Friday, June 6, 2008

Honeymoon day 11 The Sponge Docks

We had been told that there was a place near where we were staying that was a must visit. It was the sponge docks. Yeah, for sponges that are grown under the ocean! We didn't know where it was, so we drove forever until we got to a AAA. They then informed us that it was about 3 minutes away from the house in the other direction. So, we arrive to see a million people waving flags (okay, like 4) for parking. We drive through and decide that the best parking is right at the front. We park and go!
The whole area is a street lined with shops on one side and shops and docks on the other. The shops had all kinds of cool stuff. The sponging business was mostly run by Greek immigrants, and so there was quite a Greek flair to everything there. The shops sold Greek clothing, handmade soaps and lotions, cool shells and strangely, fisher price toys that speak Greek.We went into the first shop and there were a TON of really cool sponges. There was also a lady selling boat tours. It sounded interesting, so we took a flier. We went and signed up and it was worth it. We toured the shops, looked at all kinds of interesting stuff and then it was time for the nature tour. We and a few other people got onto a pontoon kind of boat and the tour guide told us all about the history of the area, then took us into a bird sanctuary, and an island. We saw all kinds of cool stuff. We saw diving birds, bald eagles, all kinds of fish, dolphins, and just all around coolness. The guide was really knowledgeable, and it was really great. We came back and went shopping for real. I bought a bunch of sponges, Jason got two loooong loofahs, we got some other odds and ends and then last but certainly not least, we got some awesome soap. It's honeysuckle scented and has a little sponge embedded in it. It is really awesome. Oh! Also there was a whole shop filled with hot sauces. Jason got a bunch to complement the collection he had been building. Remind me to post on that later.

At the end of the street was an aquarium. We decided to go in. At the beginning was a talk for you to touch urchins, and starfish. Those were neat. Then there was a HUGE tank full of all kinds of native fish including sharks. I was worried when we went in that it would be poorly kept and grubby, but it was the opposite. The fish were all really healthy and the place was really nice. The employees were extremely knowledgeable. After the huge tank there was a stingray and shark petting tank.

That was really cool too. Even Jason petted stingrays and a shark. The shark's skin was really rough. The rays all had their stingers removed, and the guy had some to show us, but said they could grow back at any time, so there was still a little danger, but rays aren't aggressive. We fed them shrimp. You could hold the shrimp on your hand underwater and they would come suck it off. The next tank also had sharks, but not the petting kind. You could feed them, but had to put the shrimp on the end of knitting needles. It was scary! There were a lot of working boats there. We thought these were derelict, but they were working shrimp boats:

We were tired then, so we went to dinner and it started raining. Pouring really. We decided to go to a movie. We run through the pouring rain and see signs everywhere that say that the power "might" go out, because of the storm. We think they are sissies and go watch Superhero movie. It was funny, but obviously not too memorable as I just had to ask Jason what we saw.

We got back to the house and dried off. EEK!

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