We were lucky this weekend and a low pressure system in the Gulf pushed the oil and tar back to the West of us so we enjoyed a weekend of clean water and beaches.
Which meant we were not going to let the 60% chance of rain that was forecast for the 4th stop us from spending the day on the beach.
Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead - we were going to the beach.
But we were going prepared.
The Island King and my BIL brought lots of umbrellas, tarps, rope and tent spikes and it wasn't long before we had a nice dry place to ride out any rain.
Shelter for 13 people is quite a site.
But it was worth every bit of trouble because a couple of hours after we got there the first of many rain storms moved in.
There was no lightning so we just rode them out.
I wish I could have gotten a picture of the kids. It was pouring rain and they were swimming and splashing around in the water, loving every minute of it.
All day long we'd see dark clouds like this in one direction
And sunshine like this in the other.
And we didn't care one bit.
We didn't do any cruising in the boat with no name but it sure was handy for carrying the two and a half tons of stuff we brought with us.
And for the constant tower jumping that takes place every time we're in the boat.
I saw this and decided that I want one.
When my parents start wondering what to get me for Christmas this would be a great idea - hint, hint.
The skies started to clear around sunset and we were really hoping we'd seen the last of the rain.
People started making their way out towards the jetties to find a place to watch the fireworks
We broke out our little stash of sparklers and fireworks
And another rain shower showed right up.
After dark we cut into the sweetest watermelon I've had in a long time and watched Fort Walton's fireworks off in the distance.
I was impressed. Fort Walton's fireworks lasted for a full 45 minutes.
9:00 rolled around and it was our turn.
We pulled our chairs out from under the tarps and got ready for the show.
I snapped two pictures and it started sprinkling.
The fireworks continued and it slowly started raining harder and harder.
Ten minutes later we were sitting in the pouring rain watching the fireworks.
The Island King grabbed an umbrella and we sat there under the umbrella and enjoyed the show.
The kids were all in the boat watching the show and at one point we realized that we've got an actual boatload of kids.
I've heard that expression but never seen it until now.
The rain was starting to really come down and the fireworks people must have realized that it was only going to get worse so they used up all of the fireworks as fast as they could which resulted in the longest, most awesome finale I've ever seen.
As soon as they were over we all hunkered down under the tarps to dry off.
The rain just kept coming harder and harder and I felt really bad for the people who streamed past us headed for their cars.
Most didn't even have umbrellas and were soaked and cold and not happy about walking back to their cars in pelting rain.
At this point we'd been there for about ten hours and the kids were beyond tired and ready to go home but we were nice and dry and I sure wasn't hiking back to the car or taking off in the boat in that rain.
My BIL saved the day by producing a pack of Oreos which kept everybody happy for a while.
Eating Oreos, watching the rain - if we'd have had a fire I could have stayed all night.
Eventually the rain stopped and my SIL and I decided to take all of the kids home by car and let the guys break camp and bring everything home by boat.
We didn't even give them time to realize that we were leaving them with all of the mess before we were hiking down the beach to our cars.
It was a long day but even the rain didn't dampen our fun. With the oil out there I don't know how many more 4th of July days we'll have like this.
But for this year our kids will remember another day in paradise.
Can't ask for more than that.