Sunday, March 9, 2014

Visit to a House of Refuge

After breakfast and a walk on the beach

we visited Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge, built on the "St. Lucie Rocks" (Hutchinson Island).  It is the only one remaining.  You can find more information by visiting

Houses of refuge were built along Florida's east cost, a sparsely populated area when this one was constructed in 1876.  A keeper and his family lived in residence, and after storms, he walked the beach, looking for shipwreck survivors to rescue.

This would make a cozy place to live.  I can totally imagine myself here.  Come with me on a tour.

A cozy room for a quick breakfast.

A formal dining room to entertain guests when they drop by.

A nice old desk to write at and a gramophone to play my favorite tunes.

A cheerful bedroom complete with mosquito netting.

A great veranda for a morning coffee break


with an awesome view.

Sign me up.  Oh, wait.  There wasn't any internet back then.  Guess I'll stay in this time in the wilds of Maine.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Fun in the Sun

It's March.  It's sunny.  It's possible to walk on the beach wearing shorts.  So, I guess I'm not in Maine.

I think these tiny birds are a variety of plover.  As the waves recede, they run out to catch any food carried in on the water.  As the waves wash ashore, the scurry back across the sand.

Then back for lunch, yummy cheeseburger soup, at The Grill in the clubhouse.

Thanks to Tony and his Christmas gift of a shirt from Asheville Sun Soo Tai Kwon Do (, I was able to get into the Grill Room ('golf' shirts required).

Later that afternoon, after a short drive and we reached the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center.  This an awesome place.  Located on Hutchinson Island, which is a barrior island, they have great activities and educational programs.  I chose not to join the fun of sting ray feeding.  With my luck, they would decide I was attack worthy.

There was a great presentation about the three kinds of sea turtles, loggerhead, green and leatherback.  The females dig nests in the sand, lay eggs and cover them.  When the babies hatch, they have to dig up through something like three feet of sand, then head for water.

They've also created a game fish lagoon, 

complete with sharks, jacks, snook and others.  And turtles.

 (These were taken during the fish feeding)

There's also a wonderful nature mile-long trail with a guided walk.

We hiked through a mangrove swamp

past Spanish Moss (named by the Native Americans because it resembled the bearded Spaniards)

And saw a replica of their dwellings.

The turn-around point is the Indian River Lagoon (named for the Ays Indian Tribe who were the original inhabitants of the area, known as the Ays Coast or the Province of Ays).  As you can see from the waves, it was a windy day.

On the return walk, we spotted a gecko in a tree beside the trail.  If you look closely, you can see him perched on the branch (he's the tiny light green slash just above the middle of the picture.

It's all about fun in the sun.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Weather report: It's warm and sunny

On Tuesday, I headed south where it's warmer.

Here's my back yard a few days before I left.

(Some of you may have seen this when I tweeted it)

So here's what greeted me on Wednesday:

View of the golf course at Miles Grant

and later, here's a pic of the back yard at Starbucks.

In case you've forgotten, you can scroll up to see what I left behind.

Yesterday, replicas of the Pinta and Nina were docked at a marina near where I'm staying.  I couldn't resist a visit.

The first reason being that I visited the tomb of Christopher Columbus in the Cathedral in Seville during my visit there in October.

So, here's a shot of the boat Pinta.  

Can't see it?  Because the honkin' big yacht is blocking it?  Hint: It's the tiny square flag 

Here's she is from across the water.

And here's the Niña

The Pinta had a crew of 26 and the Nina 24.  The ships were so small the crew slept above deck because below decks were filled with provisions.

From under cover looking toward the deck
On the deck of the Niña

Factoid:  Columbus chose the Niña as his ship.

Their diet was especially varied:   

Personally, I can't imagine spending 24/7 on a ship between 65 and 85 feet in length crowded to the gunnels with 26 or 24 other bodies.

How about you?