Fun Trips with Kids:
by Laurel Smith
A tale of our family's adventure
on the high seas. ARRRH!
The crew: Five
adventurous moms (all former college roommates), and 9 swashbuckling children
(ranging in age from 3 to 13). Our fearless and fun loving leader
was Captain Kathy (dentist by day, pirate when on vacation.)
The ship: A
pontoon boat from Big Bear Resort at Kentucky Lake.
The booty: A
real message in a bottle. A treasure map. A secret treasure
was our second adventure this summer on a lake where we rented a pontoon
boat for the day and camped overnight at a family camping resort in the
Between the Lakes area.
Prior to this summer, it
had been years since my college pals and I had gotten together. We all
crammed into our quarters at the campground and stuffed the fridge with
provisions. It felt strangely normal and familiar to be living with
these ladies again after all this time -- as if nothing had changed at
all, except that now we all had little people following us around calling
us "mommy". No problem. We hardly noticed. In fact, we just answered
to whatever kid was calling, even if it wasn't our own.
On our first trip, we explored
Lake Barkley. Our kids had never met, but they were thick as thieves in
no time. We spent the day on the lake and made pirate jokes when
it was time to "Walk the plank!" or "Abandon ship!" (to go swimming).
For our second trip, we were exploring Kentucky Lake. And this time
we weren't just joking about pirates. We were
Little did our ghastly crew
know what fun surprises we had in store for them.
To begin our day at sea we
brought a pirate flag with
us and installed in on our ship. Then we "ordered" everyone aboard,
slathered them with sunscreen, and cast off for some adventure on the high
seas. The kids were excited to have another day on the lake especially
with a cool pirate flag that made our boat way better than anyone else's
boat. The pirate flag alone would have made their whole day wonderful,
but there was more to come.
made our way to deserted island (which we later discovered was actually
just the tip of a funny shaped peninsula, but who cares, it was close enough
and the kids didn't seem to notice). We abandoned ship
and dragged our big sub sandwiches ashore for lunch and a little exploring.
Meanwhile, our ship's First and Second Mates (my two older co-conspirator
crew members), set off in different directions unnoticed by the other children
to plant the needed items that we would later "find" with their help.
lunch we suggested the kids go for a walk along the island beach. Amazingly
they found a bottle with what appeared to be a message in it! They
came running down the beach with mouths agape to show us this amazing message
in a bottle they'd found. Lo and behold, it wasn't just a message
inside -- it was a "REAL" TREASURE MAP! See
my instructions about how to make a
Pirate Treasure Map like this one.
It seemed very detailed
(and yet strangely generic). It showed a lake and islands and shore.
It had a compass rose and dotted lines leading to a big red X. (Conveniently,
it could have been any island which was good because we happened to just
choose any island for our picnic).
||The crew studied the map
intensely. Eventually they came to the conclusion that THIS island is the
island shown on the map! (How fortunate). Luckily our
First Mate knew how to read this map, and led the entire crew on a 15 minute
hike winding all over the island and through the woods and eventually right
to a log where they discovered a treasure
chest! (Where he had conveniently hidden it when we first came
|Alongside the chest was
an old pirate skull buried next to it in the leaves. It must be all
that's left of the original pirate who was left behind to guard the treasure.
it resembled something from my Halloween props collection. Now how did
that get there?).
||The treasure chest was ceremoniously
carried down to the beach where we could all open it together. First Mate
did an excellent job of coordinating all of this so that the adults in
our crew did not appear to have anything to do with this wonderful "discovery".
Upon opening the treasure
chest the kids, I mean the crew, went at it like a piñata
had just burst. It was loaded with pirate paraphernalia -- There
were pirate bandanas
for everyone (including the moms), eye patches, metallic skull rings, "gold"
coins, and beaded necklaces.
The kids hoarded the gold
coins like they were real Aztec gold. We had to keep an eye on the
younger toddlers in our group who liked to "steal" the coins from the stashes
of the older crew members. Who knew the were such born pirates?!
Luckily there were enough for everyone to have a generous handful to treasure.
We spent some time trying
to spy on other ships on the lake and trying all different fashions with
the pirate bandanas and rings.
our wonderful surprises on Pirate Island, it was time for some keel
hauling. So, we spent a few hours throwing crew members overboard
and dragging them behind the ship on a rope (OK, they got to sit in
the Big Bertha tube which was tied to the rope).
At the end of the day, we
returned our boat and headed back to our campground quarters to grill burgers
and sing a few rowdy rounds of A Pirate's Life for Me.
A good time was had by all.
--Laurel (Road Trip Mom)
~ ..· ´¨¨))
..·´ Road Trip Mom -:¦:-
PS. If you don't have a ship,
you can be pirates on the road!
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