Home. . . and then Back on the Journey

We continued south from South Jacksonville. It’s sort of . . . barren looking. Image

Who lives here? And through St. Augustine, here is the St. Augustine Inlet. Image

The inlets all the way down the coast can be scary. Last time we were here this one had standing waves of three feet or so from changing tides. . . this time we were lucky.Image

Talk about lucky, we have Phil and Sarah as friends in Palm Coast. They arranged for us to dock our boat on a private dock near them, so we rented a car and drove home for Christmas. We looked forward to being home and had a wonderful time with our families! And we really looked forward to being back on the boat and heading south again.

Phil and Sarah have two dogs, Maggie and Casey. Well, gotta tell you, Niya thinks Casey is BEYOND the cat’s meow! The two of them are pretty evenly matched; sometimes I think Casey is faster and Niya is more agile, and other times I think Casey can definitely turn a prettier corner and Niya is gaining on him. Can I just say that Niya is smitten? Here she is WATCHING THE HOUSE WHERE CASEY LIVES! Waiting for him to appear.Image

They had a ball, and someday I’ll be fast enough to get photos or a video of them playing.

We did some organizing and provisioning, and left the day after we arrived, December 29, at 10 am heading south through the rain.Image

Got to New Smyrna Beach in the early afternoon. Image

We enjoyed our stay there last year going south, as it’s PELICAN CITY, with lots of egrets, great blue herons and White Ibis thrown in. They grunt, hoot, and growl, and lift as flocks, soar forever, and they all seem to roost on the tiny island outside of the marina. It’s a wonderful show.

There’s a young man at a dock next to the marina who I am CONVINCED has just purchased this semi-derelict fishing boat. He has spent (so far that we know) seven solid hours cleaning, adjusting, fixing and improving this boat, long into the night. Image

I’m not sure it’s worth his effort, but there you are: you have to believe, and he obviously does.

From New Smyrna Beach we went down through Mosquito Lagoon, an interesting area with many “fish camps” (largely campers or single wide mobile homes that are almost at water level!) I wonder who is having more fun, these folks living a very basic life or vacation, or the ones that are living in the high class, lengthy dock, many toys, even more levels of deck to watch the water. . . Well. I do wonder.

At one point we were joined by a young couple on an outrigger canoe. Vicki and Del told us that they go up to the Kent Island relay for outrigger canoes, and I can tell you, this is one hot team! Image

We were cruising along at 9 ½ knots (about 10.45 miles an hour – amazing for US!) and they kept right up with us. It was very cool! I’m going to try to post the video I took of them. Those of you with high speed internet can download it from YouTube, but beware, it is 16 megs.

We turned right (west) through the Haulover Canal to enter the Indian River heading south to Harbortown Marina on Merritt Island.  The day was punctuated by sights of wildlife; we see many, many, MANY “Slow Speed, Manatee Zone” signs along the way, starting in Georgia. Today we saw THREE MANATEES! That’s the first time we’ve seen them outside of Boot Key Harbor, in Marathon. We saw a young bald eagle sitting atop a green course mark. He was definitely not concerned with us. In addition, Niya had a good long dose of dolphins, who joined us and stayed for ten minutes or more, laughing at her howls and yips.

So finally this evening we watched as a flock of hundreds of cormorants flew in to their night time roosts.ImageImage

It was amazing. And their noises. . . growls and snarls, is it a zombie or an alligator? YIKES! Notice that they all look like they have no heads.Once they land they instantly start to preen, clean, separate saturated feathers (these are divers!) and then, finally sleep. The one on the left, second branch from the bottom, is what they look like.

Merritt Island is the gateway to Canaveral, although there’s not much going on there these days.  We’ll be here two nights. Hans will catch up with some repairs. . . wait, MORE REPAIRS? Well, we have this problematic fresh water pump. It’s obviously leaking somewhere because about every three minutes it comes on with a loud buzz to accommodate for the loss of water. And I will walk the dog, and get some work done. I may even – gulp – vacuum up some of the many “puppies” that Niya has shed along the way. Uh-ohh-h-h-h.


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