The next couple of weeks brought more visitors. First up was a visit from Ben’s uncle Geff. Geff plays oboe in a traveling band that performs twice a year. The group he was performing with played in conjunction with the Sailor Circus in Sarasota.
We learned all about the Sailor Circus history and the Circus Arts Conservatory in Sarasota. In 1927 the Ringling Brothers moved their winter headquarters to Sarasota. The Circus Arts Conservatory pays homage to the circus history. It provides a number of classes and outreach programs to students in the area. The concert was all circus themed music and we all greatly enjoyed it. A different member of the band comes up and directs each song. There were a number of styles of circus music including many well recognized upbeat marches.
Once the concert was finished Geff joined us in the stands while the center ring was reset for the circus performers. We had so much fun watching the gymnasts. Bikes, unicycles, tightropes, gymnastics, hoops, giant swings, etc. I had to hold my breath and close my eyes quite a few times. The girls absolutely loved it. They would beg to take classes there if we lived here!
After the performance we headed back to the boat and cooked dinner for Geff and Barbara. They rented an Airbnb in Gulfport so we got to spend more time with them the next day. We took them to the Cuban restaurant in Gulfport for lunch. The girls had just finished their unit on Cuba and made travel brochures for a final project. They brought them along to show Geff and Barbara as they went to Cuba with Ben’s parents a couple of years ago.
Random picture of a homeschool project. The girls had to design a water filter. They chose to use a double layer of coffee filters, twine and some rubber bands. They gathered up sand, dirt, rocks and some grass to test it out. It was VERY slow but worked really well! The water it filtered through was quite clear. And yet none of us was brave enough to try drinking it. The girls have learned plenty about water filtration over the last couple of years. When we went to the Bahamas they took an active role in testing all of our water when we used the water maker. That water was the cleanest water we’ve ever had. We like to grab the tester here and there and test the water in various cities we are in. Our friends the Zeeffs have our tester right now so we weren’t able to test out the girls’ water!
Next visitors….the Wilsons! They moved from Clearwater to Gulfport for a few days. We were all too happy to meet them at the Gulfport farmer’s market and then take them to….the island! They’d certainly heard us talk about it long enough.
We all gathered at our boat and took two dinghy trips out to the island to drop everyone off. Nina and the first load of girls found a dead pig on the other side of the beach! What?! After my shock wore off I realized likely someone had a pig roast and then left all the remains. Nina gave the girls a science lesson while the other half of us were on our way out. Head. Spine. Pelvis. It was pretty gross and yet cool.
Next up was showing them the tree houses. The girls went from tree house climbing to spending a long time chopping coconuts open. Someone left an axe by one of the tree houses. We were a tad nervous letting them use it but no one lost any fingers. Nina, Wendy and I hung on the beach with Mia while the girls worked away. They were so excited when they broke it open. We all nibbled a tad but none of us actually like coconut that much!
We watched a beautiful sunset on the two dinghy trips back to the marina. While we were at the island Bobby and Ben were working on replacing Bobby and Wendy’s fresh water pump. We got the better end of the deal. Nina kept all of the girls that evening and Bobby, Wendy, Ben and I got to have a date night out for dinner! It was then time for another goodbye. Ben and the girls and I were heading to Cape Coral/Ft. Myers for Looperpalooza and to visit my mom and Jim and the Wilsons planned to leave Gulfport before our return. I was skeptical because of the wind forecast! Turns out I was right…they were still there when we returned and we got one more dinner together before they did indeed have to head south while we were staying put for a couple of months. But we’ll see them again in April when they head north!