Andrews Family Vacation Memories, Pt. 1

My family loves to travel. Growing up, we got to go on a lot of family vacations. This led to some interesting adventures, so I thought I should record some of the most memorable moments from these trips.


My parents own a timeshare in Florida, so we went there quite often. One summer, we spent our vacation on Hutchinson Island. For one of our activities, we rented a boat and took it down the river and out onto the ocean. It was pretty fun as long as we were moving, but when we spotted a pod of dolphins nearby, my dad cut the engine and we sat bobbing in the waves for a while. Unfortunately, both my mom and I are quite susceptible to motion sickness, so we were anxious to get moving again. When my dad started the engine, the boat turned in just the right direction for a wave to knock us sideways. This sent sent my mom falling across the deck, skinning her knees. We never rented a boat again.

Not that we had much more luck with cars. One of the most notorious rental cars my family drove on vacation was dubbed the "cockroach-mobile." Believe me, this name was well earned. We rented this beauty in Miami in the summer of 1997 and drove it south through the Florida Keys. During the daytime, it wasn't too scary, but whenever we would open the doors at night and the dome light would come on, we would see the roaches scatter. My brothers developed a habit of jumping in as fast as they could and stomping around to try to slay the beasts. It didn't really do much good. Riding in that car in the dark grossed me out because I kept expecting to feel little legs crawling on me.

Canoeing in Key Largo

While Jeremy was on his mission, the rest of us took a trip to Orlando. We found out that the shuttle Atlantis was scheduled to launch while we were there, so my parents and I decided to go and see the launch (Jason opted to stay at the condo and sleep). We had to get up and drive to the coast in the wee hours of the morning. Since you can't actually go out on Cape Canaveral during a launch, we found a place to park on the mainland and watched from the coast. It was really cool to see. Even though we were several miles away, we could see the fire as the shuttle blasted off, and after a slight delay we could hear the roar. I sure hope Jason regrets missing that.

One thing that I doubt any of us would have regretted missing was our trip to Lion Country Safari. This is basically a zoo that you drive through. I think it would probably be fun for little kids, but we went as disillusioned teenagers. To this day we still laugh about the sad animals laying around looking like they were dead. I imagine summer in Florida is not really the most active time for the lions. In preparation for this post, I looked at the Lion Country Safari website. It looks a lot more exciting online than I remember it being. But maybe they've refurbished since our visit.

Grand Cayman

In the summer of 1998, we took a trip to Grand Cayman. We did a lot of snorkeling off the beach at our hotel, but the most memorable snorkeling experience was when we rode on a catamaran with Captain Dexter (an old British man in a Speedo) to Stingray City. This is a sandbar where the water is only about 4 feet deep and there are tons of stingrays. The rays are used to people, so they will let you touch them and feed them. You don't really have to snorkel here—you can just stand on the sandbar and let the stingrays rub up against your legs as they search for a handout. Honestly, I was terrified. I was in the water long enough for Captain Dexter to catch a big stingray for me to hold while my dad snapped a photo (said photo is not posted because it's a little embarrassing since I was crying). I still haven't lived down my reaction to the stingrays, and don't expect I ever will.

Captain Dexter's catamaran

Grand Cayman is a fairly small island, but you still need a car to get around. So my family rented another infamous auto: a Maruti. A small jeep-type vehicle, the Maruti didn't have a normal back seat, but instead had two benches facing each other in the back. There weren't any seat belts on these benches. This would have been less of an issue if people in Grand Cayman drove on the right-hand side of the road. But, since it is a British territory, they drive on the left. So we rode around in what we started to call the "beer can death trap" on the left-hand side of the road while my dad tried to operate a stick shift with his left hand. Surprisingly, he only ended up turning onto the wrong side of the road twice. Still, I think we were all glad to get back to driving in America.

The infamous Maruti


Dave said...

I seem to remember your dad bringing up the stingray incident when I had the "can I marry your daughter?" chat with him. It must have come during the all important "how does Kristen handle stingrays?" part of the discussion.

Krissy said...

I don't think I will ever live that down.