Day 5: Cayo Costa and the Hammerhead

The Vessel at Anchor

The Vessel at Anchor

Beatitude in the Pelican  Bay Anchorage

Beatitude in the Pelican Bay Anchorage

We started the day with a delicious breakfast of bacon and eggs, and then took a short dinghy ride (150 yards or so) to the dinghy dock at Cayo Costa State Park. After paying the $2.00 per person entry fee, we took the free tram across the island to the Gulf beach. The turquoise water and gentle waves were inviting, but were quite resistable when your feet came into contact with the cold, cold waters. Instead of going for a swim – that will wait a few more months – we did a little wading in the shallows and seashell hunting. We found lots of attractive shells over the next hour-and-a- half before making our way back to the Pelican Bay side of the island. We all snacked on some Klondike bars and bought a couple of bags of ice for the cooler once aboard Beatitude.

The Crew and Beatitude in Pelican Bay

The Crew and Beatitude in Pelican Bay

Today's Excursion

Today’s Excursion

The Ladies at the Beach (Mariah is on FaceTime on the iPhone.  She joined us often by video on our 8-day cruise)

The Ladies at the Beach (Mariah is on FaceTime on the iPhone. She joined us often by video on our 8-day cruise)

Shell hunting

Shell hunting

Crab Shell

Crab Shell

We like playing tricks on Mom.  Attack of the horseshoe crab!

We like playing tricks on Mom. Attack of the horseshoe crab!

The weather today started out promising, but the coolness of an approaching cold front was felt by the time we hit the beach. It was intermittently sunny and cloudy throughout the day with showers all around. We have been blest with some seasonally warm weather the last couple of days, but the colder weather returns tomorrow. I can hear my northern friends mocking me now for calling a high of 57° cold, but, believe me, it is for this Florida boy. I’m a warm weather creature. After spending most of my adult life in the north (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania), I have been inching my way southward after medical school, settling in Orlando for residency. My job search after residency included locales south of Orlando, which took me to Lakeland, where I’ve worked since. A little over a year ago, we moved further south into Bradenton. Our future cruising plans include spending as much time in the tropics as possible.

Cayo Costa Beach

Cayo Costa Beach

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Julie's beach adventure - a good book and the ocean air.

Julie’s beach adventure – a good book and the ocean air.

Mr. Gull

Mr. Gull

The excitement of the afternoon came when we cut up some squid to use as bait for some fishing. Tracy threw the line overboard and caught nothing until she grabbed a beer (Any country music aficionado will understand that you can’t be fishing unless you’re drinking beer!). Shortly thereafter, I hear a, “Barry, what do I do?” as she was fighting some creature on the other end of her line. A moment or two later she hauled in the catch of the day, an 18-20” hammerhead (bonnethead) shark! We weren’t expecting to pull that out of the water! After posing for pictures, we released the little creature back into the water and he happily swam away. A little while later, Tracy hooked and reeled in a catfish which, since no one volunteered to clean it, we carefully removed the hook and released it, as well.

Tracy's Catch of the Day.  Hammerhead!

Tracy’s Catch of the Day. Hammerhead!

The Shark

The Shark

Catfish - Catch #2.

Catfish – Catch #2.

A wine and cheese break

A wine and cheese break

Cindy prepared a wonderful spaghetti meal for us and, after gazing at the mesmerizing night sky filled with multitudes of shining lights, we settled in for our evening game time: Taboo – Julie/Tracy (team); Ten-Down – Barry. Shortly before we went to sleep, the wind picked up as the cold front came through.

Mom's Spaghetti - Mmm!

Mom’s Spaghetti – Mmm!

Sunset over Cayo Costa

Sunset over Cayo Costa

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