Down the ditch to a beach!
A great trip down the Florida ICW and who ever said that Florida Bridge operators were rude sure had bad luck. All ours were great, especially the ones that were having technical problems with the bridge. Anyway, we started off from our anchorage as soon as it was light enough to see and headed off down the canal. Not thirty seconds from start we got a DSC from Silverheels and made arrangements to meet at the marina for dinner tonight.
Early morning, the current was in our favour and the weather was pretty good - all equals to a pretty good day. The houses on the banks were really interesting - mansions side by side with trailer parks which were side by side with ramshackle tumbledown shacks. In one mansion development we even saw three deer come down to the edge of the waterway for a drink. We were accompanied several times by dolphins and we got our first glimpses of manatees. Barb was first to see one and later on I saw another. They aren't easy to see from a distance, but we are told that they come up to you boat at anchor or in a marina in the hopes that you'll give them some fresh water to drink.
We passed the remnants of Marineland, which had gone bankrupt but has reopened apparently but with less of its former flash and dazzle. No matter to us. We stoppeth not! We passed huge mansions and a busted up trailer with all sorts of junk and stuff in the front yard. The owner must be a human magpie. We passed flocks of pelicans and gulls and terns and watched ospreys sitting in trees in turn watching us. We saw heron, kingfishers and egrets by the score. I remember mentioning to Barb that in spite of the large human population and all the pollution etc., there seems to be a lot more obvious wildlife here in the southern US than at home.
The major moment of excitement for the day was being boarded by the poop police, the crap cops, the potty patrol. They were very nice but firm and had their routine down pat, one of them had to accompany one of us below to put a dye into the head and flush it. If the fellow in the boat didn't see any dye being discharged directly, you were OK. Otherwise BIG fine will be your present from the State of Florida. Hmmm? What's that? Oh, no, we passed. I think the on board inspector couldn't wait to get off as Peri was making such a fuss and growling like he was a Rottweiler or something.
Along about 1300 we arrived at the Seven Seas Marina, by far the cheapest one that we have stayed in since arriving in the USA - $0.80/ft for the first night and $0.90 for the second, plus $4.50 for electricity, bathrooms, showers and laundry included. The docks are pilings again, but there is only a 2' tide and there are real piers atop the pilings not the silly little finger piers that have you climbing over the bow pulpit to get to the dock to get off the boat. There is a really interesting little diner right next door that apparently serves breakfasts to die for so we'll let you know about that in tomorrow's post.
About a hundred yards up the road you can cross over a main road and walk between two condo buildings and you are on the famous beach. What a beautiful place! Look either direction for as far as you can see and all that is there is white sandy beach on one side and azure blue of the ocean on the other. We walked for about half a mile collecting shells and testing the water for temperature.
We got back to the marina in time to welcome Silverheels and Lynn and Ken as they arrived. Plans were quickly solidified for cocktails aboard their boat and dinner aboard Nelleke. Ahh, it's rough, but it has to be done!