Monday, March 7, 2016

Long Point & Manatee Hammock

The truck is pointed north.   Are we going home?   Not today!  Our next destination was just up the road about 80 miles to the outer barrier island that protects the mainland and the city of Sebastian.  Long Point County Campground is on the opposite side of the channel from Sebastian Inlet State Park.  We were here last year- just a few weeks earlier in February when the temps were much lower and the wind much stronger.  This time we parked on the western side of the island facing Sebastian and only 6 feet from the waters edge! (H said to be sure to mention that the last 4 out of 5 campsites have been “waterfront” and 3 of those have been on an island!) Due to the recent rains, several campsites needed attention since RV’s were getting stuck in the mud and digging deep ruts trying to get themselves out.  Our site was one of them so we patiently waited while our site was turned into a beach due to all the sand that was dumped and then leveled out!

Our first visitor was a bright white Great Egret that didn’t say much but the look in his eye said he was looking for a handout!  Each day he strolled slowly past our little spot by the water – just in case we changed our minds. Out on the tiny island across the way pelicans rested before they went out fishing again.  And the sunsets were gorgeous from our little beach, too!

Last year we attempted to walk the sandy shores at Wabasso Beach Park (where the seagull stole my ice-cream!) but couldn’t because all the Tonka trucks on steroids were moving monstrous mounds of sand from one end of the beach to the other.  This year the huge yellow trucks were gone – replaced by beachgoers, sunning themselves near brightly colored umbrellas while frothy aqua waves slid up on the white sand in front of us. 

Back up at the public access parking lot near our park, H suggested we walk the “half-mile” of beach, back up to the long fishing jetty on the north side of the state park.  That half-mile turned out to be MUCH longer!  The soft, deep, damp sand was like walking a mile in foot deep soggy wet snow in those heavy snowmobile boots that we used to wear!   Flocks of jabbering gulls and terns gathered and played leapfrog out in front of us – taunting us as we struggled on!  But we made it and the cool, shaded, upstairs porch of the multi facility building by the jetty allowed us to catch our breath and soak in the scenic view of the ocean and inlet before our return walk back to the truck – on the wide, level, cement walk that followed along the road!

Two nights and we moved north again – up A1A, past Melbourne Beach, Cocoa Beach and around and past Port Canaveral to Titusville.   John Prince is a Palm County park.  Long Point, and Wickham Park in Melbourne, are both Brevard County Campgrounds.  The third Brevard County Park is Manatee Hammock, which was our home for 2 more nights.  Our site was spacious and surrounded by pine trees.  Out the back window we could see Ron from WP Franklin and his little single person trailer in the next row over!  Coffee and conversation got us caught up with each other’s travels over the last month.

 It was a short walk to the bathhouse from our site.  On the way was a dead palm tree, which neither of us paid much attention to.  After all – it was just a dead tree!  Then I really looked at it - - it had a face!  And the face came with a set of big white teeth.  Look closer – it had something in its teeth.  Should we tell him he had some meat stuck in his tooth?

Rusty’s Seafood Restaurant, on the waterfront in Port Canaveral, is always a favorite for lunch with Lois and Dave!   The day was warm and sunny and our prime seats were out on the porch – right by the railing so we could watch for boats heading up or down the river. Up river you could see both commercial fishing boats and pleasure boats secured to several docks and pylons.  All the empty pylons were occupied by pelicans who were waiting for their lunch too!  While none of the multi storied cruise ships that were moored farther up river were scheduled to depart, there was a big black and white tugboat that chugged down river.  It was passed up by a “pilot ship” heading for open water and a freighter that must have been waiting for him out there to offload his local boat pilot who would guide his ship safely up the river to port.   Our time with my friends ended way too soon but we know we’ll get together once we all reach home again.  A quick trip thru downtown Historic Cocoa completed our afternoon out. 

It was time to say goodbye to salt water and head inland to the fresh water of Lake Mary Jane and Moss Park.