Day 237 – 4/25/21 Anna Maria Island, FL

We enjoyed spending time with our friends at Anna Maria Island Beach today.

We had a slower start today.  It was looking like a cloudy morning, and overcast type of day.  I had an ok night of sleep, just had too many beers yesterday and woke up every few hours to pee and drink water, and was up around 7:30.  I started doing some emails and catching up, then Bella was up and started watching YouTube.  I was able to finish writing and was done using the computer around 9.  Carol woke up around 8:30 and Bia woke up after 9.  As we all ate, changed, we were getting things done as well.  Carol did a load of laundry before we could leave, with our beach towels and swimming suits.  I cleaned up the truck, it was a mess and there was sand all over.  We packed everything again for the day, and as soon as the laundry was ready, we were ready to go.  Carol took Maggie for a walk before we left as well, and I got the girls in the truck and ready to go, then we went to get ice at the machine by the front office.  The ice machine in front of our spot was not working.  As we were moving around, I saw a guy load his golf cart into his truck bed using a ramp. hahahaha….

When we got back, Carol was ready and we left at around 10:30.  We had a one hour drive to Manatee Beach, in Anna Maria Island, and Carol wanted to stop at a Publix to get some lunch when we got close. We had an easy drive, same one we took the last few days going over the Tampa Bay bridge.  When we were about 10 miles from the beach, we stopped at a Publix and Carol got our lunch, and also extra sandwiches and sushi for Calina’s.  We headed directly to the beach from there.  When we drove in the parking lot, I wanted to find a spot quick, so I just drove towards the back of the lot, and there were many empty spots there, so I was parked in no time.  That spot ended up being great as it was right in front of the changing stations, where they also have some showers and rinse station.  It was next to the restaurant and restrooms, and pretty close to the water. 

I went towards the beach once we parked, to scope it out, while Carol and the girls got their stuff out of the truck.  As I walked in the beach area, a massive storm was blowing right over.  The weather looked like heavy rain was about to hit.  It was quite windy, but less than yesterday, and the beach was full, at least much fuller than any of the other days we’ve been there.  I took some pictures of the storm, it looked intense, but it blew over pretty quick. 

I went back to get our stuff with Carol, we finished loading the red cart, and by time we hit the beach, the storm had blown through and we had clear skies, crazy!  Carol and the girls went ahead to chose a spot, and I waited until they did so I could pull the cart.  The cart doesn’t roll easy on sand, so I didn’t want to haul it around until they had a spot hahaha.  They found a spot right after the volleyball nets, and it was right there, close to everything.  It was not too bad to get the cart there, and when I was a little over half way, Carol came by to help push the cart and made it easier.  We setup our area pretty quick, got sunscreen on everyone, and the girls were ready to go. 

Bella had put on sunscreen back at the trailer as she said she didn’t like to get to the beach and wait for the sunscreen, so she wanted to be ready to go right away. Bia thought it was a good idea and did it too, so they were both in the water before we were even done setting up.  It was just Carol and I who needed sunscreen this time.  As we settled, I wanted to use the restroom and go back to the truck to get another chair and our drinks cooler that I had left behind, so I went towards the main building and found the restrooms in the back.  The restrooms were pretty clean.  On my way out towards the car, Calina’s pulled in the parking lot and saw me, so I confirmed where we were and they drove around looking for parking, but now the lot was pretty full.  Soon after I got back to our spot, Flavia showed up with the kids while Ricardo found a spot to park.  He got lucky and ended up finding one very close to where I had parked, and even closer to the beach.

The kids were super excited to see each other again.  Bia and Bella came running from the water when they saw Vi, Henrique and Charlie walking in.  Flavia put sunscreen on the kids and they all had to sit around a bit to wait, which they did patiently.  And as soon as they got the ok, they ran to the water.

The beach here was very nice.  Fine white sand, with enough sand to allow a good amount of people to spread out.  The water was super clear, and you could see your feet even where it was deeper.  The waves were a bit strong early on, but as the day went on, the sky opened up, the wind slowed down and the waves mellowed out.  It was a nice and easy beach, perfect for the kids.  There were a lot of people there today, but it was not like people piled up onto each other, there was plenty of open space everywhere.

Carol went in the water with the kids first, and was there for a while and went back a few times.  Flavia went a couple of times too, and was able to take a nice nap sitting on a chair right in front of the waves.  She had put two chairs there for her and Carol to watch the kids, and the kids were all elsewhere, and she took a nice nap.  We were all hoping her sunscreen would hold up, otherwise she’ll be feeling it later.  Ricardo and I sat by our area most of the time.  He went to the store to get a beach umbrella as he was feeling the sun a bit more today and wanted to get covered up, then Charline came and slept on Ricardo for a while too. 

I had to sneak a few beers in as they don’t allow alcohol at this beach.  Actually, I think it’s the entire county here.  I just put my beer in the Yeti koozy, had it covered with a towel, and just watched for the police guy who was riding around on an ATV enforcing it.  I went in the water with Carol and the kids once around when we arrived, then went again before we left.  The kids just played non stop, most of the time in the water.  They used the boards many times, they jumped waves, they went in and out, it was great to watch them play so much.  I think they only took one break, which is when they came in to sit under the shade and have some snacks. 

They played with the baloonies that Carol had bought and had fun chasing the little balloons as the wind blew them away.  We took the opportunity to reapply sunscreen on everyone.  The day turned out to be amazing, it was warm but not too hot, the sky was completely clear, as blue as could be.  The wind dialed down into a strong breeze and the water was clear and refreshing.  The water would feel cold at first, but it was perfect. 

Just as we were thinking about when to leave and were making dinner plans, I saw some people walking knee deep much further into the water, and there was a sand bank out there.  I was wanting to go in the water again anyway, and this did it.  I had to go check this out.  I went in, the kids came by me for a bit, and I told them what I was going to do, and that if it was not too far, they could swim up to me and stand by the sand bank.  Bella had been wanting to go to a sand bank for a while.  So, I went… walking as far as I could, then started swimming leisurely.  It took a bit to get to the sand bank, but I eventually made it there.  It was not too far for the kids, but it would take a bit for them to get there.  Before I could even say anything to them, Bia, Bella and Vi started swimming towards me.  By this time, Carol was in the water with Henrique and were coming this way too.  As I watched the 3 girls try to swim, I could tell they were having a hard time swimming against the waves, so I went towards them and asked if they needed help.  Bia was going strong and kept going without help.  Vi had things under control, even though she was not moving too fast.  Bella asked for help, so I swam towards her quick and grabber her arm.  I told her to keep swimming and that I’d help her get going, but to not just hang onto me because I would sink if she did that.  She did good, and kept trying while I pulled or pushed her, and we made it to the sand bank quickly from there.  I asked Bella to stand right there and gave Vi a hand so she got there quicker.  Bia was good, Vi was good, Bella was a little shaken up.  She said she felt like she was not going to make it, and that she was scared she would drown.  She was scared for sure.  I stayed by her, and just made sure she knew I was there and was not going to let anything happen, etc.  Carol was still trying to swim with Henrique that way, but he had floaties, so he’d float back at each wave. hahahaha… Flavia soon joined Carol and both of them were still not making a ton of progress.. hahahaha. Bia did better :). They made it there and we all enjoyed some time at the sand bank.  It was very cool to be there, far enough into the ocean yet had water up to your knees.  Flavia said she was impressed that Vi just did this as she’s not a confident swimmer.  Well, she did great, maintained her calm and control even when she was not moving much.  The waves out there were nice.  They were breaking pretty strong though, but would not push you down to the ground too much.  There were a few waves that pushed the girls pretty far and it was a bit scary for them, so I taught them how to lean into the wave and hit it hard so the wave would not push them.  Bia had a lot of fun doing that.  We spent a good 20 minutes or so by the sand bank, it was really fun.  Before going back, I chatted with the girls about how to make it back, and that they should ride the waves and it’d be easier.  I went side by side with Bella as she was a bit scared yet.  Going back was easy and we were out in no time, with no further incidents.

As we got back from the water, we started packing so we could go to dinner.  We packed everything, and took things and the kids to the rinse station.  That was nice.  Rinsing completely from the salt water was great.  I made a few trips between the spot we were in, the rinse station and the truck, but we got everyone rinsed up.  Charlie was screaming while Flavia rinsed him, maybe the strong spray was scaring him or maybe hurting a bit.  Henrique didn’t enjoy it either. The adults did, the spray actually made it nice. 

We loaded the vehicles up, got the kids changed quick, and went to the nearby pizza place we had picked.  Vi and Henrique came with us in the truck, so we had all the seats taken :). We got there first, got our table and as Carol took Henrique out of the truck, he asked to be held, and fell asleep on her arms instantly.  We got in, the girls picked a corner and had their drawings things out and were drawing.  Carol sat by a small booth seat with Henrique sleeping on her arms until Ricardo and Flavia arrived, then they just laid him down on the seat.  We ordered our pizzas, they were pretty decent pizzas, and called it a day from there.  We had a one hour drive back to camp, and Calina’s had a two hour drive from there to their house.

We drove back, stopped at a mini mart before we got to the campground so we could get milk and bread and stuff for tomorrow.  Then we did the wind down routine, showers, brushing teeth, etc. and all went to bed.  Everyone was pretty tired.

We had another awesome day with our friends at the beach, and loved Anna Maria Island and Manatee Beach.

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