I just got home from my first real vacation (from the Latin verb "vacare," to be empty - as in, what my office cubicle has been for the last two weeks) in ten years. I stayed at a beachfront resort on Lido Key in Sarasota, Florida. I didn't do much more than eat, read, sleep and walk on the beach at sunrise and sunset, so I won't bore you with an item-by-item itinerary of each day. But here are some of the pictorial highlights...
We drove from London, Ontario to Florida. As in, DROVE. By car. It's a long trip. Ish. We did it in two days, taking I-75 most of the way.
Below is a view of Port Huron, Michigan, on the first morning of our trip. What can I say? It was something like 6:00 a.m. Oh yes. We left at 5:00.
I think this was taken somewhere in Ohio. I just liked the green leaves against the blue sky. When we left London, the leaves weren't out quite this much.
Eating on the Road
One final aside before I get into the beach photos: I had a lot of trouble eating in restaurants both during the drive down and back, and while in Sarasota. Below is me making beans and rice, our first night at the resort. Thank goodness we had a kitchen in our unit.
This is where we stayed - the Limetree Resort.
And finally... the ocean. Well, the Gulf, I guess.
I did yoga every morning before sunrise, and walked the beach at sunrise and sunset. The rest of the time I kind of avoided the beach, so many of these pictures seem moody and cloudy...
A man-made barrier of rocks marked the end of the public beach and the beginning of the resort beachfronts.
Below is a favorite spot where I walked each day, before turning around and heading back to the resort. It was a kind of point, with some wild dunes to the right.
Some days the tide littered the beach with seaweed.
Below are the sand dunes, where sea turtles nested. Hopefully.
Our resort - a timeshare - put out these wooden loungers for owners and guests.
The rocks on an eerily calm morning.
There were tons of birds - gulls, sand pipers, egrets, pelicans and a heron - on the beach. Every evening a woman would feed the gulls bread crumbs on the public beach.
The sand was like cornstarch underfoot - so fine and soft.
An inveterate beachcomber, I loved the abundance of shells that littered the beach.
One lucky evening I found three whole sand dollars.
The waves ground all the shells into a coarse mash - like eggshells underfoot - on the way to making sand...
Near the end of our first week I started noticing these weathered shells that looked like sea turtles. They're the only ones I brought home with me.
I think these barnicles were still alive...
My favorite shells were the ones that were worn smooth by the waves.
I was also fascinated by the many kinds of seaweed.
There were many ones like the example below, which were soft underfoot. I think they were sponges.
Another compulsive photography subject: The many sand castles that people built every day on the beach.
Occasionally the projects veered into unconventional territory. Like the octopus, below.
In the two weeks we were there, I never made a sand castle myself. But I did created this small spiral of shells near a large sand structure that grew like a small town with each passing day.
Here's the entire structure, the day before the family who built it left.
Some people just dug holes. This one was deep.
Shells were the favored form of castle decoration.
Some sand turtles...
A sand angel...
An indeterminate sand structure with a message:
A large, sand golf club.
A beautiful moat.
I saw this exquisite castle the night before we left. I loved the details...
Like the guard house...
And the entrance to the castle itself, complete with leaf door.
Gargoyle-like structures on the roof...
Elsewhere: A parade of tiny turtles...
Another small village...
In my last three or four days on the beach, I started making large, spiral labyrinths, walking them contemplatively. Here I've photographed my shadow stretching across one. There are about three feet between each line.
My feet, walking the labyrinth.
I couldn't get enough of the sand and the water between my toes.
Also: Yoga on the beach was bliss.
Standing in the path of waves...
One night I made my labyrinth on very dry sand, and shuffled my feet through the sand with a dragging motion so I'd be able to retrace my steps accurately. I didn't realize until I started to walk back to the resort that the sand had abraded my feet so much that they turned red.
My right footprint, photographed on my last night.
My buddy the heron. He tolerated many photo shoots.
Sunrise over the dunes.
Sunrise over the resort.
A million sunsets. Ish. I didn't know how to organize them, so they're simply chronological.
I took hardly any photos of myself, strangely enough. Here's a rare self-portrait after doing yoga one morning.
Proud of my 50-pound weight loss, celebrated in a new bikini.