Saturday, April 11, 2015

Titusville to Daytona Beach

Friday April 10
Hours today: 6.3
Miles Today: 48        Total miles: 3,106
Locks today: 0            Total Locks: 39

I just had to include this photo taken by my friend Kathy the other day- we are cruising through Mathers Bridge on Mara Beel. Sweet!

We very much enjoyed our two days in Titusville.  Thursday we drove across the bridge to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge shares Merritt Island with Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. In fact, the Refuge was set aside in the 1950’s to act as a buffer for the space center, and is an overlay of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center. This 35 mile-long barrier island is home to over 500 species of wildlife and 1000 plant species. It has all types of terrain from pristine beach, salt marsh, mud flat, oak and palm hammocks, creeks, etc.

I took plenty of pictures, as you might imagine! After lunch we picked up John, Kathy, and Ann and drove back to the island to see Playalinda, an incredibly beautiful beach.  (Playa linda means pretty beach in Spanish.) What a treat- 26 miles of unspoiled beach! There are no high rises, no congestion. Just white sand and turquoise water as far as we could see, bordered by sea grape-covered dunes.  We had a relaxing stroll cooled by a gentle breeze.  Pure bliss!

There must be something attractive in this bag!

Ann, Kathy, John and Mark

Back at the marina we were reunited with Susan and Foster on Quo Vadimus. We last saw them in December in Dunedin, so we had some catching up to do --Docktails, of course, with Serenity, Charis, and Jim, a Gold Looper on Joint Venture.

Someone didn't get the memo about wearing blue!

The other boats left early the next morning, (Friday, April 10) but we left even earlier for another trip to Merritt Island. We arrived before sunrise and saw plenty of wildlife, including this huge gator. We were entertained by the antics of Tri-colored Herons and Roseate Spoonbills in particular. The tri-colored herons raise one or both wings and run around frantically before spearing a fish. My first thought was “What on earth is wrong with that heron?” The spoonbills walk constantly. Their bills are spatula-shaped, and they hold them horizontally in the water and swish from side to side. It’s quite comical to watch.

Florida's official state reptile- of course!

Roseate Spoonbill

Tri-colored heron

We returned our rental car, had the boat pumped out, and were underway by 10:00. It was another hot day, but the scenery was more varied today. We saw many manatees in love- it’s mating season- especially in and around Haulout Canal. We passed several small islands being used as rookeries by spoonbills, pelicans, and herons. I do like to keep our decks clear of fenders and anything else, so I can quickly get to all parts of the boat to take pictures. You never know when a dolphin might pop up!

An island rookery

We pulled into our slip at Halifax Harbor and were met by several friends who informed us that dock tails would be on our boat in one hour. That was fine with us! Kathy made Margaritas for the group that again included Serenity, Charis, and Quo Vadimus.  Boats are congregating here for the MTOA Rendezvous that officially starts Monday. Mark is on the docking committee, which has kept him busy helping new arrivals tie up. He loves wearing an official-looking vest! We are also on the breakfast committee, and I am on the photography committee. Additionally, we are one of the boats hosting “Lunch on Board” for a couple arriving by car. A variety of seminars and events are scheduled for the week, so we won’t lack for things to do.

Mark modeling his vest

This morning (Saturday April 11) we walked to the Farmers Market with Kathy and John. It was extremely warm early in the day, but we were pleased by the wide selection of fresh produce at the market. The strawberries are especially yummy!

Historic downtown Daytona Beach

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