Guest Blog – Stacy & Jeff do SE Asia (32 of 40)

impossibles afternoon swell

impossibles afternoon swell

surfs up ballin
“after a few more days of small waves in bingin’ we headed north up to cangoo (changoo) where franny and alana live.  many beach breaks up and down the coast, small but fun, and not too many guys. there’s three rivers up and down the beach, so makes for a good break.

we grouped up with fernando & alana (peruvian and aussie), their friends: jose & marilou (both peruvian, importing from here), and jasmine & jason (surfin buds from australia), and headed up to balian for the weekend.  girls in one car, boys in another, and an hour and a half later we were in the quaint little beach of balian. another rivermouth, some nice fun waves.  an interesting group of expats residing up there, definitely a great place to chill at.

impossibles sunset

impossibles sunset

saturday the gals indulged and lounged all day long, stuffing their faces and tanning.  while the boys, we did what we do best, surf, eat, surf, drink, surf and so on. there was supposed to be a full moon mask party rager, but didn’t really seem to happen.  we went out the night before with franny and alana, so we were good to chill.

after a good small clean surf in the morning sunday, we headed back to franny’s place in cangoo.  now we sit and decide where to surf next! such a rough life… we see desert point in the near future and probably sumbawa from there.

here’s a few good pics for the start of the season…

peace and love”

bingin tube

bingin tube

small bingin

small bingin

stacy floatin - view from room

stacy floatin - view from room

stacy bobbing

stacy bobbing

bingin coastline

bingin coastline

our room - top left corner

our room - top left corner

wyan and jeff

wyan and jeff

girl laughing

girl laughing

balian coast - black sand

balian coast - black sand

surfs up

surfs up

Guest Blog – Loggerhead Turtles of North Captiva Island

On my most recent trip to North Captiva Island, I had the opportunity to go on a turtle walk with a conservationist volunteer who is responsible for reporting on sea turtle nests. It was a fascinating fact finding experience. We started before sunrise and walked for approximately 3 hours investigating turtle nests and crawls. This is what I learned.

Each summer from May through August, something wondrous happens along our beaches: An ancient mariner, the loggerhead sea turtle, leaves the water during the night and crawls ashore in North Captiva Island to lay her eggs in a sandy nest.

The task of excavating a nest may take her over an hour to accomplish. The turtle – weighing several hundred pounds – laboriously digs a nest cavity with her rear flippers.

turtle1

Turtle nest

She then deposits approximately 100 pliable ping-pong ball sized eggs into the chamber, covers them with sand and returns to the sea.

After roughly a two-month incubation period, a cluster of tiny hatchlings emerges from the sand and scrambles to the Gulf. Unfortunately, their sea-finding ability can be disrupted by lights from buildings and streets. Confused, the hatchlings wander inland and are crushed by vehicles or die from heat exhaustion in the sunlight.

 

 

 

 

Loggerhead Turtle Facts:

  • Loggerheads are air-breathing reptiles, scientific name Caretta caretta
  • The common name refers to the turtle?s large head
  • Loggerheads are the most common sea turtles in Florida.
  • Weighing 250 – 400 pounds, adults can grow to more than three feet in length.
  • Hatchlings are two inches long.
  • Nesting occurs from May through August. Hatching may extend through October.
  • The nest cavity is 18 – 22 inches in depth.
  • Incubation period of the eggs in their sandy nest is 55 – 65 days.

 

turtle tracks

turtle tracks

Danger of Extingtion
Most adult loggerhead turtles nest every other year or every third year, laying several clutches of eggs during a nesting season. Only a small percentage of hatchlings survive to maturity! Loggerhead turtles have existed on Earth for millions of years with little serious threat to their survival – until recently. Pollution, lighted beaches, loss of nesting habitat, drowning in shrimp nets and other fishing gear have contributed to the drastic decline of these and other sea turtles.

Designing a Vacation Budget Using the Currency Exchange

How should I exchange money so I get the best return on my exchange?

Every soon-to-be vacationer has a million thoughts running through their mind, especially if the holiday is in another country. Hotel reservations must be made, good restaurant must be found and local attractions must be researched. A vacation out of the country takes information, patience and money. Saving money is always a priority especially in this volatile global market. Knowing when and where to exchange currency for your trip can be the difference between a good vacation and an incredible one.

Let’s assume you have rented a beautiful beach house in Cozumel and upon your flights arrival at the airport you plan to exchange your heard earned cash. However, this may not give you the return you expected, especially if there has been a shift in the Dollar / Peso currency pair. Just a 1200 point change in the Dollar’s value can cost an extra $120 for every $1000 you exchange. That could be the difference between eating meals in a nice restaurant and eating a fast food diet at a local fried food establishment. You can avoid currency surprises by exchanging money as you plan your trip. If you exchange small amounts at different times while planning you can design a vacation budget using actual exchange costs and values, which makes your budget much more realistic. Averaging your exchanges is especially important on an extended trip when more money is needed to cover expenses.

Where is the best place to average my exchanges?

It’s easy to assume that banks will give you the best rate of exchange. They are convenient and are in the money business, but banks add a fee to every currency exchange and they may only post one or two rates a day which means you may not get a real time rate. Credit cards like to exchange your money. They use their own rate which includes their profit plus they add a surcharge to every travel purchase, so you never know how much you’re spending until you get the statement. That means you’re letting the credit card company design your budget which always costs you more than you planned. Airport currency traders may add a fee to the exchange rate, which means you have less money to spend on the trip.

If you use a reliable currency trader you can average your exchange using the real time rate without surcharges, hidden fee and bogus rates. A professional can help you average your exchanges at the right time because they analyze the currency market on an hourly basis.

Other travel thoughts

Some countries have a limit on the amount of cash you carry through customs. If you exceed the limit and a custom official finds it in a customs search, it may be confiscated. Wallets and purses are easy targets, so just carry enough cash in them for incidental purchases. A money belt or a hidden pocket that’s secure and out of sight work best when traveling and hotel safes and other security measures should be used when you arrive.

Many factors affect the value of a currency and the forex market. Some of these include the; producer price index (PPI), gross domestic product (GDP) and the consumer price index (CPI). To learn more about how these factors affect your travel plans, make sure to visit ForexTraders.com.

The Best Water Parks in the World

Summer is –  sadly –  coming to an end.  I know, because I nearly got run over by a herd of back-to-school families with out of control shopping carts when I foolishly stumbled into Office Max in need of an ink cartridge thinking it would be a quick in-and-out trip.  But soon, kiddies, you will be back hitting the books.  Before you know it, it’ll be days full of classrooms while your hard-earned summer tans fade under the hum of the flourescent lights.  So if you’re like me, you’re looking for ways to pack as much fun as possible into the remaining days of summer.  And nothing screams SUMMER! more than water parks!  Of course there are some notable indoor water parks that you can enjoy year round, and you can bet they made our list.  I know I didn’t get to cover every single awesome water park that there is, so if you know of one I missed, by all means let me know and I’ll add it to next year’s list!

Las Cascada

Las Cascada Water Park, Puerto Rico – Known as the biggest and the best waterpark in the Caribbean, what this park may be lacking in size (when compared to some of the other parks on this list) it makes up for in beauty.  Las Cascada has, arguably, the most beautiful setting of any waterpark in the world, with its colorful waterslides contrasting against the bright green surrounding landscape.  Its attractions include the “Crazy River” which simulates rapids on a river, and the Wave Pools which simulate the waves of a beach.  For children there’s the Kiddy Pool area, and to fufill your need for speed and adventure, there’s the Speed Slide, “The Bomb”, and the Water Tunnel.

Tropical Islands

Tropical Islands

Tropical Islands, Krausnick, Germany - This next one on our list is a bit more than a waterpark…Tropical Islands features a themepark, waterpark, rainforest, lagoon, beach, steam baths, saunas, along with an assortment of shops and restaurants all under one roof.  You can even spend the night in a tent or lodge in Tropical Island’s rainforest!  The Tropical Islands Dome is the largest free-standing hall in the world at just over 360 metres long, 210 metres wide and 107 metres high.  To put those numbers into perspective, it’s large enough to accommodate the Statue of Liberty standing up and the Eiffel Tower lying on its side!  But don’t worry – the sun shines through the roof so you can still work on getting the perfect tan.

Noahs Ark

Noah's Ark

Noah’s Ark, Wisconsin’s Dells, Wisconson – Sprawling over 70 acres, Noah’s Ark is officialy the largest waterpark in the United States.  Its ever-evolving park currently features 41 waterslides, 2 huge wave pools, 2 endless rivers, 4 childrens water play areas, Paradise Lagoon activity pool, 2 group amusement rides, 18-hole mini golf, 3 arcades, shopping, gourmet desserts and that is just the beginning!  Noah’s Ark also has “The Black Anaconda,” the longest watercoaster in America, “Time Warp,” the world’s largest bowl ride, and the ONLY 4D Dive-In Theater in the world, featuring the SpongeBob SquarePants™ 4D Movie!  And if you somehow manage to get through all that Noah’s Ark has to offer and you still want more, Wisconsin Dells is known as the “Water Park Capital of the World,” with 18 indoor water parks – go try them all!

Chime Long

Chime Long

Chime Long Water Park, Guangzhou, China - Opened in 2007 this waterpark is China’s largest, spanning more than 30 acres, and is the newest addition to the Chime Long entertainment complex, which already features an animal park and zoo, circus, dry theme park and resort hotel.  Chime Long is pretty technically advanced as far as waterparks go – on the “Family Boomerango” riders are shot up vertaically before hanging weightless for a split second and dropping backwards.  Another of the park’s rides offers a tube conveyor, freeing riders hands up for the walk up the 63-foot tall ride tower.  This park has also implemented a special water treatment system that ensures that PH levels are safe while at the same time removing harmful germs.  But don’t fret – despite all of the new technology, Chime Long still has the traditional waterpark favorites:  a 2,625-foot-long lazy river, a 91,000 square foot Wave pool, and a combination tots and family activity pool, approximately 13,000 square feet and featuring 12 water slides and multiple interactive AquaSpray spray toys.

Six Flags White Water

Six Flags White Water

Six Flags White Water, Atlanta, Georgia - Continually named one of the top waterparks in the US, this park has high-thrill rides that test your bravery to the max.  With attractions like The Atlantic Ocean, one of the largest wave-pools in the Southeast and featuring four-foot waves and over 700,000 gallons of water, and the Tornado, a six-story funnel of fear filled with over 5,000 gallons of white, rushing water, this park is great for families too.  The “Cliffhanger,” among the world’s tallest free-fall rides, may not be fun for the whole family.  Those who dare to try the Cliffhanger climb 90 feet to the starting point of the tallest free-falls on the planet where they are launched down to make a splash in the pool 9 stories below.  As the Six Flags site warns…”Have a nice TRIP.  See you next FALL!”

World Water Park

World Water Park

World Water Park, Edmonton, Canada – Ditch the chilly winter air and head indoors – yep, indoors – to the World Water Park, where the termperature is always around 82 degrees.  This 5 acre indoor park is part of a large shopping mall, and has more than 24 different waterslides, pools and water activities.  World Water Park also packs variety – regardless if you are a seasoned daredevil or are just getting your feet wet, there is a ride for you.  The “Sun Runner” is a tube slide that is perfect for families and beginner riders.  Under the “Extreme” category are “Nessie’s Revenge,” “Sky Screamer,” and “Tropical Typhoon” – all are fast, almost straight down, and sure to leave you wet, wild, and wanting more!

Water Country USA

Water Country USA

Water Country USA, Williamsburg, Virginia - While the park’s theme is a throwback to the 1950′s, the rides at Water Country USA are anything but outdated.  The park has everything one would expect from a new-millenium waterpark, including a 33 foot tall slide tower, better known as the “Jammin’ Juke Box,” where 3 different rides, (each themed after a popular rock-and-roll dance) the “Funky Chicken,” The Hully Gully” and “The Twist” each begin their 200 foot decent down to the 9,000 square-foot pool below.  As the Beach Boys famously crooned, catch a wave and you really will be sittin on top of the world at Virginia’s largest wave pool as four-foot waves rise and fall to the rhythm of some classic rock and roll.  Young kids won’t be left out of the fun with their very own “Kritter Korral” – scaled-down water slides, fountains and play equipment are perfect for the youngsters and their parents to play on and harness their inner surfer.

Blizzard Beach

Blizzard Beach

Disney’s Blizzrd Beach, Orlando, Florida – Rumor has it that a freak snow storm lead to the creation of Florida’s first ski resort – when things warmed up again, and the sunny Floriday sunshine melted the snow, the ski runs were transformed into waterslides!  Blizzard Beach has since added on and new boasts one of the world’s tallest and fastest free-falling waterslides along with a chair lift to bring you to the top of “Mount Gushmore” where riders can access a number of rides at the Green Slope area of the mountain.  Try out the “Downhill Double Dipper,” modeled after an Olympic downhill ski race with starting gates and a time clock to track each racer’s time.

Schlitterbahn

Schlitterbahn

Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, Texas - Saving the best for last – this waterpark has been named “The Best Waterpark in the World” for the 10th year in a row!  Here is an overview of the park by the numbers:  3 miles of tubing adventures, 7 children’s water playgrounds,17 water slides, the world’s first surfing machine, and 3 uphill water coasters spread over 65 acres of fun!  Schlitterbahn has some unique and thrilling rides – try the “Dragon’s Revenge” ride – the first ride of it’s kind featuring special effects, 8 uphill blasts, caverns and a giant 2-story freefall!  Or hop on the “Der Bahn Speed Slides” and race side-by-side along with 2 of your friends to see who can reach the bottom of the waterslide cliff the fastest!  If you’re more into distance than speed, try the “Raging River Tube Chute” – the world’s longest tube chute (it  lasts 45 minutes!) that zigs and zags as you float from one end of the park to the other.

Guest Blog – Stacy & Jeff do SE Asia (31 of 40)

even ronald knows the local customs

even ronald knows the local customs

more on KL and on to bali
“KL, what a crazy unique city. at least to our eyes. the people, so many different people. we stayed in china town, in an indian owned place, ran by one of the manliest lady boys we’ve seen (indian) and these two other guys that had more going on than amy winehouse. piercings, rainbow nail polish chipping, gold teardrops on their foreheads, you name it, quite colorful human beings. but all very nice and entertaining.

we went to one of their many malls and witnessed the largest indoor themepark in SE asia amongst this 10 story gigantic mall. we ate a craving lunch of mcdonalds. it’s funny how good a big mac tastes over here when you don’t even think about it at home. we were surrounded by young chinese girls all dressed up to one side, young indian boys in skater clothes on the other, a group of indian ladies with their colorful head dresses, and then two families where the women are completely in black, only revealing those mysterious eyes through a small slit, while the guys are dressed as any other everyday man. and we see she doesn’t take her veil off even to eat, she must slide her grease dripping french fries under her cloak. like we said, a vast variety of people here in KL.

indoor themepark - too expensive for us

indoor themepark - too expensive for us

we finally found our peanut sauce though. at home we like to order that scrumtous thai dish called panag: spinach and chicken smothered in peanut sauce, yummy! we have yet to find anything close anywhere! not one peanut sauce in thailand. here, completely different story. everything comes with peanut sauce. the best is with a pack of satay (less than two bucks for 12 sticks of chicken and beef) served with a mouth watering spicey crunchy peanut sauce. worth it all.

after two nights in our strange indian palace (dirty tiles greated by fake flowers, fake grass hanging from the ceiling, plastic chinese lanterns, way too many fish tanks to not be an aquarium, and pop music like it’s rick dee’s weekly top 40), we were off to bali.

dinner and beers - rooftop in KL

dinner and beers - rooftop in KL

heaven. yes it’s a bit more crowded then in january, but great weather and the smell of waves. we went straight to ayu guna where we left the boards at and guess what, they were still there, locked in the bag, never touched! love the karma here. we stayed a few nights in the same bungalow as last time, swam at padang, then moved to juni’s warung (recommended by fernando) at bingins. it’s great. our room has a large window opening up to the waves below, and we’re literally steps from the water. now jeff can walk out to the waves at any time, impossibles, bingin, dreamland, and even paddle up to padang… while i’ve got a beach, snorkeling, and a great place to just chill.

flying over java or sumatra?

flying over java or sumatra?

we just booked mentawi’s wavepark for the end of the month, so for now, chill here in bali, then head over to lakey’s point sumbawa, then back to bali and off to mentawi’s which will put us in june when we’re done. then work our way back to bali through mainland sumatra and maybe java. surf’s up the whole way….bagus (pronounced bagoose = good!)

sidenote – thanks to everyone who’s been checking us out. it’s such a great surprise to see everyone’s comments on the board. can’t wait (well we can cause we’re here!) to catch up with everyone once we get back!

peace love and surf!”

indo fire mouth

indo fire mouth

lookin out over impossibles from the cliff

lookin out over impossibles from the cliff

lookin out at bingin from cliff

lookin out at bingin from cliff

jeff and fernando

jeff and fernando

impossibles, view from above our warung/hotel

impossibles, view from above our warung/hotel

padang padang sunset

padang padang sunset

padang padang fisherman - my favorite!

padang padang fisherman - my favorite!

treckin down the road

treckin down the road

real backpacking now!

real backpacking now!

jeff comin in from bingin

jeff comin in from bingin

window view daytime

window view daytime

sunset panorama

sunset panorama

bingin sunset

bingin sunset

surf

surf

moon

moon

sky

sky

Mountain Retreat Vacation House in Big Sky, Montana

The Big Sky Mountain Retreat House, also known as the original Montana Escape, is located directly in the center of Big Sky, Montana. In November 0f 2003 the home was selected to be featured on Fine Living TV’s 10 Perfect Winter Wonderlands. At that time the home was lacking a master tub and a bit more space. Over the years the owners have had the pleasure of working with Alan Roos of Coyote Creek Construction in expanding and enhancing the living space – all the while keeping within a reduced footprint and budget. The end product is 3700 square feet of a perfect Big Sky Mountain Retreat House that all guests will continue to appreciate.

Big Sky, Montana is considered one of the Coolest Mountain Towns and one of the top 10 ranked by the Mens Journal.  Is it that fact that there’s no waiting in long lift lines or the crisp and fresh thin mountain air? The views? The thousands of skiable acres? Whatever the reason, Big Sky Montana is a great place to live the high life.

Visitors come to Yellowstone National Park looking for wildlife. Many will have their first and only encouter with wildlife in their lifetime. The Mountain Retreat House sits in a prime wilderness zone in Yellowstone County. It’s far enough away from the summer crowds of The Park, but remarkably close to 5 star fine dining and world class sking. Visitors to the Mountain Retreat House and to Yellowstone may find wildlife such as moose just outside The Park, in Big Sky, Montana. When Yellowstone is the busiest, is also when the wildlife population of the villages of Big Sky, Montana increases.

This home’s location, nestled among old growth trees overlooking breathtaking views of Big Sky, was selected for the easy drive to the Gallatin River, Ousel Falls as well as the Ski Runs from the Yellowstone Club to Moonlight Basin. Its located in Aspen Grove, a development of one half to three acre home sites closest to the Town Center and both Big Sky Mountain and Meadow villages. When you are at the Mountain Retreat House, you’ll feel like you’re miles away from the rush of day-to-day life, yet it is conveniently located less than a hour from the Bozeman airport – It’s only a 40 minute flight from Salt Lake City!

Whether you and your family enjoy world class powder skiing or fishing for that trophy rainbow trout, Big Sky is the place and this is “The House”. It has 4 private suites, each with its own bath; one with a wet steam room and one with a huge soaker tub and a walk in shower. All bedrooms have mountain and forest views. The main master bedroom is steps from a private 5 person hot tub. Enjoy spectacular night views that include shooting stars and the milky way. The hot tub and steam shower are perfect after a long day of carving the ski slopes.

This little guy was born on the property just steps from the patio!

This little guy was born on the property just steps from the patio!

Guest Blog – Stacy & Jeff do SE Asia (30 of 40)

nie han beach

nie han beach

bagus bagus bagus
“three for three. not the biggest surf, but it’s bali surf. jeff couldn’t be more happy. the first day, met up with fernando and alana (jeff’s peruvian and auss friends, used to be slocals) and hit up bingin and impossibles. chest high and fun, it’s just good to be surfing with fernando, and just surfin’ at all. inconsistent now, but word on the wave, swells on its way. man was it a fiasco to get here though…

finishing up our days in phuket, we realized we would need a 60 day visa for indo, otherwise after 30 days we’d have to fly out and fly back in to get a new stamp. not a real problem, but we’ve got boards now and who knows where we’ll be on may 31st. so we figure lets do it, spend the few nights in KL or bangkok and go to the embassy and just deal with it. we pick KL (kuala lumpur, malaysian capitol) for something different. we call ahead, they say we could probably get it done in one day (whereas bangkok’s office said at least 3 days, another reason we went with KL). so, we book the ticket for thursday morning figuring between thursday and friday we can get it, then fly out saturday on the 2nd, giving us exactly 60 days between arrival and our fly out date of june 30th. good to go. bagus.

one of the many books weve read

one of the many books we've read

tidak bagus, not good. in reading the newspaper we realize it’s labour day on may 1st, friday. we’ve been seeing ad’s and signs for this day, but it just hasn’t been registering cause everytime i see it i think, no, it can’t be labour day (spelled the english way) because labor day is in september, duh. but, lo and behold, not everyone in this world is on america’s holiday schedule, and they have a few holidays of their own. one big one being labour day, experienced everywhere through the eastern part of the world, and even europe. what’s this mean for us? it means like most american holidays, big sales and all gov’t offices are closed. so we reassess. our ticket puts us landing in KL at 10:30am. if we want our visa processed in 1 day, we have to have it in by noon. it takes an hour to get from the airport to the embassy of indonesia (according to google’s trusty mapquest directions). so, that leaves a half hour margin to get off the plane, go through customs, get our luggage and get a taxi. jeff’s freaking out. this could mean if we don’t get it, that’s at least 3 extra days of NO surf and being stuck in another city, no matter how cool it could be.

tannings a serious business

tanning's a serious business

we have all our forms filled out and photo copied with extra passport photos and american dollars, we’re ready. we venture off to the airport with cynthia (my mom has already left two days earlier) and with good thoughts, we’re off to KL. we relax and even sleep on the flight, knowing once we land, it’s on, like donkey kong.

the breaks squeak, we sway from side to side like all airplanes do when they come to that screeching halt, and then we’re off. We grab our bags and speed walk our way as courtessly as we can, through the construction and crowds (keep in mind this is our 3rd time in this airport that is under construction so we know it almost like the back of our palms). we stretch our strides as far as we can til we reach the customs booth. i go first, hand the nice lady my passport, and then, she drops it. these are precious seconds here people, every last one counts. she shuffles in her spin chair, not wanting to get off it it seems. i see jeff’s already through now waiting on the other side for me. she finally reaches it, makes some small talk (side note: everybody at the KL airport are by far the nicest people we’ve come across throughout the trip. every time we’re here, we’re reminded of this), and then i’m through. we continue our giant strides, grab our bags, and make way for the taxi. believe it or not, we’re sitting in the taxi at 10:46am. wow.

jeff - last night in pukhet

jeff - last night in phuket

we make it to the office and walk in with all our luggage, after jeff had to put some pants on cause his shorts were too scandalous for them, at 11:45am. we take a number, we sit, then we go up, show the papers and make our request. he glances, shuffles, glances, then says we’re missing a photo copy of our passports stamped entry into malaysia. who knows whey they need this, but they do. he informs us there’s no budging around the 12 o’clock time whatsoever. i sprint around the corner to this little tiny weeny photocopy shop and get the business done, sprint back, and grab another number (seriously frustrating!). our number says 11:58am. so we think we’re golden. we get called up at 12:05pm. show the same guy our stuff, he shuffles, ho-hums, shuffles, gives us tons of grief on how hard it is for him to get a visa into the states, even with diplomatic whatever. e apologize for his grief, smile, but not too much, keep it short and polite. finally, after what seemed forever, he says he’ll process our visas for us, but not to expect this kind of service in the future. man, what a mess! after paying double the amount cause all we had was USD (not the local currency of ringetts), we got our 60 day visa meaning we were only stuck in KL for one full day…

more on it tomorrow!”

stacy - phuket - last night

stacy - phuket - last night

Winter at the Beach – Clearwater Beach, Florida

Fort Desoto Park, Florida

Fort Desoto Park, Florida

On this particular winter vacation, our family opted for jet skis over snow skis and was happy not to wait in long lift lines. We may be trading our snow skis for water skis next year as well!

Our Beach house vacation rental was on Sand Key, just outside Clearwater Beach, Florida and a few minutes from two of the top 10 best beaches in the US: #3 Fort Desoto Park and #8 Caladesi Island State Park. We experienced the best December weather in the country with pure blue skies and highs in the upper 70′s (one day it got to 81). The beach was clean and the sand was like fine powdered sugar. In other words, it was perfect!

island way grill

Island Way Grill

We did everything from feeding Alligators to Parasailing & rented jet skis directly off the beach just steps from the Sand Key State Park. Having jet skied in California, ocean water in the face can be quite cold even in the summer. This, surprisingly, is not the case in December when jet skiing in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Decembers mild humidity made for a perfect air temperature and the spray of the ocean was invigoratingly refreshing. The large ocean shelf off the Florida’s gulf coast reduces the chop and tends to keep the waves perfect for jet skiing and even more perfect for swimming. During our stay, there were several times when the ocean was like glass and calm, allowing for some awesome jet skiing donuts and spins. Florida law provides that if you are at least 14 years of age and pass a test online, you can be certified to legally drive a jet ski. This was great news for our 14 year old son and gave his parents a glimpse of his car driving future!

Caladesi Island State Park, Florida

Caladesi Island State Park, Florida

After a day at the Beach, there’s nothing better than eating conch fritters and fresh grilled grouper stuffed with crab. One of the best restaurants (only five minutes from our beachhouse vacation rental!) was the Island Way Grill. It’s worth the wait if you want to eat outside on the bay.

If your next winter vacation plans include spending hours in traffic to drive to the ski lifts or potentially getting stuck on a plane waiting to de-ice, I would highly recommend that you consider finding that perfect Clearwater Beach house vacation rental and book a flight! Your snow skis might become outdated before you know it!”

- Beachhouse.com’s own Ski Beach Bum