In early August we were able to sneak away for a last minute getaway to St. Andrews By-The-Sea. If you didn’t catch the first post about our getaway, be sure to check it out here.
After an exciting day filled with Starfish and Seals, we enjoyed a giant slice of pizza at a seaside park. The kids ran amok on the rock beach searching for treasure while we waited for our whale watching adventure aboard The Jolly Breeze to begin.
With the kids outfitted in their pirate hats and eye patches, we made our way to the wharf. There were pirate costumes available that the kids could borrow if they wished. The total cost with taxes for the three of us was $138.00 which is on par with other whale watching tours. We walked down the steep ramp to the dock and watched for our ship to come in. There were jellyfish and starfish in the water that we could see while waiting.
Finally, The Jolly Breeze appeared in the harbour. I was as excited as the kids to board the tall ship. The kids both loved all of the flags. Once we were all seated they went over the rules and we were off. We sailed out for about an hour before looking for whales. During this hour we saw tons of seals on the rocks, a bald eagle and some porpoises jumping in the water. One of the crew came along with face paint and painted sharks and starfish on their faces. This was a great distraction for kids that were getting antsy. The bathroom was downstairs, or rather down ladder. One adult needs to be at the bottom as the kids scale down. As my kids only had one parent there, I had to rely on the kindness of other parents for a minute to watch them at the top. I climbed down, then Isaac, then I climbed back up and got Maddie situated to climb down. I was a little nervous for her, but she nailed it. Along with the bathroom there is a big table with colouring pages, pencil crayons and books to read. This was a hit. I nearly had to drag Isaac away to go look for some whales. The Captain slowed down and the crew looked and listened for the whales. Now, here’s where we failed as whale watching passengers. The kids were having so much fun with all of the other activities on board that they missed them altogether. That said, apparently everyone else saw some Minke whales which was pretty exciting.
We toured around a little bit more, and more attentive passengers saw one more whale. The journey back was full of activity. One crew member brought around a piece of baleen to see and feel. All of the kids lined up and helped hoist the sail which was a memorable experience for Isaac. Then, they brought out the soup. Pea soup. Now, bear with me…While getting ready to go, I looked at a pair of jeans and a pair of white cotton pants with hearts on them for Maddie. I inexplicably chose the white pants and in an even more confusing twist put the other outfit back in our suitcase as opposed to in our bag to take along. What. Was. I. Thinking. Maddie took one sip of the soup then immediately poured it all over herself. We climbed downstairs and cleaned up to the best of our ability using every wipe I brought along. She was now wet and since we were on a boat, she was going to be cold. There are blankets available for chilly passengers so I scooped one up and wrapped her up as snug as a bug. Luckily Maddie is pretty easy going and it didn’t seem to faze her.
Note: There is nothing glamourous about traveling with kids, folks.
Note 2: Always, always, always bring spare pants.
This was also the point where Isaac was being the best pirate he could be. As he was pulling off his eye patch, he caught his pirate hat and over it went into the bay. Again, thankfully he wasn’t upset and just said “Bummer, there that goes”. One of the crew then brought out a touch tank! Out of all of the activities they have available, this was by far the best. The kids could hold a crab, lobster, sea cucumber, starfish and many other little creatures. The crew member that was doing this was patient with answering the many questions fired at her by all of the eager children and was sure to teach them how to hold them carefully and gently. The last activity was to take a turn at the helm. All of the kids lined up and hopped up to the wheel. They had their pictures taken and then received a fun certificate. With that the sailing was over.
If you are planning to go whale watching with your little people, I can’t recommend this place enough. We chose this one because even if we didn’t see any whales there would be enough to keep them entertained. As it turned out the entertainment was more exciting for my small people than the whale watching. And really, who doesn’t want to play a pirate aboard a real tall ship?
We were done the sail and getting pretty tired. I was planning on driving to Sussex and staying there for the night but hadn’t booked anything and I really wanted to get Miss Maddie cleaned up. I pulled out my phone and checked to see if there was any availability in town. To my amazement I came across a good deal at The Algonquin Resort. I booked it immediately and we checked our tired selves in. The lobby was beautiful and the staff were so kind. We accidentally missed the elevator alcove and walked through the great room. There were families enjoying a snack and laughing while playing games together like Clue and Scrabble. It was like a movie. Like walking into the clubhouse from Dirty Dancing.
I was so grateful to find a super comfy, King size bed in our room. Isaac loves to organize our shoes and gear when we get to a hotel room. When he opened up the closet to put away our shoes, he found a cozy robe. He had it on in 2 seconds flat, curled up in the wing back chair and watched some Bubble Guppies. The toiletries in the bathroom smelled just like a spa. There was even a loofah which I quickly squirreled away in our bag. Hey! Isn’t that what they’re there for? After the day we had, the kids quickly fell asleep.
In the morning we headed to their restaurant. There was a breakfast buffet complete with smoothies and an omelet station. Maddie loved the strawberry smoothies. I loved the green smoothies and the perfect coffee. The total for us for the breakfast buffet, before tip, came to $34.01. Because of Maddie’s age she was free. Win!
We headed back to the room and got ready for a swim. There is a corkscrew water slide that Isaac was desperate to try. There are two pools. One indoor and one outdoor and neither really has a shallow end. The shallow parts were right around 4 feet so Isaac stuck to the slide. He made fast friends with a bunch of kids and went down the slide at least 75 times. I was able to get him out to go check out the outdoor pool. There were people lounging around and it seemed like more of a mellow environment. I didn’t want to disturb their serenity so we only swam here a short time. It was then time to head out. We packed the car up and struck out for Nova Scotia.
When we get back here again, I will certainly be finding a way to stay at The Algonquin. It’s great for mom and dad as well as the kids. The staff come from far and wide to work a summer there and I can see why. We will definitely book 2 nights here.
I am so grateful that we had the opportunity for this last minute escape to St. Andrews By-The-Sea and will certainly be adding to our list to discover again.