Another Day Touring John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
21 March 2013 | On a mooring ball in Largo Sound
John/really, really nice
Fellow park visitor, a White Ibis
As I was writing yesterday's blog, I was thinking that we would be moving on today. Later in the evening, however, Ann and I got to talking about how great a time we had kayaking the park's mangrove trails and how we probably wouldn't ever find a greater place to kayak. So we looked at each other and asked, “then why are we leaving? The park has 5 sets of recommended two hour or less loops and we've only done one of them.” So we decided to stay over another day. (Which still means we have only done two of the five loops, we've got to come back.)
Staying turned out to one of our best decisions. I'm too pooped to go into detail but we saw more rays (5 large spotted and 2 small gray rays), another young manatee, and the days highlight, a return performance by the manatee mom and calf. And of course we saw many interesting animals on land including several types of shore birds like the Ibis above, an iguana, and a very frazzled looking squirrel. Maybe he had run into the iguana.
The most exciting happening during the day didn't actually involve us. Around noon, the park was covered with law enforcement including the Coast Guard. We found out from the marina manager that they were all there because of a botched turtle rescue. A boater returning to the marina reported an injured turtle to the park rangers. No civilian is allowed to touch a wild turtle (we found that out at the Turtle Hospital), so a Florida Fish and Wildlife officer went back out with the boater to pick up the turtle. While doing so, the officer managed to fall off the boat (or into the boat, I'm not sure which) and cut up his face. The turtle was nevertheless retrieved and taken back to the dock with the officer being quickly taken off to the hospital. The turtle, which was about one foot long and Ann says very bedraggled looking, meanwhile waited in a small tub of water until the Turtle Hospital Ambulance arrived.
There must have been a dozen officers of various types walking about the docks mulling all this over. Guess it was a slow day on the island.
Tomorrow we are off to Boca Chita.