Eli’s Fun Fabulous Fantastic Florida Excursion and Snorkeling Day #3

On the agenda for today was snorkeling near Fort Lauderdale, but it was too windy and it was cancelled. Mayreen and I did some searching for a plan B, and Mayreen (a.k.a. “Ant May May”, yes I know it’s usually spelled “Aunt”, but Eli doesn’t know that and Mayreen really loves to be called Ant) found a kayak tour farther south in Biscayne. There was a miscommunication and Eli actually just wanted to swim at the hotel, but we had already paid, so we persisted in the new plans. This didn’t go over well with Eli, so he was less than pleased to leave. My next task was to get him back into a good mood. What to do, what to do?

We stopped at Trader Joe’s to pick up lunch supplies for the next few days. While there, I saw these cute baby pumpkins and thought to myself, “Self, Eli would like one of these. He brought home a pumpkin from the hospital last time we were there, so of course a micro version would be great, especially the white one”. I also picked up the knock off version of Nutella, and today is Nutella Friday, therefore, Eli can’t be mad if we have Nutella.

So, I brought the little pumpkin out to the van where he was sulking and said, “Eli, I brought you a baby ghost pumpkin.” He didn’t say anything yet, but accepted the pumpkin when I insisted.

He remained generally uncommunicative as we continued driving, but started to respond with a yes or no to questions. The turning point, both literally and figuratively, was when we accidentally got off the freeway too soon. While looking for a place to turn around, we ended up in a “Pom pom” forest. Eli, if you recall, had on his wish list a “pom pom” leaf, which my sister Mayreen helped him obtain. It was like heaven to drive through an actual forest of the trees.

At this point, he was back to his normal, cheerful self, and started to ask for a coconut.

While waiting for our kayak tour, Eli found a coconut. He also learned how hard it is to open coconuts, but through persistence and hard work, he managed to open multiple coconuts laying around the area.

The wet splatter on the ground is coconut milk.

Our kayak tour was quite interesting. The tour guide told us all about the area, its history, plants, and animals. We kayaked around the bay looking at the mangroves, then went along the canal to a bridge where we were able to watch for manatees.

By the time we were heading out of the canal, Eli was worn out, so Ella and I towed him with our kayak. He helped from time to time.

On our drive out of Biscayne, we experienced a Google maps fail as the road was riddled with potholes. The upside is that we found another coconut for Eli.

After navigating through the potholes, we stopped by Walgreen’s to look for a pool floatie where we experienced the highlight of the day. Mayreen took Eli in and they came out a few minutes later with 10 bags of chips and snacks, including Funyons. I wish I had a picture. Mayreen just doesn’t know how to say “No” to a child with incurable cancer.

We also stopped for dinner, which I had preordered through the website, at Versailles, another Cuban restaurant recommended by Dr. Carter. Another food success.

We ate on the rest of the drive back to the hotel and prepared for a swim in the pool, which Eli had been asking for all day. Even though our plans changed from the original, we had a great time and even enjoyed meeting Hector, a small lizard Eli and Ella rescued from the hotel pool, in which we spent the remainder of the evening.

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