Turtle Nest & Kayaking w/Dolphins (Space Coast)
Jul 3, 2010
|2010, 07/03 (Melbourne, Fl)
When we first arrived in Palm Bay, we visited with my dear brother Douglas and his always cheerful wife, Gloria. Using the circular driveway in front of their house, we boon docked for two days in the Florida sun. Yes, boys & girls, it gets hot in Florida, especially in the summer.
This may be why the refrigerator decided to work a little harder than usual making ice. Whatever the reason, it exacerbated a pinhole leak in the water line that feeds the ice maker. Consequently, I woke up to find a lake under the fridge and a whole new project for my clever little husband. It took Ray less than 15 minutes to solve the puzzle and identify a solution. What’s even more impressive, it took he and Douglas a only one visit to the hardware store to get what they needed. My heroes!
Douglas knows every store in central Florida that sells anything remotely involved with motors, engines and a variety of other really cool stuff. Like our father, he’s spent a lifetime working on engines. He’s also a recognized expert in the field of ‘treasure’ restoration and has served as a resource for a number of notable media organizations including Discovery Channel.
His latest passion has been the restoration, to vintage condition, of a 1930 Model A. An interesting point about this particular car: Doug is only the second registered owner (the original owner lives on the same street as Doug) and it’s spent its entire life in Brevard County. “She” took second place as Best in Show last year….and the pictures will tell you why.
After leaving Doug and Gloria’s home, we crossed over the Inland Waterway and settled into a beautiful resort on the Indian River for a little over a week. The Outdoor Resorts at Melbourne Beach faces the river and has several pools, spas, tennis courts and is exceptionally well landscaped. It also has frontage on the Atlantic beach (there’s another pool and gazebo on the beach). Although we don’t typically like to spend this much on a site, this place is worth every penny.
While kayaking on the Indian River at the Sebastian Inlet, we were told it’s common to see dolphins and manatee. As we paddled along the shore, I said “Gee, it would be great if we see a dolphin or manatee today.” Not three minutes later, a dolphin popped up not 20 feet in front of my boat!!! At first I thought it had a fishing hook & line in its dorsal fin, but several sightings later confirmed it was tagged with a tracking device. We saw it driving fish into the shallows in order to have its pick for lunch. Way cool.
The most awesome memory of this stop was seeing Loggerheads coming ashore at night to lay their eggs. I got up one morning at 4am and went down to the beach. We’d seen dozens of sea turtle tracks in the sand during the day --that night I saw them being made. I witnessed a Loggerhead about 3.5 feet long and about 2ft wide – I could only guess at her weight – finishing off her nest and lumbering back to the shore line.
It was a clear, moonlit night and I was able to actually see her watching me as she carefully returned to her sea. She had deposited 120+ eggs in the cool sand where they would lie for about two months before the hatchlings emerge, en masse, to race to the water for a chance to continue the cycle in their sea. She, and her nest, was so vulnerable and she was so unaware. I was moved to tears by the experience and the possibilities of either success or tragedy.
Because we’re not permitted to use flash photography (it disorients the creatures), I was only able to photograph the tracks after she had returned to her sea. I came back the next day for better shots of the two tracks (one going up onto the beach, the other leading away and back into the surf). They time the laying so the high tide helps obscure the nest.
This section of shore is on Melbourne Beach, at the northern most edge of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge (http://www.conserveturtles.org/florida.php?page=carrref). The work being done for turtle conservancy is paramount to saving the nesting grounds of these gentle, beautiful creatures. They need all our $upport.
One last note about this area: as you know, we like to patronize good, local restaurants. We found two great restaurants in the area. Bonackers, in Indian Harbour Beach (slightly north of Melbourne, just off A1A on East Eau Galie Blvd)is a one of a kind seafood experience (www.BonackerSeafood.com). We loved the calimari and both our entres were extraordinarily good. Be sure to order a cup of the lobster bisque, it was the best I've ever had. We also liked Coconut Cove (just south of Melbourne Beach on A1A). It features European fare and serves a fabulous Wiener Schnitzel (http://www.cafecoconutcove.com/entree.html)
We‘ll stay in Melbourne Beach until after the 4th of July holiday and then head south to Lake Okeechobee. Stay tuned!