Monday, June 11, 2007

New experiences on Tuesday

Tuesday did bring some new experiences for us.

We started out the day going to the Sea Lab (The Estuarium) Do you remember what an estuary is? If not, this is where fresh water flowes into salt water. For me it was very interesting. We saw all kinds of fish and creatures that live in the Mobile Bay and Delta area. It is a small Sea Lab, actually, it is a lab. This is where students from Universities come to study the area. There is a charge, but the money goes towards research. We went through once, and Eric spotted the woman getting ready to feed the 3 big tanks. So, we went back through to watch the feeding frenzy. Of course for the turtles and the smaller fish, it is smaller pieces of food. But for the green eel, it is an entire sardine. The girl stopped before going to feed the last tank to show the kids exactly what they feed the larger fish. So, we watched this green eel take an entire small fish and destroy it. PJ was impressed!

We left there and walked around a bit. Found out that the largest oil rig is Exxon Mobil owned. Eric had the binoculars and he couldn't believe the size of that thing!

We drove down to the furtherst eastern end of the island. We saw people fishing off the jetty. And we spotted the Sand Island lighthouse. It is a ways out there, interesting little story about that lighthouse. If you are interested in it, you can Google it. I don't know the entire story. I do know that they are trying to restore it now. I do believe that during the Civil War they tried to destroy it. But I don't know all of it. We planned on taking the 3 hour cruise Wednesday to see the lighthouse, dolphins, pelicans, and fish.

I was hungry. We wanted to go to the barbecue place, guess what.... they are closed. People close different days around here. Anyways, we looked at the golf course, we were told it was a great place to eat. Far out there in the middle of no where. But it was full of old men holding beers. We didn't know if it was a place for the boys. So we drive around looking for something else. Ok, so we run upon a hole in the wall. Pelican Pub and Grill, not what I thought for the boys. We go in, look around, realized it was ok for all of us. It was kinda cute. Zip up windows, eating on the canal, eating on your boat too. Not a bad idea. And the pub was upstairs, and not opened yet.

The tables came equipped with packaged plastic ware, paper towels on a roll, and crackers in a plastic bowl, not my style, but it was food, and I was hungry and the boys were famished! And we were on vacation, what the heck, try something different.

We order our drinks. Styrofoam cups, no glasses. Lunch comes to the table in paper boats, and plastic bowls lined with paper. Not my style, hole in the wall, but it was lunch.

Eric ordered the shrimp plate, PJ ordered chicken fingers (go figure), and we split the Seafood platter, shrimp, oysters and fish. We could have had it fried, grilled or blackened. Considering I don't eat all that much fried stuff anymore, I went with the grilled. Chuck looked at me, mmmmm grilled oysters. Oh no! what did I do????

Lunch comes, everything looks really good. Homemade tartar sauce, outstanding cocktail sauce, and PJ had a great homemade ranch for his chicken fingers. Now is the moment of truth. I never had oysters in my life, so let's see what I am gonna be trying. Not bad, no, not bad at all. Actually pretty good. Suprisingly good. Doesn't mean that I would eat them on the half shell, but grilled or fried, sure, why not. Now, this is funny.... PJ looks over, "Whatcha got there?" And we told him what it was and asked if he wanted to try it. Sure nuff, he came over and tried it, and loved them! My son doesn't like my lasagna, he loved the oysters. Now, Eric wasn't so sure about all of this, and he did try it. The look on his face was priceless. I thought that PJ would be the one to spit it out, and Eric be the one to enjoy them. Nope, quite the opposite. In the end, we all had a good lunch, it was not the nicest place in the world, but the food was better than what I thought it would have been.

When we got back, we rested for a while and then Eric and I took off to the little specialty stores. You know that kind, junk, tee shirts, souveniers. Nothing special. But there was one store that stood out to me. Marti's. A nice little store, she didn't have any junk there. Clothes, bags, collectibles, things like that. She was as sweet as could be, and so very pleasant. Of course I had to go back with PJ.

The island didn't have all that much on it. An "everything" store, few restaurants, bakery and the souvenier stores, and 2 seafood marts that only sell shrimp, crabs, oysters, flounder and crawfish. The grouper and snapper are regulated by the feds in that area. We thought that they sold it to restaurants and industry. Nope, the fish are tagged with GPS. Other than that, nothing. They are building a lot of condos, and they really don't have the stuff in the area to support the tourism that they are trying to bring in. Maybe they like it like that , I didn't mind. It was something different

We sat on the porch nearly everyday, watched the shrimp boats drag their nets, making their money. We watched the dolphins behind the boats getting the leftovers.It was neat to see the 4, 5 or 6 following behind the nets. First time spotting them that day.

Later that day we decided to let Eric walk the beach alone. Now mind you, we can't see him. But we let him go. What was I thinking??? Here I am trying not to bite the nails that I was trying to grow out, fixing to chew down to a nub. Letting my son have some kind of independence. How dare I trust my son???? And as soon as Chuck gets up to go and looks for him, who comes walking over the berm... Eric! Ha Ha Ha.

That evening I was looking over the porch. Now for the past several days I had wondered what in the world were all these holes for in the sand. I had no clue of what they were. I originally thought that it was some kind of bird. Being from NJ, I have seen sand crabs, but not like this! The sand crabs were digging holes in the sand for their homes. I have never seen anything like this before, so of course I was fascinated. Simple things please simple minds! Ha ha. But I did think it was quite interesting the way that they came up from the bottom to build the burrow. I actually saw a spot where one was picked up in the middle of the day by a seagull. I noticed them all at night. They would come out and eat and go back in. There was one that was under the house that was huge. Chuck and I would watch it come out and walk around a bit. I honestly thought that the prints in the sand was from birds. Nope, those crabs are all ove the place at night!

The end of another peaceful, enjoyable and relaxing day. This place is kinda nice.