|Royal Palm Marina is a wonderful place for bird and fish lovers. Every morning at 8 am the staff arrives and cleans the shrimp tanks. Any dead shrimp become breakfast for the three tame birds and the pet fish.
The birds are Sadie, a snowy egret, Bertram, a great white egret and Baby, a great blue heron. Sadie is the boldest and will take shrimp right from their hands although she has a very sharp beak. The two larger birds are a little more shy but still get their share.
The Snook in the slip beside us are there every morning waiting for their breakfast. They pop up to the top as the shrimp are thrown in and apparently at high tide when the water is high enough will take the shrimp right from your hand also. They have no teeth so I'm dying to try this.
We took the boat about 2 1/2 miles off shore to Novak reef to try some fishing but it was so rough that we didn't stay. We could hardly stand, let alone fish so as soon as the anchor was dropped and we realized how rough it was we pulled the anchor back up and headed for shore. We anchored in the Stump Pass cut and tried there but didn't catch anything but we did see a two manatee swimming close to the boat. Once back at the marina Donald and I tried again and he caught 2 red snappers but wouldn't let me take pictures because they werent' big enough. My black drum was definately big enough for a pic though!
The following day we tried again and Mom and Dad came along. It was a little rough but we braved the waves and fished anyways. John caught a few small fish but nothing exciting but we had a enjoyed a nice day on the water.
We have been back and forth between Maple Leaf Estates and Royal Palm Marina. Mom and Dad generously lent us their van for a couple of days so we could do a little sightseeing with Donald. We drove up to Sarasota to tour the Jungle Gardens and observe some of Florida's flora and fauna. Alligators, spider monkeys, reptiles, creepy crawly spiders and many exotic birds were spread over the park. We watched the birds of prey and spider monkey shows.
The Captain took advantage of the wood shop at Maple Leaf Estates to build a battery box for our new house batteries. He installed it and did all the wiring once we returned to the boat.
Mom and Dad treated us to a boat ride and lunch at the Navigator on the Peace River where we enjoyed Grouper sandwiches and observed more wildlife, including several big alligators.
I have decided to fly back from Ft. Myers to Toronto with Donald tomorrow and spend a week visiting family. I was lucky enough to get a seat on the same flight as we had booked for him. The Captain will remain here and spend the week varnishing the boat and provisioning for the trip to the Bahamas. Look for an update once we resume our travels upon my return.