December 30, 2018
To Cocoa Village
Today, I saw my first manatee of the trip. I’d been desperately hoping for even a glimpse of these rare creatures ever since we crossed the Florida border, so I wasn’t sure at first as we rowed towards shore but then a few minutes later I spotted two snouts above the surface. The only way I can describe how excited I was to make a confirmed manatee sighting is to say that even though he knows I’m a wildlife biologist, Eric couldn’t understand why I was so giddy.
We may have spooked another one with our oar as we continued on our way, and the rolling broil of water and mud next to our boat surprised us as the big ol’ sea cow used its powerful tail to propel itself away.
We’ve been anchoring every day since New Smyrna, and while it is more challenging to get to shore, I’ve kind of enjoyed it.
December 31, 2018
Such an odd name for a town.
Today, my bare feet touched the sand and I said hello to the Atlantic again. This has been one of the relatively few times we’ve visited an actual ocean beach, and today I didn’t feel the need to wear my snow boots to get there.
Along the walk I contemplated shells – these small little treasures I collect on the beach, are actually armor for the little squishes. So cute.
We’ve seen some interesting places off the beaten path as we explore these coastal towns. You get a different perspective when you don’t have a car and walk everywhere.
I’ve started rowing more and so far my rope burn blisters haven’t popped. It’s a lot more work than using our little dinghy motor, and many people have made jokes as they watch us slowly paddle by. However, yesterday and today have proven that rowing is far superior when dealing with manatees and maneuvering shallow spaces to go to shore. I’m ecstatic to have seen more manatees! They congregate in these areas of warmer water for the winter, and I happily keep watch for any sign or snout of these gentle giants.
When we got back to our boat Eric and I felt like seasoned veterans of the ICW – we left our lonely anchorage in the early afternoon and returned to see many other boats anchored near us – for once we were trend setters instead of following the pack!
We watched some sporadic fireworks from our anchorage to ring in the new year. Even a month into this adventure, I’m still dead-beat tired by sun down and I crawl into bed before 9pm.
January 1, 2019
We’re still concerned about both of our engines, so we are slowly motoring down the ICW and intend to make it to the boatyard tomorrow to haul out Wild and get to work on repairs and maintenance. But for today, we’re enjoying the leisurely pace and pretty views.
I’ve seen so many dolphins today! I’m still amazed with how many dolphins live in the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s basically one giant canal or river, and yet here they are, living among the bustle of boats. And those boats are starting to really piss me off, zipping by so fast and making big waves that wake our sailboat as we’re slowly putting down the way.
At our last anchorage before the boatyard, we paddle boarded around these cool mangrove islands, fighting the wind and current to get back to the boat. On a little spit of beach we met our neighbors for the night, a couple living on a catamaran named Parallax. Turns out they’re headed to the same boatyard we are!
Tomorrow, Fort Pierce Riverside Marina. I’m nervous and a bit sad that we’re taking the boat out of the water, just when I think I’m starting to enjoy the warm weather, beautiful scenery, and awesome wildlife. But I’m looking forward to fixing the boat and making it more comfortable to live on.