During a recent trip to the pan handle of Florida, we visited St. Andrews State Park. St. Andrews is a wonderful place to visit with hiking trails to explore, beautiful beaches to enjoy and a pier to fish off of and observe sea life. If you limit your visit to those three things, which can fill a whole day, you will have a very enjoyable time. On the other hand, if you have three tired and crabby children, an extra hundred dollars and would like to be miserable for the next couple of hours, take the shuttle to Shell Island.
The tickets for the shuttle that takes you to the island are for sale in the gift shop of all places. So while you're being bent over the price of tickets, your kids are fleecing you for the usual beach souvenirs and if you've forgotten your mask and snorkel, they will gladly rent you a well used set for ten dollars. All that is easy to swallow with the promise of beautiful shells and the fantastic snorkeling opportunities to be had just a short bus and boat ride away.
The bus arrived around 10:30 and off we went. It was an old school bus which was surprisingly air conditioned. The driver was pleasant enough and the ride was only about 5 minutes long. Excitement was in the air as this was to be the first boat the children had ever been on. The shuttle itself amounted to a large pontoon boat with several bench seats enough to seat 40 people. The crew of 2 men were the pilot, who wore a Vietnam veteran hat and his companion, who I have no proof but was almost certainly nicknamed "Chicken Wing". You know how you can look at someone and judge them? That's right I judge people based on how they look. Save your high and mighty groans, we all do it, so climb down off your high horses and let me get on with the story. Anyway Chicken Wing had that look about him. The look of a man who came to Florida for a visit and never left. You know, a beach bum, a man who's feet have only seen flip flops, sand and surf boards for ten years. We soon boarded the shuttle, found our seats and Chicken Wing shoved us off. Oliver who is a very curious 3 year old wanted to know how the boat drove, how it steered, who gave him this boat and when he would be allowed to steer. The boat ride made him very happy and he showed no signs of the pure lunacy he would soon unleash upon us. It was less than a ten minute ride and despite some waves was popular with the kids.
As we arrived to the island, the pilot explained how to get to the best shells, where to snorkel, where the snack boat was, how often the shuttle ran and last of all....have fun! We started walking towards the "best shell hunting beach". Oliver who had been pleasant up to this point, wondered if I might like to carry him as his feet were tired of walking. I informed him I was already carrying 3 sets of floaties, 5 towels, 3 changes of clothes and Jack's flip flops that he walked out of and just left in the sand. Oliver didn't take this well and proceeded to whine and cry the 500 yards to the beach. We got everyone's floaties on and got in the water carefully avoiding all the broken shells littering the beach. I put on the mask and snorkel I had rented and quickly realized a. it was so old Robinson Crusoe probably wore it when it was new and b. there was so much sand churning in the water, I couldn't even see my feet. It didn't matter much, because about that time Jack tapped me on the back and said "I need you to go get me a snack from the snack boat." Now the snack boat was 500 yards back the way we came, so I told him that I'd rather fill my swimming trunks with jelly fish and watch The Old Man and the Sea on repeat. He didn't get the joke and proclaimed that he needed Cheese its and couldn't wait any longer. Henry also had a problem. He said "I need to go to beeeeeed". I broke the news to him that we were basically on a desert island that didn't even have bathrooms and that he would have to wait to get his beauty sleep which sent him spiralling into a tantrum. Oliver was just straight sleeping on the beach which Henry noticed and soon followed suit. People around us were having fun, but we were in bad shape. Abby was just trying to keep spirits up, sitting with the sleeping twins and Jack was just standing the there crying about the cookies and sandwiches he didn't have. I made an executive decision and decided we had to get off this shitty, broken shell havin' island. So with three crying kids, we walked the 500 yards back to the shuttle after only being there for 45 minutes. I felt like I was just in shock on the boat ride back. I spent 100 dollars getting us to that island and it just pissed everyone off. We got off the boat and got to the bus. The driver asked if we had fun. I felt like pulling his shirt over his head, kicking him in the balls and driving that bus straight to hell!. The neatest part of the whole experience was, as we were eating our picnic lunch all the kids agreed that they had a lot of fun on Shell Island. WTF! I guess at least they will have good memories of the island on which Daddy burnt 100 dollars on and nearly went insane. Follow us on Facebook at BadTwinDad and on Istagram Twitter @BadTwinDad. You might have noticed the Amazon banner at the top of the page. To support this blog simply click through the banner, log in to amazon and do your shopping as normal and we will get a commission on whatever you purchase. It doesn't cost you anything and would help us greatly. Thank you!