Day 5 -Sea World

Florida 2011 252Florida 2011 273Florida 2011 272Florida 2011 269Florida 2011 236Got up at 06:00 having slept quite well even though the thunderstorms were still rumbling on when we went to bed. After having breakfast in the villa we set off to Orlando at 07:00 in a thunderstorm which carried on until we were well clear of Bradenton. Eventually the rain stopped and the sun made an appearance. The journey went without incident apart from some idiot in a pick up who despite me moving to the middle lane to let him on the motorway decided to come straight in to the middle lane. I was forced to take immediate evasive action. It was at this point I discovered a shortcoming of our hire car in that it can’t handle sudden changes of direction and I thought for a second I was going to crash. I was lucky that there were no other cars close to me. Shaken but not stirred I carried on and the truck dropped back. We arrived at Sea World at 09:00 in bright sunshine. As we were making our way to the entrance we saw Gary and Paula from work with their youngest daughter Amy, whom we had arranged to meet. Our first port of call was the water ride Journey to Atlantis. The girls all wimped out so it was left to Gary and myself to get wet although sitting in row 4 we were OK. After that we headed to the Whale & Dolphin Theatre for the Blue Horizons show which was a wonderful mixture of Dolphins, Flying Acrobats and Birds (the feathered kind). It is a wonderful show and a must for anyone visiting Sea World. Jan and I then headed for the roller coaster Manta but it was a 20 minute wait so we headed over to the SeaLion and Otter Stadium for Clyde and Seamore take Pirate Island show. The best bit of this show is where one of the cast stands at the front and takes the mickey out of the people arriving – it is very funny. The next port of call was the Shamu Stadium for the One Ocean show. On the way we visited the Shark Encounter which is an underwater viewing tunnel where you can get close up to the Sharks protected from them by very thick glass. The Shamu show is not so good anymore, as since the fatal accident last year the trainers are not allowed in the water with the whales. It has also got very cheesy. Having said that it is still a good show and lots of people got very wet. We had a bit of time before the next show so we headed off to Manta. Jan and I got on very quickly – this is one of my favourite roller coasters and it was great to get back on it again. After that we headed off for lunch and a chat. Gary and Paula’s eldest daughter Laura who is training to be an Air Traffic Controller had been interviewed on the local TV programme South Today during the opening of the new National Air Traffic Service’s training centre at Whiteley – she is the only girl on the course so they suspect she lost the raffle. Jan and I wish her the best of luck on what is a very tough course. Their other daughter Amy is undecided at present although she is very keen on animals and horses in particular. After lunch Gary and I headed back to Journey to Atlantis for a second go and this time we were really ‘brave’ and sat in the second row. We got wetter than the first time but it was actually quite refreshing. Our final show was Pets Ahoy at the Seaport Theatre. This is a favourite of all of us and involves rescue animals who have been trained to do amazing tricks. As Gary said training a cat, an animal that normally does what it likes, to crawl along a rope commando style takes some doing. Jan and I still had to do the roller coaster Kraken so we headed off there stopping at the Penguin Encounter and Sea Lion enclosure. When we got to Kraken there was a technical Problem with the ride. It turned out that the ride had left the start without all the seat beats fastened and it just stopped on the initial climb. To make matters worse for the people on the ride there was a nasty looking storm approaching. We both wondered that if we hadn’t stopped to see the Penguins and Sea Lions we might have been on that ride.The staff started to get the people off but at this point we all decided it was time to leave as it looked as though we were going to get very wet. It was disappointing not to get on Kraken but there was no point staying. What was really funny was Gary trying to convince us all that he was just about to run after Jan and I and come on the ride at the very moment the ride was closed down. We had a lovely day with Gary, Paula and Amy and wish them a safe journey home on Thursday. After saying our goodbyes and heading to what I thought was our car – wrong! – same model same colour but not ours. After wandering around for a few minutes we heard a car alarm going off – yes it was our car and the boot was wide open – I must have pressed the boot opening and the panic buttons! I just shouldn’t be let out in public. Just as we left Sea World the heavens opened. After a brief detour for more petrol we headed out on to the I4 to join the rush hour traffic. On the subsequent journey back to Anna Maria Island I drove in the worst driving conditions I had ever encountered in nearly 40 years of driving. It was like the night in 2003 when we got separated from Del in International Drive only worse and it lasted for nearly 50 miles. Having been critical of an American driver earlier on this page the standard of driving from the other road users was exemplary. It was very scary at times but I didn’t feel in any danger from them. About 20 miles from home the rain stopped for a while and we were able to pick up speed a little bit. We stopped off at Appleby’s for dinner which as you can imagine after the journey we had, tasted wonderful. Whilst we were in the restaurant it started raining again but by then we didn’t care. We made it home in one piece and hit the sack just after nine. Although the journey home was a nightmare we had a great day at Sea World with Gary, Paula and Amy. Tomorrow I am going to ring Dollar and try and get the car changed for one less dangerous! Finally a big Happy Birthday to my daughter Dominique – 30 years young today. Have a wonderful day.

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