Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sparky Falls for the Hype....

You know how I said the weather has been very crappy and that I couldn't wait to get out on the water with my Sea Eagle kayak, the 385? Well, the weather is still crappy! We had thunderstorms last night...the weather appeared to clear a little during the day, so we headed over to the Barrier Island Information Center to see what they had to offer....It's a little center that tells you about the barrier islands, the loggerhead turtles, and the Archie Carr refuge area....They have two big whale skeleton heads out in back of the refuge....This one was a finback whale that beached himself right there at the beach...They also have....
a pretty boardwalk down to the beach.....
pretty plants around the center......
and some great trips and outings on a schedule that we found out about...for March they had a basket weaving class--darn, I missed it! How to surf fish on Brevard County beaches, oyster mat making---help restore oyster reefs, a Sebastian River paddle, a Harp and Harmony pictorial presentation and musical performance...all of the above we came too late to the area to sign up, BUT---just our luck! There was a "Pelican Island Sunset and Moonrise Eco-Cruise from 5:30-7:30, 22.00 a person. It was TONIGHT! This tour happens just ONCE A YEAR when there is a FULL moon rise at the same time as a beautiful sunset, and you get to see the migratory birds fly into Pelican Island for the night, see spoonbills (maybe), all kinds of migratory birds.....O-o-o-ooh, Sparky just HAD to jump on this one....A full moon rise? A beautiful sunset? Roseate spoonbills, Sparky's favorite bird?  How romantic! AND get a narration about the area to boot? We're IN!

Before Eldo could even say a word, Sparky had forked over her credit card for two to take the "cruise". There was just one problem that Sparky overlooked. It was CLOUDY with a capital "C". But, the lady booking the tour said, "Oh, it should clear up. You know Florida weather. One minute it rains, the next minute it's sunny. We might get a little rain, but it should clear out by the time the boat leaves." That was good enough for Sparky!  We went home, we changed clothes, we headed back to the boat dock at the Sebastian Inlet State Park in pouring rain....  :-(

And it rained, and it rained, and it rained....We got on the boat in the rain and our send off was this egret standing on the dock, hoping for some handouts in the rain...too wet to go look for food!

Because it was cloudy and raining, we only briefly saw the sunset for a moment or two, and the moon rising just a few seconds before it was covered by the clouds...BUT---the cruise was FUN! Rolling the plastic curtains up, then down, zipping them shut, then unzipping, it got to be sort of a game to avoid the rain coming in. What made the trip more fun, was the lady that was steering the boat had a great sense of humor. She made lots of blond jokes, (she was blond) and then turned the narration over to the captain, Captain Les. He was even funnier...he gave us some history about Pelican Island and information about the birds. He cracked lots of jokes while driving the boat, and some of the passengers were inspired to add to his jokes. We laughed a lot on this trip despite the bad weather.

The lady first mate (?) made a comment about how they had NEVER run aground getting close to Pelican Island. Guess the water gets to be just a couple of feet deep. We sat for a little bit watching the birds fly in. Numbers were down because of the rain, so after sitting a little bit, we started the engines back up---at least they tried to start them up. All of a sudden, there appeared to be a problem--the engines wouldn't fire up. Eldy and I thought the battery was dead. It turned out that we were stuck! We had to have everybody move to the front of the boat, they got the prop up part way, and then the engine fired up--whew! We laughed about how this always happens in sports--the announcer says that so and so hasn't struck out in 50 times at bat, then the guy strikes out. And here, the boat crew says they've never run aground or had to have the passengers help move the boat and we run aground! But not for long....

On the way back, we saw dolphins up close and personal! About ten feet away...It was great to see them so close, even if Sparky had trouble getting a photo because it was getting dark and by the time she got the camera focused, they were diving....They came up very close to the boat, within about ten feet, even though it was very shallow. It was great to see them! They dove so fast it was hard to catch a photo with it getting so dark.
As we were heading back to the park, the captain pulled out a spotlight and shined it in front of the boat, looking for the navigational aids. We yelled out, "RED, RIGHT, RETURN, CAPTAIN!" ..Lots of jokes about his skills as a captain went around, but this was a once a year trip, and not normally at night. He knew what he was doing. He got us back safe and sound. And wouldn't you know, the moon came out and stayed out!


  1. That sounds like a great trip on a clear night. I'm going to try to remember it for next year.

    Sorry your weather is so bad. That's unusual in March. Our weather has been great...dry and sunny, but way too warm.

  2. Looks like you had a great fun time despite the weather. The rain just added more to do.

  3. You don't know if you don't try. But this looks like a great place to put on my must see and get information from list. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Like Sherry says ... you have to go to see how it turns out. Seems like you made the best of what mother nature handed you ... and that's all you could do.

  5. Good reading and great pictures. I have to say that I have only experienced A1A for a short distance and I seem to remember how hard it was to actually get to any kind of water view with all the development along the coast. I also remember I had rented a brand new Jeep Liberty and near some very toney areas around Jacksonville I felt like I was in a welfare mom heap. There are some seriously fancy big money cars around there! Thanks for the trip to what I was looking for and didn't find.