On our next-to-last day in Fort Lauderdale, we rode our bikes to attend First Baptist Church. It was beautiful inside , nice folks, great music and sermon.
Donna and Gil checked in and wanted to visit one more time (we did too). One of their friends, Chuck, who is interested in doing the loop, joined us also for some helpful info and I think he really enjoyed seeing the boat. Chuck had to leave early so we went out to IHOP with Donna and Gil for an evening breakfast, played some more Sequence, then said goodbye. We set up the new camera on the tripod and got a timed shot before they left. Gonna miss all of our Boca friends!
Scott spent the entire day with us on Monday. He gave us some pointers on the smart phone. Do you like my hippie shirt? "Peace, Love, Donate" - it was a blood donor shirt Rhonda got at St. Luke's Hospital in Houston while I was having one of my surgeries last September.
Then we got to watch the BCS Championship together.
And before he left, he gave me some pointers on night-time shots with the new camera. Here's our view across the water at "The Symphony" condos. Really looking forward to this new camera.
With the championship in hand, Scott heading back to Alabama, and about all of the new info my old brain can handle at a time on the phone and camera, it was time to get moving again. The blimp was still in the area.
Some of the bridge-tenders have some fancy workplaces!
This is one way to move a house!
We had planned about a 55-mile run northbound to a nice anchorage for the night. Then we talked to Rhonda's Mom and Dad - some of their friends were in that same area on their boat and wanted to take us to dinner. We had heard about this couple many times over the years and really wanted to meet them so we decided to get a slip at their marina, Old Port Cove in North Palm Beach. We met them on their boat at 6:30 PM, went to dinner there at the marina, and visited until about 11:30 PM. We had a great time, really nice folks. Here are Jackson and Anne at their boat, a 52 SeaRay.
They have recently purchased a 58' Symbol and the SeaRay is up for sale. Speaking of "For Sale," so is this 164-footer at the end of the dock, 4 floors with an elevator, room for 12 passengers in 6 staterooms and 12 crew in 6 other rooms, gym, etc., etc. If interested, you can inquire! (We remember the days when we had 4 adults, 4 kids, and the dog overnighting in our 22-foot Sea Ray!)
Here's a shot up close on the port side.
I hope you don't get the wrong idea when I show these megayachts - it's just mind-boggling to me to see the kind of wealth that is on display down here. Here's a nice contrast in boats - "Help Me Rhonda" next to our neighbor (an 85-footer up for sale at 2.1 million), and a small skiff together. "How much is the skiff please?"
We stayed 2 days at Old Port Cove. The wind was more than we like to travel with on the second day so we got caught up on bills, mail, paperwork, phone calls, etc. and I finally managed to get a new chart plotter program downloaded (with much help from Scott on the phone) that Garmin developed for IPADs - tried it out today, looks nice. We planned another 55-mile day to Fort Pierce so we got up at 6 and were on the waterway northbound at 7. You never know what you will see in a day. This shot was taken from about 1/10 of a mile away - 2 gorillas sitting by the pool at a residence in Jupiter???????????????
When you cross the St. Lucie inlet from the Atlantic, there's quite a contrast of water color and cleanness where the inlet and the waterway meet. If you look closely, you can see the contrast on both sides of the inlet.
Is this really pretty water or what?
It's been awhile since we've seen one of these.
There was a steady stream of traffic southbound, mostly northerners heading south to escape the cold weather. Lots of boats from Montreal particularly, but others from MA, RI, VA, CT, NJ, etc.. The stretch from Jupiter to Fort Pierce was all open water - a nice change after so many speed restrictions the past 2 weeks (not that we're fast by any stretch of the imagination, but it's nice to just set the autopilot and let her run).
When we got to our marina in Ft. Pierce, we ran into one of the Canadian couples again that we had dinner with a couple of weeks ago at Indiantown. Here's HMR docked at the City Marina.
But the highlight of the day was manatees. We saw about 6 coming through Jupiter and then when we got here to Ft. Pierce we found a manatee museum 2 blocks from the marina.
They are gentle creatures and are difficult to photograph while moving - they head for deeper water when you get close. Here's a display of one, generally about 10 feet long and 1000 pounds.
The museum volunteer told us about a place close by the museum where they often come to drink fresh water from a drain pipe that flows into a pool of water here. So, our timing was good and here's a close-up shot for you - the real thing.
There were three in the area. It's common for manatees to have barnacles on them and one had what looked to be very distinct prop cuts on its back but I couldn't get a good shot to show that. Here's two of them together. By the way, they are no longer on the endangered species list and consideration is being made to lessen some of the boating restrictions after many years of watching out for these creatures.
After the museum, we headed off on our bike tour of Fort Pierce. Speaking of bikes, check out these clever bike "racks" - probably intended to just designate a bike parking area but we liked them whatever the intent.
Fort Pierce is one beautiful town and will definitely make our "Places I Could Live" list. It is very clean and classy. All of the city sidewalks are brick and many of the streets are as well. They use lots of roundabout intersections. Here's one close to the marina.
There appears to be some culture and entertainment in the town. Here's the Sunrise Theatre, info in the area noted The Oak Ridge Boys, Pink Floyd, BB King, The O'Jays, Tony Bennett, Vince Gil, and The Russian Ballet just to name a few that have been here recently or are scheduled. There were several others in the "cultural" list but I didn't recognize them!
Check out the details of the tiled park benches out front. These are common throughout the city.
No idea what this is about but it was impressive, definitely different. Obviously a diver, but why? Notice the guy taking a pic from the other side, probably asking the same question.
I know this sounds silly, but their street signs were even impressive.
We had dinner at the Yellowtail restaurant which had a nice display of fish on the wall. Fort Pierce is definitely a big sport fishing town.
The whole town looks the same, very up-to-date styles, and no pockets of miskempt homes of any kind that we could find. This is the typical "look" of the town.
In consideration of all the above, here's the new list.
"I COULD LIVE HERE" LIST - TOP SIX
1. Port St. Joe, FL
2. Fort Pierce, FL
3. Anna Maria Island (Bradenton Beach), FL
3. Anna Maria Island (Bradenton Beach), FL
4. Panama City, FL
5. Ft. Walton Beach, FL