A New Year, New Voyages

Happy New Year Friends!!

So I jumped ahead on the blog and posted the video of our dolphin family following in our wake — I just had to! They are delightful, charming, and the baby is a doll, as most babies are! Apparently most dolphin Moms have either an older daughter, or younger sister, or some other “Non-Mom” helping to watch the baby. She is a second set of eyes, often necessary when babies are around. As you can see in my video, the baby has  a tendency to go places he shouldn’t, just as all babies do, and they do it really fast. . . like all babies do! Here is just a reminder of that scene:Image

And here is Niya when she’s not standing at the rail squealing: She is very watchful of our wake in case any dolphin come by!Image

In the meantime, we left the boat for our “holiday evacuation” in Palm Coast, Florida, a beautiful community on the water.

ImagePhil and Sarah Lowe are amazing hosts. They became our friends very quickly, as the warmth of their welcome goes beyond what “Port Captains” do. To-ing and Fro-ing to car rental places, offers of any and all help and hosting we might need — and when they run out of dock space they enlist their neighbors’ assistance.ImageWe were graciously hosted for two weeks by their next door neighbors, and were sad to say goodbye. . . Niya LOVED romping and chasing with their wonderful dogs Maggie and Casey. . . ESPECIALLY Casey, who pretty much equaled her in speed and agility. What a sight that was!

We passed Daytona Beach. . . Image

And saw many pelicans. . . Image

ImageImageAnd the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse.Image

Our next stop was New Smyrna Beach Marina.Image

I think we could have stayed there for the rest of the winter! There is ­­­SO MUCH GOING ON!!! Dolphins, pelicans, deep sea fishermen in COMBINATION with pelicans, what a scene! The successful day of fishing started the crowds gathering, both on the dock and on the water. . .

ImageImageFinally squabbling broke out on the water. . . Image

The two small islands just outside the marina were evidently “bedrooms” for the pelican gang.

ImageNiya decided that after dolphins, she loves pelicans the best, because they splash when they go into the water. We all had an amazingly entertaining evening on the flybridge. It was the first time that we really felt that we were “here,” wherever that is. Feet up, warm breezes, hours watching birds, dolphins, water, sunset. . . .

THEN. . . dinner at the restaurant next door, grilled shrimp for me, fish and chips for Hans. It was reasonably priced, well prepared, generous in size, and DELICIOUS! Served on paper plates with plastic utensils, by the way.

We really COULD have stayed there forever, but left at 8:30 with a quiet tide, no one about, the deep sea fishermen already gone, the pelicans still sleeping.

The ICW beyond there is long, with a very narrow channel, but the water is wide. We were in Mosquito Lagoon, looking to the west at tiny islands, to the east at wide water and dunes, then tiny islands, white pelicans (YES!!! The American White Pelican! Bigger than their brown cousins, evidently these birds hunt in flocks, and will “herd” fish to shallow water for easier harvesting.)Image

Interesting to note that while standing or swimming these birds look all white. But clearly from the next photo, the wing tips are black. Image

To the east, there is a narrow barrier island separating us from the ocean. Dunes, or not. You can see the buildings, and yes, even the launch pad, of NASA!Image

There’s a lot of shallow water, and fishermen take advantage of it.Image

Manatee warnings everywhere!Image

These are slow-moving, endangered marine mammals that are protected by strict speed limitations. . .don’t know if that works. Evidently they get hit by props in spite of all efforts, but there were long stretches where we couldn’t go faster than about 4 knots (translation: very slow!)

At one point we left Mosquito Lagoon via the Haulover Canal to enter Indian River. This little canal is just a short cut through a barrier island, and is fishermen’s haven apparently. ImageImageImage

And here is what that looks like on the chart:Image

We are at Cocoa Village Marina and will be staying here one more day. The weather turned nasty this morning, cold (yeah, I know it’s relative, but spitting rain, gusty wind and 62 degrees is COLD!) Cocoa Village is a charming area of the city of Cocoa, with many little shops and restaurants. The shops are more interesting than the ones we saw in Fernandina Beach — not as many “flea market” shops. Much like the feel of New Smyrna Beach, this city is less glitzy than many Florida coastal towns. There is a slower tempo, and less intense development. We like it!

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