We spent a week based in Deerfield Beach, not far from Ft.Lauderdale, in December 2003.

We both had bad colds while we were there, but we still managed to get out and do some interesting things together with Cindy's mum and Steve.


The place we stayed at was right on the beach - unfortunately the balconies were under construction, but we didn't suffer too much having to sit outside under the palm fronds instead....



It was fairly chilly for Florida, around 15 degrees C - but there was surf, for those who dared!

One day we went out on a fishing "party boat", where they provide all the equipment and a few tips - and even fillet the fish for tips!  The pelicans also appreciate this...

On another day we took a little "tram ride" through Everglades National Park - a really fascinating place with very knowledgeable guides.  Definitely exceeded our expectations.  Talk about seeing nature up close...

Your basic Everglades: One huge, very slowly flowing river, with occasional little islands of raised ground.
Different animals prefer different types of ground and thrive at different times of year depending on the current water level... we saw lots of birds including herons, anhingas (kind of like a black and white cormorant), ibis...

Mum tried hard, but didn't find the elusive "purple gallinule"

We saw turtles, and deer....

And lots and lots of ALLIGATORS!

Another highlight was the "Up-Close" tour at Kennedy Space Centre

"Engineering model" of the shuttle (orbiter + fuel tank and solid rocket boosters)

The Vehicle Assembly Building, where they put it all together - as seen from 7 miles away!

Launch Complex 39A (or maybe it's 39B)

It was a chilly windy day!

Scenes from the clean room where the International Space Station is being built... this part of the tour has only recently been reopened to the public.

Cindy just about to walk through some parts of another "engineering model" of part of the ISS

Remember MIR? NASA gives the Russians a lot of credit for having brought space exploration to a level never before achieved.

"Mission Control" for the Apollo missions

One huge Saturn 5 rocket, with Cindy's mum looking up at it from below!

 Seen from another angle, with Jonathan this time