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Published: March 17th 2020
Our family arrived home in New York with no issues. They flew out of Sanford and landed in Elmira, NY. We miss them but are grateful for their safe return. Before they left, we trailed along with them on a thrill seeking adventure outside of our norm. Our daughter, Lory, located a company (BK Adventure) that offered “kayaking with the manatee”. The destination was located in an area around Titusville. She and Sara (granddaughter) were the only venturesome ones who signed up. Cory, Jay and myself were not ready to test our rowing (or maybe swimming) skills. We were there just as cheerleaders. And you can correctly guess who stood out amongst us as the biggest and the best cheerleader: Loud Lulu herself! She could easily fit into a kayak but her problem was.....well, you know. She couldn’t help row!
Without a GPS, we would still be traveling through the vacant, isolated swamps of Florida. Prior to reaching complete desolation, we stopped at a Wendy’s for nourishment and a bathroom break. The company instructions mentioned using a bathroom prior to arrival. Hmmmm - wonder why. We would soon find out. Look at the seating arrangement inside Wendy’s! This was BEFORE
the fear of the spread of the coronavirus! Did they have a premonition! Was this their plan for social distancing? Something was up.
Further and deeper, we traveled from paved roads to just sand flats. Yup. We were well isolated from all humans so if you are looking for a safe spot from the coronavirus, we’ll give you directions! Cory drove through an area of thick smoke. We had seen smoke billowing high into the sky back at Wendy’s. Now we were driving through it. A large stretch was under a control-burn. Palm trees and underbrush turning into black crispies. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.....and we could see the fiery flames. Hot, Hot, Hot! Glad Smokey Bear wasn’t around. He’d be nervous.
Ultimately, we arrived at our journeys end. Cough, cough, gag, gag. The smoke followed us. Help! We can’t breathe! Bring on some respirators! Plus: no check-in building with nice rocking chairs on a porch. No touristy stuff. Nothing! A barren, vacant tract. Just a small sandy beach and a couple cars parked. There were a couple kayakers already heading out into the water. We were all alone! The answer to the bathroom instructions loomed in front
of us: an old, nasty, port-a-john faced us. Ewwwww. A van with a trailer of kayaks was parked along the edge. Soon, a dark, quiet fellow with a big, brim hat, slowly approached us from this van. He would be the guide for Lory and Sara on this manatee escapade. He said they were the only two signed up. Okay...I guess. He headed back to his van because it wasn’t the exact time for departure. Why wait?? Not our rules! Here we stood in the blaring sun. No place to sit except an old tree stump that only a giant could get up on. Lulu and I decided to follow a path along the murky shore. Lory, Sara and Cory nervously followed. Jay didn’t want any part of it. Lulu found a few interesting photo sets where she could pose. She wanted to make friends with the fiddle crabs but they were all dead! What is this place?? Finally, the Bob Marley look-a-like guide crawled again out of his van and the girls boarded their two-man kayak. Cast off! Into the foreign waters they paddled. Faster, Faster, warp speed. Cory, Jay, Lulu and myself just stood around and looked at
each other. That was the extent of our excitement waiting for their return. We sat in the car with the a/c on. It was hotter than hades this day. One and half hours passed slowly for us as Lory & Sara paddled their hearts out searching for manatee. Jay thought he saw an Eagle in one of the trees. It was a big bird with a huge wingspan. Maybe it was, maybe not....you can decide. My photos aren’t the best to help you. It helped to entertain us anyway. Finally, far upstream we could see them in the distance. Paddle faster, girls, we can hear banjos playing! Hooray.....the ships are back in port! They disembark. How was it? How was it? Completely exhausted, they mumble “good”. They now have arm muscles to match Arnold Schwarzenegger. They said the guide pointed out a few manatee to them but spent the rest of the time looking for jellyfish. The picture in the company add showed people petting the manatee as their flipper reached up for more. Their plan.....it was dashed. The guide said the manatee only came closer during mating season and that was only if they mistook the kayak for another
manatee. Sorry, ladies. This was a down time. No love in this deep water. As we bumped along the washboard, sandy path, Cory drove off a side track to an actual Manatee viewing spot. Eagerly, we all bounded onto it. Our eyes searched desperately. A bubble, a ripple...anything. A fish jumped! Rats...not a manatee in sight! So be it. We were in places we had never been....and won’t be again.
Our adventure continued down the coastal highway A1-A. Cory maneuvered our car around the Cape Canaveral Cruise terminals and brought us to Grills Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar. Cory & I have been here before. We love this place. It has so many amenities to enjoy. It is right on the water. The cruise ships sail past. The fishermen bring in their daily catch and clean the fish right here. The voracious pelicans that gobble up all the fish remains are imposing to watch. Monster size cranes lift the fishing boats out of the water and transport them across the driveway to stacked storage units. There is a band playing. People are singing, dancing and drinking. Everyone is laughing and enjoying themselves as they devour the restaurant’s scrumptious food.
Prime seating is out on their open air deck. First come, first serve. Check it out. It’s worth the drive!
Next stop: Ron Jon’s on Cocoa Beach. Visiting this edge of Florida is not complete without a stop at this famous shop. It just goes on and on and on: upstairs and down. Sara & Lory wasted no time gathering up some souvenir shirts. Hint: use your “triple A” card and get 15% off your bill. Lulu was just happy checking out the adorable hat wear. Finally, a jellyfish was found! Not sure what she planned to do on the surf board stand. She is always full of surprises.
The week with our family ended too soon. Time flies when you are having a good time. It felt good to be with our family again. We shall reunite with all of them in June. Until we meet again......
And we’ll apply this same comment to all of you. Until we meet again.......Check out the 30 photos!
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