Saturday, February 19, 2011

LOVE the Treasure Coast

Just a quick update - no pictures this time - I haven't downloaded my last batch and just wanted to stay up-to-date. Well, first of all - sorry, Cindi and Glennda, but from the SECOND you guys left we have had the most GORGEOUS weather. It's been in the low 80's with bright sunshine every single day this week - actually I can't believe the weather through the whole last month (other than the cooldown during the time my friends were here - wouldn't you know it!). And I'm still embarassed at my initial reaction to this park, because it is absolutely beautiful here. We have the intracoastal waterway on one side, the ocean just over a little rise to the other side, and the inlet directly in front of our door. Dave's been fishing every day and having a ball. And we have REALLY nice neighbors - Ray and MaryEllen - from Wisconsin. We actually went to dinner with them Tuesday night - and anyone who follows us knows that we do NOT do that. We went into Vero Beach, which is very nice, and ate at Sonny's Barbecue. Okay, not very "swanky" but it is one of our favorite Florida franchises. Anyway - it's amazing how the days just slip away. I went on one all-day road trip (almost 250 miles! Yikes - a LITTLE further than I had planned on). I wanted to check out Highland Hammocks State Park to see if it goes onto next year's itinery (yes, it definitely does). The park was quite a bit inland, past Okochobee, but I didn't realize quite how far it was when I took off. But I enjoy driving so Brandi and I had a nice ride - Dave was smart enough to stay home and fish!
Yesterday we made a point to visit the two museums that are part of the state park here. There's a little museum dedicated basically to the fisihing history here at the Inlet, with a nice little film about the area's past, present and future. A lot of really interesting facts about this area - incredible biodiversity - hundreds of fish and bird species, and good information about the value of the eco-system here. The Indian River Lagoon serves as a "nursery" for a lot of the larger ocean fish - they come into the lagoon to lay their eggs and their babies are nurtured in the shallow waters in the lagoon before they move out into the ocean. The number and variety of fish going in and out of the inlet is unbelievable. There isn't a day that you don't see manatee and dolphins moving in and out. And fishing boats! All day, every day, every type of boat you can imagine - from big commerical boats down to Dave's little red kayak. The museum did a nice job of providing some really interesting background information for our stay here.
The second museum is the McLarty Treasure Museum - it's about two miles down the road, south of the camping area and the inlet itslef (but still within the park boundaries) and it's primary focus is the 1715 wreck of a flotilla of Spanish "treasure ships". 700 men, women and children drowned in the wreck, but 1500 survived and came ashore and struggled to survive for a number of months until they were rescued by soldiers out of St. Augustine. In the wreck, an absolute forune in gold, silver, jewels and other precious materials went to the bottom. Although an estimated 80% of it was rescued within the following 2-3 years, a huge amount of the treasure is still in the water and continues to be retrieved to this day. There are "treasure hunters" who have found literally millions of dollars of treasure off the coast hereover the past 30 years, and after a bad storm gold coins worth $5-10 thousand EACH still can wash up on shore! And there are ships in the flotilla that haven't even been found yet. And that's the reason it's called the Treasure Coast ( there - you learned something!). Anyway, both the museums were very interesting -and Dave and I both enjoy spending time doing this. Afterwards we went back to our favorite little bar and sat out on the deck in the beautful sunshine and watched the waves roll in from the ocean. Lovely!
Dave did have one kind of scary thing happen to him here - he was out fishing in the inlet in his kayak and was just drifting and dragging a lure behind him (which is one way he enjoys fishing), when he suddenly noticed that he was picking up a little bit of speed! Yep - he was getting WAY too close to where the inlet opens out into the ocean and, because is was going toward low tide, he was being pulled out toward the ocean. He started paddling like a MADMAN and if you know Dave, you know he is VERY strong. Well, apparently he paddled and paddled and paddled and finally began to make some headway getting back up the inlet toward the campground. When he finally got to a point where he could get over t0 the side and rest some guy in a boat told Dave he was "really impressed" by how he got out of there - he told him he'd been watching him and was getting ready to go out and rescue him with his boat if necessary. He told Dave he'd seen smaller fishing boats - with motors - that couldn't pull themselves back out of the outgoing tide! WHAT A GUY! Anyway - I think he learned a VERY valuable lesson - yikes! Good thing I wasn't there - it would have been Coast Guard time since I don't have a fraction of the upper body strength that he has.
So we've just been relaxing and doing short little runs into town, but mostly just enjoying the park, walking trails (Brandi and me), biking (Dave loves the bike trail here), sitting in the sun, watching the waves on the ocean, walking out onto the piers, etc., etc., etc.
So that's my short little update. Today we plan to go up to Cocoa Beach and I'm going to do an AVA walk while Dave rides his bike. And then we have tomorrow and Monday, and then we move again. I probably won't update my blog until the next park (which will be Blue Springs). But we have really enjoyed our time here and I'm already planning next year's trip and hope to get two solid weeks here next year - quite a change of heart from my first reaction to this area, huh? We've learned to be patient about forming our judgment of parks - oftentimes the places that we have negative reactions to initially turn out to be some of our favorite places after we get to know them better (sounds like a "life lesson", doesn't it).
Love to all - I'll be in touch!
PS - HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SON ALAN - HE'S TURNING 42 TOMORROW (sorry, Alan, couldn't resist....) Love you...

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