Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tampa – Friends, Pets, and Kids

Bryce and I made a big father son trip to my old stomping grounds in Tampa. I must admit that I was also getting a big benefit out of going since I was able to reconnect with several friends that I don’t get to see often enough. Email and phones are great, but they just don't cut it when it comes to hanging out with people.

We took off from the office on Friday, and drove until around 2am…well, I drove whilst Bryce napped in the back. Fortunately XM radio had all the baseball games I could stand to listen to in order to keep me occupied.

Bryce loved the tower in Rick's boat. It's a jungle gym coupled with a boat! What could be better!!!

The plan was to show Bryce something that he didn’t get to do much. He really enjoys fishing at the lake every summer, and this would let him see something larger than brim and the offhand bass. We did as much as we could with the limited time a 7 year old can focus, even on really interesting stuff like tarpon.

Rick caught bait fish that were already larger than anything Bryce has caught in the lake. That was a bit of a new concept for Bryce, and he was wondering what size fish we would catch when the bait was that big.

After a stop at Egmont Key for some snorkeling and jumping off the old fort walls, we started to motor to another location. That’s when a group of tarpon rolled near the boat. We hooked up a bait fish and scanned the water for the group. After a search, we found the group of tarpon again and tossed a line near them as we drifted with the motor off. They were decent sized tarpon based on the shapes in the water, but you wouldn’t know how they got so big if you judged them by their eating patterns during our attempts to hook one. They didn’t seem hungry at all. I swear that Rick hit one in the head with one cast and it didn’t do anything. Of course, maybe that’s how they got big. They ate things that didn’t include a barbed hook! We also ventured out to Beer Can Island and had some fun in the water there. This island is the infamous location of a boat explosion last week where someone didn’t bother to run their blower while a generator was running in the engine compartment. Everyone survived, but some people were in pretty bad shape. The stench of burned up fiberglass and some boat parts were still on the shore when we walked by the site.

The day we had to make the arduous journey home was initially planned as another fishing outing, but a steady rain decided to get in the way. What was the solution for the day? Bryce and Rick went out to ride the wave at Adrenalina, and looked like they had a blast. Here is a short video of their exploits.

It’s seriously hard to do, but there was one big guy there that made it look easy. Honestly, there is always someone that makes it look easy...and then you try it.

Another part of the weekend was the collection of pets that have taken up residence in Rick and Jodi's house. 1 large semi-hyper dog, 1 chihuahua (or saber toothed squirrel perhaps), and a cat that has some feline identity issues. Bryce couldn't leave them alone, and they loved the attention. I could see this being a problem...meaning I might end up with another mouth to feed.

It was a great trip and I am seriously tired now. I think I’ll go to bed early for a change…

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