Day 3 (Wed 8/13) Pelican Bay
A welcome rain shower made its way through Pelican Bay sometime in the middle of the night. Sprinkles of cool water coming through the open hatch above our bed lightly touching our bodies alerted us to the fact. Heavier rain, which soon followed, did us a great favor. The front half of our boat and our salon windows were covered with salt crystals from our passage in the gulf the day before. When I arose this morning, the residue was washed away and and all was clean.
After a breakfast of eggs, toast, and fried baloney (yes, I said fried baloney) we packed our beach gear into the dinghy and motored over to the dinghy docks at the ranger station at Cayo Costa State Park. The two-dollar entrance fee includes transportation across the island to the gulf side for swimming and beach combing. We collected shells, took a refreshing dip in the warm gulf waters, soaked up some sunshine, picked up some ice and returned to Beatitude sitting alone at anchor. This is a huge anchorage, but last evening there were only four boats in the entire anchorage. Three of them were within 75 feet of each other, while Beatitude was secured on the other side of the anchorage all by herself. Bumfuzzle (a couple’s blog of an around-the-world trip aboard a catamaran) always commented how that no matter how vast an anchorage, all the boats will huddle together tightly to the point of being uncomfortable and unsafe while the rest of the anchorage goes unused.
Anyway… after dropping off the ice on Beatitude, Cindy and I took the dinghy for a trip around the bay. I took a measuring stick with me to see how deep the anchorage actually is. The chart plotter shows 4 feet in several places, but the shallowest area I measured was just shy of seven feet at mid-tide. We briefly explored a beautiful small bay/lake through a tiny cut in the mangroves before heading back. Several dolphins frolicked in the water around Beatitude all day long. I could watch them for hours.
Around 5:15, we took a 3-mile dinghy ride to the famous Cabbage Key Inn, whose walls and ceilings are covered with thousands of one dollar bills. Cindy and I have four dollars there, two from our visit in February and two from tonight. Last time we were there we had a cheeseburger, the likes of which supposedly inspired Jimmy Buffet to write his hit, “Cheeseburgers in Paradise” while staying on Cabbage Key. Cindy and I went a little more upscale this evening. Cindy had a scrumptious shrimp scampi and I had grouper with a beurre blanc sauce. A bottle of Vouvray served as a perfect accompaniment to our seafood.
After a quick dingy ride back to Pelican Bay, we settled in for the night. Before bed we played a game of golf (card game) which ended in a draw. We had our most restless night of sleep of our trip. Obviously, it is hot and humid, being mid-summer in Florida. A little breeze goes a long way to ameliorate the oppressive heat, but the wind dropped to zero for the night, leaving us in an uncomfortable state for sleep. For the first time, we were attacked by no-see-ums throughout the night. These are gnat-like little creatures that enjoy inflicting torture on human beings by biting their skin. I’m not sure if they were coming through our screens or had entered our dwellings during the day when our boat was wide open. Despite all this, I, at least, did get a decent night’s sleep and awoke refreshed. Cindy, less so.