Robert's Photography
& Video Services

Florida Vacation

July 17th - 27th  2006

This is my granddaugher Taylor.  She's 11 years old.  She came down from her home in Pennsylvania to visit with me for over a week.   We had a fun time.   I hadn't seen her in a couple of years, so I planned on taking a lot of pictures of her while she was here. 
And I thought this might be a great way to share them with her and her friends at home... as well as all my friends here in Florida.

It was a learning experience in many ways, so I'll try to pass on some of the wisdom.  So to begin... I learned that an 11 year old can not fly alone unless you go through some hoops and hurdles.
Security is trememdous.   Somone has to sign for her upon departure, and upon arrival, and it costs a little extra each way to have someone hold her hand onto and off of the airplane.
And they can only fly on non-stop trips.


This is her plane pulling up to the airport and a quick shot of her on my
cellphone calling her Mom to say she was safely back on the ground.

This T-shirt should give you an idea of what I was going
to be dealing with for the next 10 days.  The fun began at
the baggage claim, when we found out they lost her luggage.
I mean what's the odd's of them losing your luggage...
on your very first (non-stop) flight?  I told her it would probably
never happen to her again.

And since she didn't have so much as a bathing suit in her carry on, I stopped in at the
Shell Factory in N. Ft. Myers where we shopped for a bathing suit, some souviniers,
and had ice cream.  A pretty cool place to visit if you ever have the time.

First thing she wanted to do when she got home was jump in the pool where she quickly made friends with a couple of my pets 
Daffy & Donald who live in my pool year around.

And then at about 7:00 that evening, the airline knocked
on the door and delivered her missing luggage to the house  :)

The next day, she wanted to go to the beach.  So we packed up
and went out to Manasota Key, and spent the afternoon
playing in the water at Stump Pass Park.

We had the beach to ourselves

She enjoyed the clear  warm water

I got some great photos

She's very creative and likes to play in mud and sand

We had a great time

The folloiwng day, I took her down to Boca Grande.
My first stop was on Banyan Street, which netted me some great
photo's of her while she played in the giant roots



Second stop was the Boca Grande Lighthouse Mueseum
at the south end of the island

We shopped for souviniers
looked through the giant binoculars
and met some of the local residents


She even took a pretty good picture of Grandpa

While shopping the day before, I bought her a brand new mask & snorkle set,
and taught her how to use it in the pool.  So today I wanted to take her
into the clear Gulf water and let her enjoy a nice underwater experience.

As we snorlkled hand in hand around the rocks, we saw hundreds of fish,
both small and large and I think she was amazed at all the the different varieties of fish
we encountered.  Snook, grouper, snapper, sheepshead... and all kinds of small bait fish.

But I think her favorite part was playing with a really large school of hundreds of tiny,
tiny minnows that she enjoyed separating by reaching her hand into the school


I had another surprise lined up for her on  Thursday.  I had met with the people
at The Freedom Boat Club in Cape Haze, and worked out a schedule that would
allow me to take her out on a boating adventure for a day.  Freedom Boat Club is a
large boating organization that allows members to use any of their many, well maintained
boats almost anytime they need one, and eliminates the problems that go along with actually
owning one.  If you've ever owned a boat you know what I'm talking about.  If you
would like to know more, just give me a call.  If you decide to call them, please tell
them that I sent you, and that you saw this ad here.

Our first stop on this cruise was one of my favorite beaches along the
inlet at Gasparrilla Pass (north Boca).  It's a private area from land, and
rarely has many people on it, so always has a large variety of shells.

My friend Marie was along for the adventure

And she took some really great portraits of Taylor and I

This is one of the many boats that Freedom Boat Club offers to their members.
It's perfect for shallow water... has a ladder at both ends, binimi top and all the
safety equipment required by law.  All members pay for is the gas they use !

Our next destination was Don Pedro State Park.  There are no roads to
Don Pedro, but if you have a boat, you can easily access this beautiful
beach by following a small canal from the Intercoastal waterway to a
very nice dock on the east side of the island.  From there its just a short
walk  across the island to the facilities on the other side.

The water was crystal clear, and we all had fun finding shells and sand dollars.

I think this Sandpiper was a bit upset about us being on "his" beach,
since he flew past us several times with a loud "cheep cheep cheep"


I had some work to catch up on Friday, so I told Taylor that I had something
special for her to do... and I pulled out a very large washing machine box that
I had been saving for her.  She is very much an artist, so I asked her what she
would need to decorate it.

She started by painting the entire box with some off white housepaint.

While I worked, she took a tablet, and drew a picture of what each side
of the box should look like, and then asked for a black magic marker
to draw it onto the box.  About an hour later, she asked for some more
paint and some different brushes, and off she went for another hour.

The result was this beautuful little house, with doors, windows and
a full side mural with a bamboo background a plant she had
seen in the back yard.

The next morning, I took the camera along as we went through
the usual chore of feeding the wild animals that live in my back yard

Here she got to meet "Fuzzball"... one of the many squirrels that live in the palms behind the house.  This one will usually eat out of my hand, but wasn't sure about this new hand

However, my friend "Mertle Turtle" didn't seem to care 
about the newcomer... as she pulls herself out of the 
water for a handout of bread

I've been feeding Mertle Turtle for years, and found her to have a very gentle bite... so I let Taylor try feeding her hand to mouth.

My back yard is jungle of exotic plants


Our science project.

One of the plants I grow is parsley.  I like having fresh parsley in salads
and I use it in many other foods.   I grow it inside the pool cage, so that
I don't have to spray it for insects or anything...

But one day... a large black butterfly flew in the door, and fluttered around
inside the cage for several hours.  I didn't try to catch it or anything because
I didn't want it hurting itself trying to get away from me... So I just left the doors
and windows open, and figured he'd find his own way out.

The week that Taylor arrived, I went to pick some parsley, and noticed
6 very large black and yellow and white striped catapillars munching away
on my parsley... and I wandered if that butterfly had anything to do with it.


A few hours later, Taylor and I notice one of the catapillars 
crawling by the edge of the pool, and I wondered 
what else he was planning to eat.

But instead of finding more food, he crawled up onto the 
stainless steel rail at the end of the pool, and attached 
himself to the underside of the rail...

A few day later... and this critter crawled out and was sitting 
on top of the rail drying his wings   Interestingly... it looks 
exactly like the butterfly that visited a few weeks before :)

Robert's Photography
& Video Services

Florida Vacation

Part II

 A visit to Mote Marine


Mote Marine Labratory has all kinds of exotic fish to see

 We even found Nemo and Dori visiting

And lots and lots of Jellyfish

And a cute little cuttlefish

And SHARKS !!!!!
and MORE SHARKS !!!!
and BIG BIG Tarpon

And a tank full of Stingrays that you were allowed to pet

And even a little Seahorse

Across the street, there were lots of other animals to see

Like big, full grown Sea Turtles

and little tiny baby sea turtles

And Manatees

And the Immersion Cinema is like a movie theater, where you can play this big video game where you pretend to be part of the food chain as a predator or prey.  I didn't quite catch on, but 
Taylor took 3rd place out of the entire room full of people. 

Right next door to Mote Marine is the 
Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary so we stopped for a visit

They take care of injured birds and can always use 
some donations for food and care

And we took pictures of each other...

with the giant Pelican... 
before we headed home


If you're thinking about taking a Florida Vacation anywhere near
Sarasota... this is an excellent place to spend an afternoon exploring
the wonders of the sea.  Need some help planning your trip?

Rotonda Travel

Another experiment

We had stopped by a Dollar Store, and Taylor bought a package
of  Pop rocks.  For those of you that don't know what they are, its
a candy that bubbles and snaps when it gets wet in your mouth.  I
hadn't seen them in years, but this one came with an experiment.

Three ingredience that you mix together for a Pop Rocks Drink.

Put Pop Rocks ingredients 
1, 2 & 3 into the test tube
Add water, and suck off the bubbles foaming out the top
Bottoms up
A successful experiment ?

The results aren't in yet... but I think she enjoyed it.


Another thing Taylor learned while visiting was how to dive.  When she
arrived, she would only go under water if she held her nose....


But by the time
 she went home...

She was diving like a PRO

Taylor enjoys one more rinse in the outdoor 
shower before getting dressed to go home


These lizards were playing "hard to catch" all week

But moments before we left for the airport
she finally caught this big one

One last portrait with Grandpa

To the Airport

Taylor checks her flight, and it's right on time

She waits impatiently to board as the flight is delayed 15 minutes
due to an approaching storm

The 4:00 departure was now a 4:30 departure, but the plane
left the loading platform and headed out onto the runway

And then it sat out on the tarmac for over an hour
while they waited for this storm to pass.

Her trip home went without insodence, but she arrived back in Philadelphia
in the same kind of weather... with lightning so bad they closed the baggage
claim because they couldn't unload the baggage in the storm.  So Taylor had
to leave the airport without her luggage a second time.  What's the odds
of not getting your luggage on your first two "non-stop" flights

If you havn't been to the new SW Florida International Airport...
you can take a virtual tour by visiting my photo webpage at

note to grand daughter...

"Hi Taylor"

"Love you"