Saturday, April 4, 2015

Florida Vacation - Snorkeling!

We had our most adventurous day on our last full day in Florida.

We started out by touring around the oceanfront areas of Fort Lauderdale. It was another beautiful day - sunny and warm, but not overly hot and humid.

We hit a few shops.

And walked along the ocean.

We had lunch outdoors again at a spot where we could see the beach and ocean. Kai had beef tacos, I had fish tacos, and my wife had fajitas. All very good.

And then it was time to go snorkeling.

None of us had ever snorkeled before, but it seemed like a good time and place to give it a try. We found an outfit that takes you on a two-hour glassbottom boat expedition. The first 15 minutes or so is a tour of Millionaires Row along the Intracoastal Waterway where we saw many many extraordinary houses and boats. Here are just a couple to give you an idea.

It is hard for us regular folks to fathom that there are people with that much money.

Kai didn't particularly pay much attention to these houses, but he seemed to enjoy the ride.

At least, he did until we hit the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

We had been warned that it was a windy day so the waves would be quite choppy. Once we were on the open waters, we found out just how choppy it was. Each time the boat went over a wave, it rocked from side to side like a real-life thrill ride. I had to admit that it made me uncomfortable. And it made Kai quite scared. He kept yelling to turn the boat around and go back. But of course there was no going back.

Fortunately, that part didn't last too long. After about 10-15 minutes, we had reached the point where we would snorkel.

But Kai was not happy at all.

But as the boat settled down, so did he. I think he was looking forward to going into the water where he is most comfortable.

Kai normally is like a fish in the water, but he never really got the hang of breathing through the tube. He kept his face above the water mostly, sticking it into the water only for brief moments at a time.

Here he is with me when he actually was in the proper position:

The dive master from the boat came over to try to instruct him on breathing, but like he is with me so often when I try to tutor him on various topics, Kai didn't seem to listen. The instructor even dove down to blow bubbles from below to try to get Kai's attention and get him to look down in the water, but it mostly went for naught.

Still, I think Kai did enjoy being in the water. We saw many fish and it was a very cool experience that I would like to try again.

As you can see, when he came back onto the boat, he was happy about the experience.

But then it took time to get the boat going as the anchor was stuck. The dive master had to go back into the water to get it unstuck, and in the meantime the other boat had already left. Kai doesn't like being left behind in the last boat (or car or taxi or whatever). And then when the boat finally did get going, we had to endure the choppy ride back again. He was back to being unhappy, angry Kai.

As the boat went along, the dive master came over to give Kai a high five, Kai snubbed him as he took out his anger on the man who had spent time trying to teach him. It was quite frustrating for my wife and I. We told Kai that he was being very rude, and explained to him that the man was trying to be nice and friendly with him and that he should be friendly back to him. I don't think Kai really understood what we told him. It is just like when he takes his anger out on the staff at school who are trying to teach him. He just doesn't get it.

I was feeling embarrassed and wanted to explain to the dive master that Kai has autism. But I didn't. After awhile you accept that you can't explain your child's behavior to every single person he comes in contact with.

Back on dry land, Kai was happy again.

We went to the beach for one last swim.

He was a happy kid again.

Though the snorkeling adventure wasn't a complete success, I was happy that we had tried it. Next time we'll have Kai practice in a pool or even a bathtub before we go again. And maybe we'll pick a calmer day.

That evening, we had our last vacation dinner, this one at a Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant.

After dinner, we walked along the oceanfront one last time. We saw the full moon over the beach.

Now we're back home. We woke up at 4AM so it's been a long day of traveling and connecting flights.

I asked Kai the question that everyone will probably ask him: What did you like the best on the vacation?

He said everything.

Except snorkeling.


I would say everything.


We had a lot of good times. And in time, I think the memories will pretty much all be good ones. Except for Kai. I notice that he seems to remember mostly just the bad times.

Oh well, what can you do?

And now, back to reality.


  1. A great day at the beach and in and on the water. A great vacation as well.
    One thing I do love about tropical locations, they do have beautiful nights.

    1. It was beautiful day and night. The full moon was a nice finale!

  2. What a fun vacation you had!

    The first time I went snorkeling I had a hard time the first few minutes just having the mask on....I felt some claustrophobia setting in even while still sitting on the boat! haha. But once you get the hang of the breathing it's better...and the beautiful ocean floor is a great distraction. Practicing in a pool is a great idea....I'm sure Kai will get it in time.

    You did capture his angry face in that one photo...just had to laugh. All in all, though, a very successful vacation! Good for all of you!

    1. Haha, we see his angry face all too often... we can laugh about this one now, too, as we know he ended up having a good time in the water. You're right, though, it was a good vacation overall!

  3. Wow! Fort Lauderdale is such a wonderful place. You and your family seemed to have had an amazing time enjoying the sights and sounds. Even Kai had fun at the beach, despite that little mishap at the snorkeling adventure. Anyway, it’s great that you enjoyed your stay in Florida. Good day!

    Andrea Wilkins @ Getaway Outdoors


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