Miami – Being terrified of scorpions, alligators & crocodiles. Star Island, Home of the famous and some HUGE houses.

The Everglades was an experience I’d really like to do again. We left the comfort of the heart of Miami to head a little way out to the Everglades to do a tour and try and see some alligators and crocodiles! It was a one of a kind experience and like I said I would totally go back and do it all over again. Firstly because the fan boats were so incredibly loud but SO much fun, they went a whole lot faster than I thought they would! And secondly, because we actually only saw one baby Alligator and that was about it!

I want to go again so that I have a little more of a chance to see some more of those water creatures I am so wonderfully afraid of! Although I say this now, chances are when it finally comes to going back It’ll be one of those things where I won’t see anything again. But the experience would be totally worth it.

 

We had a guide on the back of our fan boat, the boat sat about 15-25 people and we ended up at the back which meant we got given ear plugs because of how loud the fan was. Our guide was great, she was really talkative and open to all question and she actually got into the water at one stage of our tour where the water was only knee deep and all I could do was watch and listen and just PRAY that there was no creature with sharp teeth circling around her shins. It was pretty cool though when she just got back into the boat as if it was totally normal. But then I guess for her It was!

 

I could only imagine some of the beasts she’s been lucky enough to see on the huge area of water and grassland that is the Everglades! When we arrived back at the boat area we all piled out of the boat and headed towards a show area! Here we all sat around this large fenced area in the middle where another guide demonstrated how to tackle and catch an alligator or crocodile! I wasn’t the biggest fan of it, but it was so interesting to watch. And If I ever get into a spot of bother with an alligator or crocodile then I know how to handle it, because you know, its something I deal with on a regular basis in the UK… sure.

He also showed us other animals and reptiles and Its a safe to say GJ and I thoroughly enjoyed it when he decided to place a scorpion in his hands, pretty damn close to my entire body. The photographs sums up our exact emotions. BUT I did get to hold a baby alligator, and if thats not cool and totally doesn’t makes up for the fact he terrified me with a scorpion then I don’t know what will!

 

*****

When In Miami it would be almost rude not to do the boat tour of Star Island and all the other celeb inhibited areas! Although probably incredibly intrusive to those celebs that live on star island, some of the houses were absolutely out of this world. We went on the trip with Island Queen tours and it was honestly such a fun experience for our little trip.

The tour started in the harbour of Miami where theres also a huge market place! I bought a hoodie that said Miami on it and it lasted a grand total of one wash. I pulled it out of the washing machine and I hadn’t gone to Miami, I’d just gone to M-am- Instead, the letters had peeled of nicely!

 

We hopped onto this boat which had two tiers, it also had a bar with refreshments and an intercom across the entire boat so our guide could tell us who’s house/flat we were passing as well as all the other wonderful sights we did see. It wasn’t incredibly bumpy either on the boat so the journey was smooth. The water is such a clear blue when you hung your head out of the windows you could see all the jellyfish bobbing about in the water.

Not only did we get to see star island but you also get this totally different view of the Miami Skyline, all the cruise ships in the harbour were also massively impressive. It took us about an hour and a half to get around. We saw the houses that have been rented out by the likes of Kayne, P Diddy and houses that belong too Philip Frost, Shaquille O’Neall, Will Smith, Gloria Estefan and A few residents are women from the real housewives of Miami.

 

We also saw Fisher Island and Millionaire Row. Fisher Island is only accessible by helicopter or ferry and get people like Demi Moore and Bruce Willis renting the flats there. Plenty more famous faces still visit there too. It even has a golf course and a supermarket, I’d just never leave.

Nearing the end of the tour they take you under one of Miami’s main roads into the Port where the cruise ships sit and there were 5 HUGE big ships all docked. I’d never been so close to a cruise ship as nothing terrifies me more than cruise ships. But they looked wonderfully impressive from the outside, at a distance, in another boat that wasn’t a cruise ship. Much where I’d rather be!

 

We chose the best day for it too as there was no cloud in the sky! Overall I would totally go again, for the experience and because I enjoyed the boat trip that much!

 

 

Miami – Miami South Beach, Tiny Shorts wearing models & Nearly getting eaten by Sharks.

Miami south beach was my idea of perfect. I know I’m not yet travelled enough to have seen Thailand and Australia etc and I’m very sure my opinion will change once I do go to those places. But for now, Miami South Beach is my beach of dreams, its also where I realised I wanted to study tourism.

Our first day on Miami south was spent walking up and down the sand, not going that far into the water as there were swarms of jelly fish everywhere and watching a man nearly get eaten by sharks. No really,  he really did nearly get his ankles nibbled by a shark. But I shall get to that.

I was blown away. I love the beach. At home the beach is my happy place. So any beach that is more gorgeous than the seafront at home, which is most as its England, will never fail to absolutely blow me away. It had golden sand and the clearest sea I have ever swam in so far in my life. The lifeguard huts were even like ones you see from the movies. I fell in love. I won’t hide it.

This was also where I fell in love with the idea of working in the tourism industry. The influence of all the tourists and the sites that I saw as I wondered along the beach were something that made me realise that this industry was for me. So it really wasn’t just any old meaningless trip to Miami South for me because I decided my future. The best decision may I add.

One day I went for a wonder along Miami South on my own with just my headphones and I saw a stingray for the first time as it swam along the shoreline! I never thought I’d see one so close to the shore and because the sea was so clear it was so impressively large and swam so fast. i also saw a film crew filming someone who looked to be a male model, but its safe to say the swimming shorts were far to short for my liking.

The walk where the man nearly got bitten by the shark was an interesting one. I wasn’t on my own for this experience either so I had Imi’s shoulder to hide behind if I needed too. There was a a serious jellyfish problem at the time we were there so a few huge schools of fish were coming really close to the shore to feed, and following those schools of fish were some little sharks who wanted to eat the fish. Because they were so close to shore some man decided yeah Ill walk out into the water where the fish are, and the shark which you could see very clearly, and take some photos.

I think he realised the mistake he’d made when the shark spotted him and started to go for him and he was knee deep and humans running in knee deep water doesn’t always work in our favour. That and the shark was a lot faster than he was. So he literally JUST managed to make it back to the shallows before the shark decided he fancied fish instead of human for lunch.

5

Honestly you know when you’re cheering someone on to win a competition because they’re winning and an opponent is just behind them and you get that rush of excitement and you’re alrmost screaming for them to win? It was a lot like that because we didn’t want his ankles to be devoured.

One day Imi, GJ and I decided we wanted to go exploring to the end of the beach where there was South Pier. The view of the coastline from south pier was literally something from a magazine, I was speechless. It made me realise Miami is a beautiful place. The other side of the pier was the harbour and I think what made it was when the disney cruise ship was leaving the harbour and they sounded the horn that played disney tune and I melted. It was an impressively large harbour and port which can hold up to 5 cruise ships! But I’ll get to that in my next post about our Star Island trip!

My stepmum and I also did a beach run along the boardwalk that they have along the top of the beach, almost like a promenade. That was perfect to run on. It was also incredibly hot, but really perfect for a 6 mile run as we went a little earlier in the morning! We tried to run along the sand but as you can imagine that wasn’t the easiest!

So the verdict from Miami south was that I’m going to live there one day and bury myself  under the sand so I never have to leave ever again. And go to Nikki Beach. 

 

 

Orlando – The Orca In the Room

Uh oh spaghetti-o, guess who has a very strong dislike for Seaworld? Yup, you guessed it. Seaworld is a difficult topic for a few. Please remember whilst you’re reading through this post this is my opinion, I can’t stress this enough, I don’t speak for anyone but myself.

334I enjoy Seaworld because of its rollercoasters, and the fact that they have people there that dress up as mermaids. Dreams can come true in the shape of a fake fish tail and a shell bikini. The rollercoasters at Seaworld I have to admit, are amazing. I love Manta and the fact they lay you down when you’re on the ride, its like you’re flying & I also love the ride The Kraken as its HUGE. It was the biggest rollercoaster they had when I went, I think there is currently a larger one under construction at the moment in the park!

Seeing the Penguins was enjoyable but made me slightly sad at the size of their enclosure, and I don’t like simulators, so I skipped the ride associated with the penguins and went straight to the penguins haha! Going on the log flume was SO much fun too and it was perfect to cool us down on the warm day!

580I can’t fault Seaworld in terms of everything other than its shows. The park itself I always always enjoy myself. It was lovely to be there with the families I was with and we had a great time. And I tried ice cream that was in little balls for the first time, no pun intended, it was literally tiny tiny little balls and they were ice cream! So cool! Literally! (now that was a shitty pun)

*****

Now, the main attraction at Seaworld is quite evidently their shows. This is where I discuss my opinion on it, its up too you whether you read or not.

Their Dolphin shows, and their Orca shows, Their Orca shows being their main and their largest show. Now whilst these shows are great for the little ones, or for those who aren’t aware of the animal cruelty involved, or even if you just like the shows generally, there were so many hidden secrets, which are no longer hidden due to media coverage, from the outside world about Seaworld.

Admittedly, part of me never wants to go to Seaworld because I know that if I pay the entry fee, its probably going towards harmful and horrid things that I don’t want it too, but when you’re in a group of large people and a majority want to go, you don’t really have much choice. That and there are other things to do within the park which I enjoy, for example as before; the rides!

My issue with Seaworld started when I learnt about the captivity of their Orca’s and how small and unpractical their tanks are, how much and far they actually swim in those tanks compared too how much they should and could swim when out in the wild. Going around and around in circles in those small tanks. Imagine if that was you, forced to perform and put in a small tank where you could hardly move around.

Of course, another thing that played a big part in my thoughts on Seaworld was Blackfish, the documentary on one of their whales Tilikum, who has unfortunately passed away in January 2017, if you haven’t seen it and are a little curious as to whats actually going on a Seaworld, give it a watch!

Not only have these animals being in captivity caused their nature to be violent due to their breeding programmes of other violent whales, but trainers have died or been near death after accidents where the whales have landed on them or grabbed hold of them. They’re not meant to be show animals, they’re meant to be in the ocean.

Theres not enough room in those tanks, those conditions for all those Orca’s and Dolphins is abysmal, as well the other animals in the park, and to go into the park and spend money made me wonder how much of this cruel fantasy I was funding. Of course, minus all that doom and gloom, I did actually have a wonderful day with those I was with.

Of course I could go on and on, but I’m pretty sure you get the picture.

But the shows were something I didn’t enjoy, And I never will until they’re free.

#EmptyTheTanks #SaveOurSeas