The St. Lucie Lock is the first lock out of five you must go through when you cross Lake Okeechobee to get to Florida's western side. The water rises about 8 feet in this lock. To make the water rise the lock master just cracks the lock gates a little bit. The water comes in. Your boat rises. You drive out. Seems pretty simple, huh? The lines are even provided for you. All you have to do is keep pulling in and tightening them up as your boat rises. Well it would be that easy if the beast weighed less than 125,000 pounds! I pulled the stern line as hard as I could and still couldn't keep Valkyrie against the wall with the force of the water and the wind. Seriously my arms felt like I had just spent an hour with a personal trainer at the gym. Finally Don took pity on me and came to the rear and used our thrusters to move the stern in closer so I could tighten up on the line. Now to sign up for a gym membership!!!
Just found these pictures of all the Navy ships in Norfolk. It is amazing how close you are when you motor past them and how many ships are docked here. Of course they have a floating fence and a patrol boat keeping our military vessels safe. I love the name of the hospital ship, Comfort. It is my favorite.
"No aquarium, no tank in a marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea."
While we were offshore on the way from Fernandino Beach, Florida to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, the dolphin came to play in our bow wake MANY times. Here are a few pictures to tease you. You KNOW I shot lots of video!!! It's a comin' soon!
While iguanas live all over the Bahamas, some islands are more noted for them. These were at Bitter Guana Cay. When we first walked up to check out the sign, at least 5 iguans came RUNNING out to greet us. Clearly they expected food, which we did not have with us. Let me tell you having 5+ of these creatures barreling towards you expecting food you don't have does more than just give you pause. It makes you run backwards FAST! Not only did I do the backwards dance, but so did everyone else on the beach. These are not cute little curly tail lizards. They are seriously hungry dragon looking speed demons. After we caught our breath and they realized we didn't have any food, things settled down. We realized that the iguanas, while they were running straight towards us, would only come so close before stopping on a dime. If you moved closer to them, they took off in the other direction. That was a relief!
I filmed the video using my underwater camera, which is the one to the left. There is no screen on the back, so you can't see what you are videoing. I just held it up and tried to aim it. Please forgive the shots that aren't centered. It's a little jumpy and there is no sound, but it does give you a nice view of the iguanas.
We made this video to show you what it looks like offshore in GREAT weather! The map below shows where we were.
While heading up the waterway just before the Haulover Bridge Canal, something caught our eye.
I jumped up and grabbed the binoculars. It was indeed a pink bird. The only pink birds I know of are flamingoes. And I have never seen them in the wild, only in a zoo. So just what kind of bird was this???
Turns out they were Roseate Spoonbills!! And not just one or two that had secretly escaped from a zoo. There were lots of them on two tiny islands!! At first I thought they were flamingoes, a common Florida tourist mistake. In fact I wrote that they were flamingoes. Guess that puts me in the total Florida Tourist category. But thanks to a comment you can read below, I learned something new today!!!
Every time we walked on the beach we saw shoes. Never a pair of shoes leading you to believe that someone walked off and forgot them. These were lone shoes that had washed ashore....baby shoes, kid shoes, men's shoes, women's shoes....some fairly intact, some only the sole. The thing is many of them did not look like shoes anyone would have worn on the beach. These pics were taken on the same beach on Long Island and were all within 50 feet of each other.
So just how do all these shoes get washed up on the beach? Do that many folks come there, take their shoes off and then forget them? Do they get blown off the decks of mega yachts traveling at high speeds? Do that many people throw their worn out shoes in the ocean instead of the trash? Did a Rack Room container full of shoes get washed off a ship? Is there some country on the other side of the Atlantic ocean that throws them into the water as an offering to the shoe Goddess? These important questions are what keep me up at night! ha ha! Still, I do wonder just how they get there. Got any ideas????
Our boating friends Tom and Cathie on Interlude said when we went to Long Island we just HAD to go to this great restaurant. The way they described it made my mouth water. Almost all the restaurants in the Bahamas serve basically the same things. Lunch = hamburger, cheeseburger, conch burger, chicken sandwich, fish fingers...usually with fries, if you are lucky you might get a side salad. Dinner is the same plus cracked conch and lobster. Dinner sides are mac and cheese or peas and rice. A few restaurants serve fish and maybe one other dish. But Chez Pierre serves Italian food, my fav! Since my parents were with us and Italian is Dad's favorite too, we just had to go there.
We decided to rent a car and see Long Island that way while we were anchored in Clarence Town. Little did we realize when we saw this sign that we were in for an adventure.
First we had to drive about 3 miles down this narrow dirt/coral/rocky road...but hey, at least we didn't have to worry about remembering to drive on the left. There was only room for one car anyway.
Then we saw this sign, turned right and drove down another dirt road for 2 miles. That is five miles down a road that had more potholes, gullies and rocks than the dirt road leading to camp in Maine! I was starting to think we should have rented a jeep!
With a view of the water, a boardwalk leading to the beach and palm trees all around, it was was quite picturesque and totally worth the drive. Pierre came out to greet us and told us to go ahead and bring Roux inside so she wouldn't have to wait in the hot car....that would never happen in the US.
Pierre is the owner, host, waiter and chef. He managed to cook spectacular food while waiting on three tables at the same time. We ordered a salad that was so big the four of us shared it and all had seconds! Dad tried everything to get Pierre to tell us the secret to his salad dressing. But all he would say is you have to have really good olive oil and vinegar. It had SLICED feta cheese, not crumbled, that just melted in your mouth. Then we enjoyed four huge bowls of pasta with the most delicious sauces. It was everything Tom and Cathie said it would be. My only question is what other restaurants do they recommend!!!