Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cleveland Family Reunion: Day 3 + Departure

 So day 3 of the reunion dawned bright and early.  It was the day of the big fishing trip!  My dad had been really looking forward to this and he had actually set it all up.  The family had debated a long time before settling on this trip.  We had contemplated doing a deep sea fishing voyage, but this was much shorter, much cheaper, and didn't require waking up at 5 AM to get ready to go.... all pluses in my book.  Of course we also didn't get a chance to catch red snapper.... but I think I can survive without that.

The girl cousins were very fashionable and also not totally into fishing, but here Haley is flashing the peace sign.  Either that or she is prophetic and knew she was going to catch two fish.

 Here is my dad, listening hard to the minimal instructions given to us.  Basically they told us that we should yell out if we caught a fish and they would deal with it for us and that we couldn't go fishing until we stopped.... other than that it was pretty much a free for all.

This guy looks too cool to be part of our family, but he is actually my cousin Derrick... looking like a make model.  He took so long in the bathroom styling his Mohawk that I had like one minute to do everything that I had to do before the trip.

Here is my Uncle Harvey, Aunt Kim, Riley, and Kim's sister hanging out waiting to start fishing.

On the way out we passed some pelicans.  They clearly knew what they were doing and we will hear from them again!

Here are the girl cousins chilling at the front of the boat as we are headed to our fishing spot.  I ended up having to bait all their hooks until they finally got tired of fishing from the front of the boat.... or maybe they thought I was doing a poor job... regardless.. they eventually left and I got to move to the shade with my dad.

Here is Claire with her line out just waiting for a fish to bite so she can reel it in.

And here is the first catch of the day!!!! My dad was really excited to fish this beautiful specimen out of the bay.... sadly it was inedible... but at least we kept a fishing from eating it.

The captain of the boat kept saying that as soon as the currents died down the fish would start biting and everyone would have as many fish as they could handle. While that was a slight exaggeration, after about an hour of nothing biting, we finally started to catch some fish.  Kyle was the first one to catch something, shown below.

Eventually my dad caught something too!

My uncle Harvey was catching a ton of fish, but they were all catfish and the captain kept throwing them back since, supposedly they tasted bad.  Harvey didn't totally believe him and tried to sneak one of his caught catfish through... but it didn't work and he still had to throw it back.

As a family we caught 48 fish... which sounds like a lot... and in fact it looks like a lot.  Here is Kyle with the complete haul.

And here is Aynika holding them up, mostly by herself.

When we got back we had to wait awhile until they actually were able to fillet our fish.
 So we laid them out and Marissa and I counted them to get a complete total.

Here is the filleting table and a quick picture of the captain filleting our fish.

 And here is where the pelicans make their triumphant return!  They knew that if they waited long enough they would get the scraps from the fish that were cut up.  It was mostly a feeding frenzy.

My dad and uncle Don asked what we should do with the fish and we were giving the recommendation to go to Dirty Al's and they would cook them for us.  The place lived up to their name, but man they did a great job of cooking our fish.

We probably ended up with 5 pounds of fish, and we got 50% blackened and 50% fried.  The blackened was so so good, and the fried was decent.  And before we knew it, all the food was gone.  I also got a Po boy, since I thought I wouldn't have enough food.  This wasn't really need and the Po boy wasn't really all that good unfortunately.

I totally forgot to take any pictures of the fish that was cooked, but here is Derrick looking satisfied.
Note: This picture was sadly taken before the fish arrived.

After we got back from fishing it was a pretty slow afternoon.  A lot of people just took naps and relaxed.  Eventually a group of us, mostly the cousins, went to the beach.  The girl cousins decided to bury Riley.  Like a little trooper he let them.

Here is the end result.
 So then of course the guy cousins had to also get in the act.  However! We buried him vertically and made him a volcano! So clearly ours was cooler!

 And that was pretty much it for day 3.  Don and Steph made short ribs which were fantastic, and as everyone was exhausted from fishing and swimming bedtimes were pretty early.

The following day I had to leave at about 12 to get to the airport.  I was taking the same shuttle that brought us to the island.

 Before I left all the cousins posed for a group picture.... actually we posed for a bazillion since the adults seemed to never be done.  We also included the dogs, Balto and Buckwheat, since they just up the cuteness factor of this picture by a lot.

My aunt Kim and her sister made spring rolls for the family and since I was leaving before everyone was going to have them, they made some special for me.  They were really really good and much appreciated while I was traveling home.

Here is a photo of buckwheat.

Here is one of Balto..... both of the dogs are Don and Steph's and the kids really liked playing with them.  Especially with buckwheat.

I wanted to get everyone together and get a group picture before I left, but somehow that turned into standing outside the shuttle that came to pick me up and asking the driver to take a few pictures of us.

And then I was off.  The trip home was uneventful, just a short flight and then a drive home.  All in all it was a great reunion and it was great to see all of my family again.  Supposedly we are going to have another one in two years, so perhaps all my cousins won't forget me in the meantime!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cleveland Family Reunion: Day 2

 So day two of the reunion started pretty slowly.  I was the first boy cousin up, and that was at around 11 or so.  Such is the consequence of getting to bed at 2 AM.

Luckily there was still some of the breakfast left from what my aunt Margo made and I was able to eat that.

Soon Don and Derrick headed out to put the jet ski in the water and bring it over.  Everyone was really excited for the jet ski and were waiting for it on the back porch.

 Derrick was really gracious and took all of the cousins for rides.  He took me out and showed me how to drive it.  It was really fun.  I took Riley out for a ride and then turned it back over to Derrick and he taught all of the older cousins how to drive.  Here is Claire going out for a ride.

It was such a popular activity that everyone wanted to go and the back porch was a very popular place to be in the morning.

Somehow Marissa, Claire, and Haylee convinced their parents to let them go alone.... they then decided to take the jet ski out to the bridge.  On the way there they were going at a nice clip, but on the way back they were coming very slowly.

When they got back they looked really sheepish and one of the rear view mirrors were missing.  We asked what happened and they siad that they ran into one of the posts of the bridge! Which is kind of crazy, I was very happy that they were ok, since doing something like that could have been really bad.

After that we shut down the jet ski for the day.  That led to a defeated Riley having an Ice Cream.

Kyle was also kind of depressed and had to have an ice cream to bolster his spirits.

Then the girls convinced Riley that the fish statue thing was a remote for a tv.  So while Riley moved the fish around, Marissa would click the actual remote.  He was really enjoying it for quite a long time. 

In the afternoon we went to the beach, but I don't really have any pictures of that.   After the beach we had a nice dinner, though I managed to miss out on dinner since Riley asked me to take him upstairs.  By the time I got back downstairs all of the food was gone! So I just made myself a sandwhich, and Derrick gave me some of his dinner.  Which resulted in both of us being hungry.

After dinner, we had to take a trip to Wal-Mart to get fishing licenses for our big fishing trip the next day.  The trip there was fine, but the wait for the licenses was forever.  Here are Derrick and Kyle waiting while the adults stood in line.

By the time I got home, Riley was already asleep and already taking up most of the space in the bed.  I gently moved him over so that I could lay down and actually sleep.

It was a nice relaxing day, just jet skiing and going to the beach.  It was really nice hanging out with my family and enjoying the beach and water.