Thursday 8/14 – Pelican Bay
I awoke around 7:45 and went out on deck to enjoy the serene sounds of Pelican Bay. I then checked some email and did a little net surfing. We don’t have wifi out here, but we do have excellent cell phone (AT&T) reception and data over 4G. Cindy arose shortly after. While she prepared some bacon and eggs, I readied the 2-person kayak for a little morning exploring.
How beautiful and peaceful was the scenery as we paddled in tandem along the gulf shore of Cayo Costa (“Coastal Key,” an excellent example of creative naming by the Spanish explorers). We spotted two raccoons playing along the shoreline. Numerous Osprey squawked their displeasure at our intrusion into their habitat, while perched high up in the trees lining the water’s edge. Blue herons hurriedly scattered as we neared. Our plan was to explore the little cove we quickly went into yesterday in the dinghy. We were told last evening that several manatees are often hanging out in this protected lake. Cindy already had the jitters as we approached the opening due to various vigorous swirling movements in the water as we passed by in the kayak. She was mainly afraid of encountering an alligator. So you can imagine what we saw about 15 yards into the opening? Yes… an alligator. He was about 5 feet long and sat with his head above the water peering at us intently with those big, green watchful eyes. Cindy went from jittery to panicky as we quickly turned the kayak around at her insistence and headed back out the way we came in. There would be no manatee sightings today. (I would have nice pictures of the alligator to show you, but Cindy had the camera snapping pictures in a state of panic and somehow was unable to locate the alligator within the frame.) 🙂
Instead, we headed back toward Beatitude, making a short stop on a thin strip of sand which protrudes like a long skinny finger into the bay. Miracle of miracles, neither of us ended up in the water while kayaking today. It’s pretty tricky getting on and off the kayak from Beatitude. Today we were fortunate not to fall in, but we are figuring out how best to get on and off. Once back aboard, we rigged a covering over the front deck of the catamaran. On board, one must usually choose between shade or wind. Since the front of the boat points into the wind, the bow is always breezy and comfortable. But, one can only handle so much Florida summer sun. So, you can sit in the cockpit on the stern where you have shade, but no breeze, which makes for heat, humidity, and stuffiness. So, we took a 9’x12’ tarp and draped it over our jib sheets, securing the four corners to make a wonderful place to hang out with both shade and sun. I think this will be a common occurrence aboard Beatitude.
Later in the afternoon, we took the dinghy in to the state park for a walk, and to pick up some ice. Our planned walk across the island to the gulf beach was cut short when about halfway across we decided the heat and humidity had gotten the best of us. So, we turned around and walked back to the dinghy. Once back aboard Beatitude, we watched several pelicans fishing. The pelican will glide along maybe 20’ above the water until he spots a fish. He then dive-bombs the fish, scooping him up in his ample beak. There were also plenty of gulls that houndedly followed the pelicans every move, pestering the poor birds whenever they dove on their prey.
For dinner, we had pizza and a bottle of one of my favorite wines, La Crema Pinot Noir. Wonderful! We then settled in for the first two episodes of the HBO series, John Adams. This is at least my third time watching it, but it has lost nothing in its power to grip and stir.