One of the things that I had really been looking forward to during our vacation, was a dolphin cruise out on the Gulf of Mexico. We bought our tickets, and on Monday evening, we got on board the Southern Star, the boat that would take us on our cruise. We were all super excited (even if Arthur doesn't look it).
As we pulled out of the marina, Arthur and Derek were quite impressed with their sister vessel, a pirate ship :).
We were being followed by quite a flock of seagulls, and so they gave the kids some Fritos to feed them. Lily even got quite a few seagulls to eat the chip right out of her hand.
Right before we left on our cruise, there had been quite the storm. Because of that, the waves were pretty big once we got out in the gulf. I am not ashamed to admit that it scared the heck out of me as the ship was rolling in the huge waves. Not gonna lie, I was very close to a panic attack. I took some deep breaths and got over it. Luckily, the kids were not at all afraid. They loved it!
Once I got over my initial fear, I stood at the rails and loved every minute of it. Arthur tried to stand there by me, but the ship's movement made it a little tricky for him, and so Kevin held on to him to help him.
After a while, we finally saw some dolphins. It was so awesome!! They swam along side the ship, and then would occasionally surface.
The Captain told us that they loved it if we made lots of noise, and Lily took the advice and ran with it. She stood toward the front of the ship and led everyone in a cheer for the dolphins. She was glowingly happy.
The dolphins were amazing - did I mention that they are my favorite animal?
We traveled quite a bit down the coast to find the dolphins, and there were quite a few of them near the pier and the beach. How cool for the people there to see all those dolphins swimming around!
The dolphins weren't the only thing worth looking at while on the ship. There was a gorgeous full moon, and the ocean was amazing.
That's not to say that the dolphins were not my favorite thing though. There were even a few baby dolphins, one of which I saw in this cluster of four dolphins. So cute!!
After a while, it was time to head back to port, and as we left, the sun began to sink. It made for the most beautiful pictures.
As we were pulling away from the pier, I saw a pelican in flight, which was amazing. I really love nature :).
On our way back to port, the Captain let the kids on board take turns steering the ship. Both Lily and Derek got a turn, and they loved it. (Granted, the waves were pretty rough again, and so climbing the stairs to where he was, felt like taking our lives into our own hands. I bruised my shin pretty badly getting thrown sideways. Oh well. It was worth it.)
On our way back, we even saw a few more dolphins. Lily was up on the bow the whole time, and the dolphins stayed up there swimming long side the bow. She thought it was the coolest thing ever :).
While Lily was in the from of the ship watching more dolphins, I was in the stern of the ship with Arthur, watching the sunset.
It was spectacular. Truly spectacular.
Derek enjoyed watching the sunset as well. Actually, I think he just liked leaning on the rail and watching the ocean and the coastline. I don't blame him - it was beautiful.
It was such a fantastic experience, and a wonderful cruise. And Arthur managed to stay awake until one minute before docked - he was so tired. I'm so glad we were able to go.