We spent one night at Telemar Bay Marina. We tied up, hooked up the electric cord and got out computers to do book work and such. Pretty boring stuff.
Then we got 2 surprises. First there was lots of splashing right next to the boat. That's usually not a good thing, but this time it was dolphins frolicking in the slip next to us. Our own private Sea World entertainment. Computer work can wait!
Then sculling boats came out of the marina one after the other. We learned this a favorite sport in the area and teams will go out to practice on the ICW every day. Some teams are local but a team from Canada was in the area that week so we could hear the coxswain shouting instructions in French. You don't see that every day!
Manatee Cove Marina at Patrick Air Force Base
We stayed at the Manatee Cove Marina at Patrick Air Force Base for the last 2 weeks of January. Our friends from Yankton, SD (Ray and Pam Monfore) sponsored us. This marina is for veterans. It was awesome. Pam and Ray have a new 27 ft Ranger Tug so it was fun to be in the slip right next to them. The photo shows Tim and Ray doing their "Vanna White" impression.
Since the marina is inside the gates of the Air Force Base we passed through security each time we went shopping or touristing. I felt very safe with our service men and women guarding the gates.
On January 19 we had the great fortune to see a rocket launch while sitting on our dock. The rocket went up from the NASA launch facility at the Kennedy Space Center. We could see the actual launch and then see when the second stage boosters fall away from the main rocket.
Manatees are so cool..
Pam took us to the local spot where manatees gather to stay warm when the temperatures drop. The air temperature was about 40 degrees the day we saw these big guys. They are huge. And they have "cow" noses.
The ones in this photo are about 8 foot long and hundreds of pounds. They move slow. I caught a shot of this guy rolling over. See all the log-like things in the background? More manatees.
Staying warm together
Baby and mama manatee
Traveling back to SD for Feb.
We flew home to South Dakota for February. Crazy, right? The boat is out of the water, in storage at Anchorage Yacht Basin in Melbourne Florida while we are gone.
Tim has spreadsheet work to do for the business and I am in charge of getting taxes done. But, best of all, it is great to see friends and family. We have met some wonderful characters on this trip (you know who you are...) but it feels good to return to our little town and have the checker at the grocery store exclaim, "What are you doing here? I thought you were on a boat trip!" Friendly harassment? Old friends can do that.
Tim's brother, Dan, picked us up at the Sioux Falls airport with winter coats, hats and mittens for us. It's been 2 weeks and we are starting to get used to below zero temperatures again. Scraping my vehicle windshield? I still don't like that part of winter.
Where have we been?
This is the map shows our January travels.
You never know what you will see on the Inter-coastal Waterway (ICW) in Florida. Tourists on a pirate ship bundled in coats and blankets. I bet they didn't expect this cold weather in Florida!
Evidence of the power of hurricanes.
We were continually amazed at the number of wrecked and abandoned boats. Some were washed up on shore, some were sunk with only the mast above water and some were run aground on sandbars. A true testament to the power of the ocean.
Hello 'Tween-waters Resort!
We took a side trip to a resort called 'Tween Waters on Captiva Island. I could have stayed there until spring. The sun finally came out so lounging by the pool felt wonderful. The Gulf was a short walk across the road so we spent time walking the beach. It was glorious. The resort had a pool and 2 hot tubs. Did I mention the sun finally came out?
Traffic jam on the water by Fort Meyers, Florida
We could not believe the boat traffic coming out of Fort Meyers, Florida. We learned a lesson...get off the water before the weekend or deal with all the local boaters who are in a hurry to get started on weekend fun.
Getting ready to cross Lake O
Lake Okeechobee is the 2nd largest lake in the continental United States. We planned to cross it on Jan 11 but high winds forced us to duck into Roland Martin Marina and hope for better weather. The next day was perfect. We usually cruise at 7mph but that day Tim put the hammer down and we crossed the 25 miles in 2 hours and 20 minutes. I was very, very glad to have that stretch of open water behind us.
Fort Pierce City Marina
We arrived in Fort Pierce City Marina ready to get off the boat and explore the city. The marina is downtown which makes it fun to walk to coffee shops, restaurants and shopping. The bench wasn't very comfortable but it was pretty.
Two layers of coats and a hat. In Florida, in January. But it's still warmer than South Dakota!
Tim and I started our Great Loop Adventure on 9-11-2017 in Ottowa, Illinois. We put the boat on a trailer and drove 9 hours from our home in South Dakota to Heritage Harbor Marina in Ottowa to put her in the water. Tim's brother, Dan, drove the truck and trailer back to our house. Thanks Dan!