The Daddy Diaries
Two dads, five kids, four islands in southwest Florida. What could go wrong? From our March 2012 issue.
Living the High Life
After a night at anchor off idyllic Cayo Costa, a protected state park with nature trails, deserted beaches, and 27 camp sites, we headed south on the inland waterway to the South Seas Island Resort. Straddling the northern tip of Captiva Island, the expansive self-contained resort has a golf course, several restaurants, a small waterpark, two swimming pools, and a first-class marina—with first-class rates to go with it. The marina basin is also the home to Steve and Doris Colgate’s renowned Offshore Sailing School.
South Seas is no place for a family on a budget, but we’d made the mistake of letting the kids peek at the resort’s brochure. The glossy folio, more seductive than any Siren’s song, hooked them with just one word: “waterslide.”
Captain Thunderfoot, whose morning tap dance was fueled by a sugar-laced cereal that had somehow slipped aboard, found his bliss at a place called Scoop and Slice. He was convinced that the resort’s “family restaurant”—specializing in pizza, ice cream, and candy—was part of a national chain that I’d been hiding from him for years.
“Dad, what is Scoop and Slice most famous for? Its ice cream or its pizza?” he asked, between bites of cookie-dough ice cream. His words tumbled out like marbles, leaving me no chance to respond. “I think it’s the ice cream, definitely the ice cream, but the pizza is awesome, too.” Three messy bites later, he joined his crewmates at the water park, a shallow pool with two slides that barely contained the energy that Scoop and Slice had unleashed.
When the kids discovered Kawasaki jet-skis for rent at the resort’s watersports center, Jon and I were too exhausted to put up a fight.
Instead of taking long-awaited naps, we found ourselves sprinting across Pine Island Sound at 40 knots with our children screaming with delight and digging their nails into our backs.
The moment reminded me of times when the boys used to ride on my back and shout, “Giddyap!” as I crawled, too happy to feel the pain in my knees and spine, across the living-room floor.