I thought it would only be appropriate to start off this blog with the image above, this just about sums up this awesome location. Shell Island is just across the inlet from St. Andrews State Park, and since we were staying in St. Andrews, go ahead, you know you want to check out that blog, for a few days we decided to check it out by renting a pontoon and heading out on the water on our own. If you don't want to rent your own boat, because you have zero experience like us, then St. Andrews also offers daily shuttle service to and from St. Andrews for a pretty reasonable rate, using the Shell Island Shuttle, they're the one and only service that leaves directly from St. Andrews State Park. The advantage to renting your own boat is that you really are on your own schedule, you can come and go as you'd like, dock anywhere on Shell Island, or just cruise around the Grand Lagoon. So while my 3 teenagers were less than thrilled to be ripped out of bed early, they were thrilled that we were renting a boat to spend the day on. As they ran around the trailer trying to decided what "boating" bikini they were going to wear, I though to myself one day getting out of the house is not going to be this difficult, I know...who am I kidding!
Take the Shuttle or Rent a Boat?
Shuttle Service to Shell Island
Cruising Around Shell Island
I'll be honest, I don't often get nervous about many thing, but I was nervous about driving a boat. I had never driven one before and hubby basically told me that he wanted to fish so that meant that I was Captain for the day. Before I had a chance to take charge Joe gave each of the girls a chance to drive with the exception of Lexi our 19 year old who was too busy working on her tan. As it turned out, my 15 year old had just become permitted a few weeks ago and this was actually her fist time driving anything and yet again, it was my 13 year old adventure- seeker who was wondering why the boat couldn't go any faster. So off we went to spend the day on the water.
Selfies Around Shell Island
I know I shouldn't be, but I'm always shocked to see how many selfies and pictures my teenage daughters can take. While we were cruising to our first location, the girls spent time jamming out to their favorite music, sun tanning and taking countless amounts of pictures in search for that perfect Instagram pic. Here are a few of our favorites.
The most popular area around Shell Island is going to be the large lagoon area, that is perfectly clear, and shallow enough for boats to pull right to edge. This is the same area that the Shell Island Shuttle drops visitors off and claiming your perfect spot among several other boats is a must. This is also a great spot for families because right in the middle of the water is a swim up concession stand with all sorts of goodies. The girls loved docking and jumping into the water to swim around. They were not the only ones who loved jumping into the water as you can see Dad loved it too.
While sitting back lounging or swimming is what's popular, several people got off of their boats to do some snorkeling around the rocks. Sadly, of all the things that I forgot to pack, and of all the things that actually made it on this trip, I forgot the snorkel gear and my underwater camera.
Rough Waves Makes for a Rough Ride!
I promised I would share the not so good parts of this trip. The weather started to turn and the water started to become a little rough, we decided that we were going to head back to the campsite and call it a day, as I started to back the boat out of the small lagoon area, I heard a bang. Holy crap, what the hell is that? Did I hit something? Both Joe and I looked around to be sure that we did not hit anything and could not for the life of us figure out what that was, so we just continued on. I put the pontoon in reverse, turned around so I could see behind me, gave it some gas and began to move forward, what the heck is going on here, why am I going forward instead of backward? Well, from this point forward we could no longer go in reverse, the reverse was no longer working, are you serious?. Thank God, we were headed back and the day was over, or so I thought.
As we headed back, we get flagged down by another pontoon who yells to us that they ran out of gas. We decided to help them out, but without reverse I was worried about getting to close to them. So the husband in the other boat jumps off and swims over to us. He had a hard time getting into the pontoon because we were in much deeper water and the water was starting to get pretty choppy. Once on board, we headed back to the dock with our pirate in tow. Until someone in my family, not mentioning any names because I promised I wouldn't, ask this complete stranger to pass them the bucket that was on board so they could puke, and right there, next to this complete stranger they proceeded to regret eating right before the water got rough. Now...I will say this, I was driving so it was not me. The look on this man's face was priceless and the look on the rest of my families face was shocked. So to break up the incredible awkwardness of this situation, I tried my best to distract the man with idle conversation about the weather, as I could see the man looking out of the corner of his eye watching the person next to him sink deep into the bucket, all while the rest of the family pretended that this was not happening. Finally, we pull into the dock and explain to the rental guy, that reverse was no longer working, how much is this going to cost? he begins to tell us that it happens all the time and no worries. I then explain to the guy that we saved this random guy who ran out of gas, and the rental guy tells me "no worries after he gets gas, I'll take him back to his boat for you guys". As we walked away and headed back to camp Joe tells me, "I'm gonna go rinse the bucket", I said to him "No you're not, you're gonna toss that bucket right in the garbage", he proceeds to look at me with that confused look that most women get from their husbands, and I looked back blankly thinking to myself, why would he want to save that bucket?, does he not think we can afford to replace this 3 dollar bucket? Huh... As the conversation about the bucket ended and my husband parted ways with his 3 dollar fishing bucket we got into the truck and all of a sudden the entire family begins to laugh uncontrollably over what just happened. You just never know what you're gonna get when the Bellacera's go on vacation.