Sunday, February 26, 2006

Playful Dolphins

As our guide and boat captain left the dock last Friday in search of dolphins he guaranteed we would find them. And find them we did, plus they were in a playful mood. The captain, Chris Eberly of the Southern Rose, stated that in two years he had never failed to find dolphins in our bays and backwaters. What entertainment for the 101 Meyer Real Estate winter visitors who were being treated to the free dolphin cruise as part of our 26 Winter Guest events this year.

So there we were on a beautiful day in February, with the sun shining brightly and a brisk breeze blowing as we began looking on the left and looking on the right for these amazing creatures. The Southern Rose is equipped with underwater cameras which provided our first dolphin glimpse. Soon two dolphins broke the surface of the water to our delight. The captain made sure he circled the creatures so that the crowds gathered on each side of the boat could get a good look and try their hand at capturing dolphins on film. Personally I never managed to snap the photo at the appropriate time, so I got lots of photos of water and only one photo with a visible fin in the frame. As we moved to locations frequented by the dolphin families, we saw more and more of them and watched as they raced the boat and played in the warm waters.

The two hour cruise had plenty of sights to enjoy, in addition to dolphins, as the captain described some of the more outstanding structures we were viewing and told some inside info about the property owners. Sometimes I like to play tourist and enjoy the area amusements available to our visitors. This was a grand opportunity for me to do so and I enjoyed the afternoon very much. I would highly recommend a dolphin cruise on the Southern Rose in Orange Beach, Alabama when you visit our coast.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Winter and Spring Break Golf

Since I've always lived on the Alabama Gulf Coast, I've never experienced that cabin fever and frustration of not being able to play golf in the winter. This winter has been especially warm and beautiful and on January 31st our Winter Guest Golf Tournament began with 100 participants teeing off at noon. The Cotton Creek at Craft Farms course was in fabulous shape and the sun enhanced the experience as the three other players and I proceeded to play good but not great golf. We ended up even with a 72 at the end of the tournament which did not earn us one of the top three slots but I can tell you all four of us went away happy.

As we approach spring season I always think about the guys who play what I call "spring break golf." Each year when I attend the Golf Show in Chicago in February I get amused at the excitement of show attendees who describe their upcoming golf trips. It seems like a great escape from the winter weather, the day-to-day routine and maybe even the stress of being the responsible adult in the family. Now don't get me wrong I don't think for one moment that a break is a bad thing, in fact I'm of the opinion it is a most healthy way to relieve stress.

Our Golf Coordinator at Meyer Real Estate is much more familiar with the motivations expressed by our customers in all seasons who reserve golf packages. Sometimes the golf packages are designed for a couple who need a weekend getaway, or the foursome who travels some distance to play golf one or sometimes two times a day. Often the golf group, especially in spring, is 16 guys or more who play "serious golf."

I need to clear my schedule more often to play golf myself at one of our many championship courses. Some people are so impressed with our gulf coast area they call it the golf coast. And here I am in the heart of this golfing community and I don't get out of the office to play nearly enough.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Animal Planet's "Little Zoo that Could" Premiers

As a member of the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo Board of Directors it was with great pride that I watched, along with millions of other viewers, the premier of the Animal Planet series entitled "The Little Zoo that Could" last Wednesday night. This 13-part series was filmed last fall while the production crew stayed in two Meyer Real Estate condominiums at Admirals Quarters in Orange Beach.

All of the film crew who visited during the production were very impressed with the beauty and laid-back atmosphere of our area. They became part of the everyday scene for 5 months as they followed the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo Director, Patti Hall, and zoo staff documenting their every action.

The series was proposed last summer and our Board of Directors approved the project. The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has struggled since Hurricane Ivan to find the funds to continue operations and repair the Zoo, which reopened 13 months after the devastation. Without gate receipts and with expenses continuing and mounting it has been a difficult time. However, the community has rallied to assist with the expenses and many donations were received following the publicity of Chuckie the Alligator escaping during the Hurricane. The donations will no doubt increase due to the Animal Planet exposure to our needs. The funds will be used for operations, continued repair and improvements and future relocation of the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.

You can be sure I will not miss a single episode, which will air each Wednesday at 8 p.m. Central Time, as the story of our "Little Zoo that Could" unfolds week after week.