Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

A walk around the neighborhood

Sunday February 24, 2013
Site 49, Sebastian Inlet State Park
Vero Beach, Florida


First thing is the sunrise. 

I walk over to the ocean front on the campground side of the inlet and get comfy to wait for the 6:15 sunrise.  I’m pretty sure the clouds will obscure it but it’s fun to watch and see what happens. 

I look down at the beautiful shells at my feet and start thinking about delicious oysters and then I notice….what??…..is that really a red mangrove root thinking about colonizing this beach.  What a hoot!!  They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere.

By 7:15 there is still no sun but the beams shining down are lovely just the same.


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I head back to Winnona retracing my steps along the inlet to the lagoon. 

The beach sunflowers are looking lovely.  And so is the little blue heron.  But who are these two waterfowl?  I’ve not seen them before.  The light is weak and their colors are hard to see.  Judy, are they some sort of merganser??   As I leave the shore line to turn into the campground I hear a powerful singer with a beautiful song.  In the picture he’s in mid song.  He’s a friend from Virginia but I’m so glad he lives here too.  We are all lucky to have the mockingbird in our neighborhood.


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Later in the morning David finishes installing the decals Santa brought me back in December.  


Winnona’s rear BRAVE decal was looking rather ragged.  Since she’s so good to us and we plan to keep her forever, we want her to be looking her best.  I didn’t get a picture of the Brave decal in its former state but did take one of this side stripe before he replace it.  Didn’t he do a great job on them both?? 


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In the afternoon we are off to enjoy the surf and sand at the north side beach. 

An entire surfing family shows up today.  5 kids and the dad are surfing. All with boards and wet suits.  The mom and a little baby girl in a pink bikini and pampers are watching.   I didn’t get pictures of them all but here are some.  They sure were fun to watch. 

Seeing them reminded me of the Paskowitz family full timing with 9 children in a 24’ camper van and surfing all over.  If you aren’t familiar with their story, it’s pretty interesting here’s a trailer for the documentary on them entitled Surfside.   I doubt this family is anything like them.


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That’s my neighborhood today.



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What a difference a day makes-The Nation’s First National Wildlife Refuge

Saturday February 23, 2013
Site 49, Sebastian Inlet State Park
Vero Beach, Florida



The day starts off a little tentatively with a reluctant sunrise.


I walk over at dawn and there is no sign of the sun anywhere.  But the little shore birds are busy.  At sunrise rays of light peek out but no ball rising from the water.  Finally 20 minutes after sunrise the sun finally gets above the clouds and things get better from there.


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After breakfast we head over to the beach and NO interruptions. 

It’s a beautiful day AGAIN!  The sun is now making up for lost time this morning and we decide to set up umbrella #3.  We don’t have a name for it yet pending it proving itself.  Those of you who have been with us for a while will remember The World’s Greatest Beach Umbrella which we still mourn.  And its replacement  Umbrella Inferior which turned itself inside out the second day at Nokomis Beach.   This one is a Sportbrella and we’ll keep you posted.  So far so good.


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Everyone is in the water.


The surfers are out and having a great time.  A guy with a boogie board is out having a good time too.  I suspect that’s as close as I’m going to get to either surfing or ocean kayaking.  But today’s the day to get in that water.

This girl from Virginia where it is in the 30’s just cannot believe being in the ocean on February 22nd in 80 degree weather.


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The surfers are lined up all along the water nearly as far as I can see.  It is a wonder they don’t run into each other while catching those waves. 

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Ok it’s MY TURN!!



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The water is warm, the waves are perfect, the rip currents and jelly fish are nowhere around.   I spend a long time playing and fighting the current taking me north.  But it’s SO much fun.  The photographer was in the water most of the time so the pictures are few and only from when I first went in.  He declined to go in with me but when he saw how much fun I was having, he changed his mined.  End of photographs.  So unfortunately for me there are none of me really having a great time jumping around in those waves.


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It is a GLORIOUS day. 

The most beautiful yet.  Our ring-billed  gull agrees and is sounding off about it.  Isn’t he amazing?



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All that sun and surf and sand can do a fella in.

Here’s what you do after playing in the ocean.  Maybe this is what the gull is yelling about.

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What a perfect afternoon.  But we have a date to keep.  We head home for dinner and grab jackets for our 5:30 sunset trip to Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. 



Pelican Island is just that.  An island.  For birds only.


It was the very first National Wildlife Refuge signed into law in 1903 by executive order of Teddy Roosevelt in order to protect the “plume” birds who were being decimated for their feathers which were the fad adorning ladies hats.  Were it not for Teddy, the egrets, the herons, the spoonbills we love today would have been hunted to extinction for fashion.  Hard for me to believe but it’s the fact.   The 3 acre island is only accessible by boat and even then you must stay outside the posted signs surrounding the island.



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We have been looking for an opportunity to kayak out there but the weather and water conditions just haven’t been cooperating for that paddle.  So when we see the “cruise” advertised for $20 a person and leaving from the campground dock, we decide to go along.  Pelican Island is in the Indian River Lagoon which is the body of water between the barrier island on which Sebastian Inlet is located and the mainland which has the town of Sebastian.  Sebastian Inlet is the man made breach in the barrier island connecting the lagoon to the ocean.  For me one of the coolest things about the park is that it has coastline on both the lagoon and the ocean.  Sunrise and sunset!!



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As it has been since we’ve been here, the water is choppy but no problem for “Captain Earl” here in the orange conferring with his first mate.  Although the trip is sponsored by the Barrier Island Sanctuary they unfortunately don’t have someone aboard to talk about the history of the refuge or anything else.   Earl does a little narrating but we actually know more than he does about the history and the birds we see on the island.

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Never the less, it is great to see the signs keeping boats away from the birds who have the place to themselves.

On the way out Earl points out clam beds leased to local fishermen in perpetuity by the state.  These leases can be handed down within the family so long as none of the “rules” are violated.  The leases are marked off by poles in the water.


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We also see some of the  Spoil Islands created when the channel for the inlet was dug.  The mud was piled up and eventually plants took hold and the islands have become part of the eco system.  You can go out and camp on them at no charge I believe.  The Indian River Lagoon through which we are traveling is shallow.  Never more than 6’ deep so at low tide it is sometimes possible to walk from the town of Sebastian on the mainland out to the Spoils.  We can see the folks camped there.

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As if there aren’t enough good things on this fantastic day,  as we approach the island the nearly full moon is up in the sky.


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You can get a sense of how far off shore boats must stay. Clearly Earl has us parked right next to the sign, as close as the law allows.

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SO many birds coming in for the night that with the lack of light and their movements these pictures are rather blurry.  They roost here and leave at dawn for their various foraging spots around the area.


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So fine to see them all arriving.  But I wonder where they will find room to land.

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At first they crowd around on the ground.  Then the tree sitters arrive.  These pictures are before things really get crowded.


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You probably can’t tell the pink roseate spoonbills in this picture but it is  so interesting that all the birds just hang out together.  Egrets and herons and terns and white pelicans and wood storks and spoonbills and gulls.  All intermingled.  Is that unusual for a roost?


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The white pelicans practically piled on top of each other on this tiny little spit that runs out into the lagoon.

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We are so busy watching all the birds that we miss the sunset and only get the after color with the town of Sebastian in the background.


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We head back to the campground in the dark. 


The moon shining across the water is just magnificent.  This is a poor representation but I have to include it to make sure I remember.

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We arrive about 7:30 to hear voices singing as we dock. 

The campground sponsors a musical concert every month on the Saturday night nearest the full moon.  The concert is free although regular park entry fees apply if you are not staying in the campground.   There is a good turnout and the musicians, Friction Farm – strange name that they may have explained in the first half hour that we missed – is a very good folk acoustic duo.


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Christine Stay and Aiden Quinn.  She used to be a materials engineer and he a geologist.  She describes their having acquired the “American Dream”, house, cars, trips.  But they tossed it all in their early 40’s to become traveling musicians.  They tour in their 1991 Chevy Van which means they live in it a lot.  Christine says she’d sell their little house in Greenville and travel full time but Aiden needs his own yard to take care of.  :-)


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The ranger has a large blazing campfire going and some folks are listening from there.   It is a great way to end a really fantastic fun filled day.  Bet we’re exhausted tomorrow.   I’m visualizing a nap on the beach!!