Hanging out in Stuart
01 February 2020
When we rented a car before we flew home to Maine, we drove over to Clewiston (on the SW side of Lake Okeechobee) to visit my cousins. I hadn't seen two of them in well over a decade, so it was really fun to catch up. Hopefully we can make it an annual event!
As I expected, our trip home was a whirlwind. We were sorry we didn't get to see Eric, Sara and the kids, but we had a nice visit with Mike and I got to spend some fun time with Hutch and Morgan. We were fortunate to get snow and I even downhill skied for the first time in a decade.
We kept the car for a week when we returned to Stuart and did some exploring. We had a guided tour of Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge Museum on Hutchinson Island. Built in 1876, it is the last remaining of ten refuges built for shipwrecked sailors in Florida. The organization that ran it, The United States Life-Saving Service, was a predecessor to today's U.S. Coast Guard.
Ross Witham Beach, right nearby, was named after Ross Witham, an early biologist in charge of the Department of Natural Resources turtle rearing program in Stuart. He was one of the country's first turtle conservationists.
We also visited the Elliott Museum, also on Hutchinson Island. The most interesting exhibit there was of historic cars, including one of the largest collections in the world of Ford Model A and Model AA commercial vehicles.
We checked out several nearby beaches but our favorite was the Hobe Sound Beach, abutted by a national wildlife refuge. We were unable to get in the water due to rough surf and an abundance of Portuguese man o' war following high winds, but we enjoyed walking the long stretch of undeveloped beach.
We've been watching the forecasts since we returned from Maine and there have been a few marginal opportunities to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas but nothing we've been comfortable with. We've had some cold nights requiring our little portable propane heater for comfort, but for the most part the weather has been pleasant. We have been taking extensive walks, averaging 6 miles. We usually opt for the route in the photo or some variation of it. The riverfront boardwalk that surrounds the historic district begins right at the marina and connects with the Banyan Tree lined campus of the Cleveland Clinic, then into riverfront neighborhoods of beautifully landscaped homes. We've been listening to audiobooks which helps to pass the miles. Other than that Dave's been doing boat chores, I've been cooking and vacuum sealing and we've been reading like crazy. Sunset Bay Marina really caters to cruisers and has been a very comfortable place to stay.
It finally looks like we may have a window to cross on Monday. We plan to leave for Lake Worth tomorrow morning, anchor near the inlet, and leave Monday mid day for Great Harbor in the Berry Islands. It will be roughly a 22 hour trip. This year we will be trying out myisland wifi, a mobile hotspot rental with unlimited data. We'll set it up when we get there and will post again then!
Check out more photos in the gallery...