North…already? — Twixt Fort Pierce and Hole in the Wall

Breezy chill, bright sun.

On the 15th we fueled, watered, and pumped out. Showers hit just as we finished up. Did more reconn. Turned in the car and walked back.

After a day spent lounging in the chilly grip of a strong Northerly (we had to lower a side curtain) on the 16th, we departed Fort Pierce City Marina at 1100 this morning.

Hot homemade spaghetti last night did a great job eliminating the chill.

FPCM gets our “best” marina mark, with Cocoa Village (FL) and Titusville (FL) tied for #2.

FPCM came out on top due to the size, cleanliness and privacy of the showers. The trip North (ouch, we’re not ready for that word) back to the Hole in the Wall anchorage off Indian River Shores was cool but not cold. A persistent ENE’ly kept it from ever really warming up. Marker 163 had been whacked flat sometime since we passed southbound. The USCG arrived on the scene shortly after we passed today. This was good because the marker was positioned to sink an unwary boat.

Shortly after anchoring for the day we saw the first herd of Manatees since entering their habitat. Perhaps twenty in three groups that came right by the boat as they moved from S to N. The photo is of a “teenager” diving under our bow to catch up with its family group. None of these showed any propeller wounds which is a good thing. Their swimming motion just below the surface leaves a “slick” that gives them away. If they swim deeper, their fluking action leaves a smooth boil on the surface three to twenty feet apart. They can go quite a distance without breathing, so seeing a slick or boils is no guarantee you’ll see a manatee. Apparently they were all headed for cocktails. Around 1700 the stragglers wrapped up the parade.

They were replaced with a small congregation of Anhinga coming home to roost for the night. We first saw one of these large cormorant-like birds when transiting the Okeechobee waterway in our Ranger 23 in 1976. The bird was drying out its wings. Here, we have four males about 50 feet apart and one female we can see. Each perch has a guano trail through the leaves below it indicating they are repeatedly using them.

Off to the north a very large Great Blue Heron landed on the little strand and immediately all the gulls went to the other end. Those heron bills are like spring loaded spears. We have another weather system headed our way with a lot of wind and cold rain (rather than tropical showers) so our return to Titusville is built around being in the right places for a few bad nights — a small price for the really good days.

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