is all about?

20140405_112202wm

ūüėČ

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, friends. See you in hopefully a very exciting and fun-filled 2015.