We were indeed in Ft. Pierce until Thursday due to high winds. Both Tuesday and Wednesday started out as lovely calm mornings but by about 2 pm each afternoon the winds were strong again. The temperatures hung in the low 90s with extreme humidity. Ft. Pierce was a great stop but with no pool and no beach close by it was getting hard to occupy the girls in the extreme heat. It was either stay inside the boat or boil in the heat. So Tuesday we headed to the Manatee Education and Observation Center. It was a pretty tiny place and had minimal information about manatees. Most of the manatees are outside usually but due to construction and barges with materials coming and going there have not been too many manatees hanging around. But the girls did a little research about them before we went and learned a little bit more there. Madelyn still needs to post her video where she will tell you about manatee’s teeth.
The rest of the education center was small but great. There were sea horses, a ton of hermit crabs of all sizes, conch, starfish, sea urchins, a sea cucumber, a spiny lobster, many colorful fish, turtles and a snake. Many of these animals were in a touch tank and the volunteers took turns taking them out for the girls to touch.
We also got to watch many of the animals be fed. Most of them were having shrimp pieces for lunch. I especially enjoyed watching the smaller hermit crab devour it’s shrimp.
The girls each got to feed one of the turtles. All in all it was a good afternoon with a stop for some candy and ice cream and another visit to the nicely air conditioned library to wrap up the field trip.
Wednesday night before we left Nina babysat for the girls again while Bobby, Wendy, Ben and I snuck out for a quick dinner! We forgot to get a picture but I did snap a quick one of Ben and Bobby standing on top of the dune in the crazy windstorm looking down at the ocean. It was another insanely windy night.
Thursday morning we had to say goodbye to the Wilsons. Ella was up early and met my girls for one more hug. Wendy went back to the boat to wake AnnaMay to come say goodbye again. We had to get fuel so they followed us to the fuel dock so the kids could soak up every minute together. I’ve gotten used to the tears and the hard goodbyes. Wendy and I were surprised at the lack of tears (I’m usually contributing to the tears). Wendy thinks, and I think she’s right, that our kids must be pretty confident we’ll end up in the same place again or they would have been a lot more upset. So until we meet again…
Ironically we both ended up in Vero Beach…a mere 14 miles from Ft. Pierce. We pulled out around 8:30 AM knowing that there was rain coming at noon. We were only heading 14 miles to Vero. Easy peasy. That is until a random Tornado warning pops up for the Indian River and Vero Beach basically on top of us. Every weather alarm on the boat and both of our phones started going off. We went from cruising along watching the gray clouds to picking up a lot of speed and zooming into the marina. Strangely the wind never got bad. It was pouring however so Ben and I got drenched docking. But we got safely and quickly tied up and ducked inside. We got about 3 inches of rain in 2 hours and then it went right back to sunny, humid and 90 degrees! The Wilsons continued onto another marina 5 miles further north so we didn’t meet up after all.
Once the sunshine returned we hopped on the free air conditioned bus into town. We walked through some shops and walked out to look at the beach. It was a great beach but we didn’t bring suits so we just watched for a few and walked some more.
We happened upon a huge playground that was practically empty. Despite grumbling from Ben about a playground in the heat we found a spot in the shade to sit and let the girls play for a bit. Then we stopped for super refreshing OJ slushies made from fresh squeezed juice. Toss a little vanilla soft serve in and it was quite a treat. We had dinner back on the boat and an early night.
Friday morning we said goodbye to Vero Beach and moved on to Melbourne, FL. Another pretty quick jaunt of 35 miles north. Easy day. Except we got out of the harbor and all of a sudden the WIND was back. AGAIN. We were heading north. Winds were out of the north. We were on the ICW so other than some huge gusts pushing us it wasn’t uncomfortable at all. Just annoying. I was downstairs with the girls doing school the whole time. I’d pop up and check in on Ben and he confirmed it was mostly just annoying to again be dealing with WIND! We pulled into the very shallow channel into Melbourne harbor and despite the crazy wind got tied up in the protected harbor easily.
We took a long walk around town. Lots of little shops and tons of restaurants. Quite a few shops with lots of little “stuff” that Madelyn loves. Little trinkets and figurines. She was fascinated.
My mom gave me Lululemon gift cards for my birthday and Christmas. I’d been waiting to find a store to shop in rather than try to manage mail order while traveling. It took me until Ft. Lauderdale two weeks ago to find one. So of course in tiny little Melbourne, FL we would come across another one right? It’s this little house with a giant sign out front with the Lulu logo. Random. We went inside and sure enough it’s a fully outfitted store.
We stopped at a kind of unusual Italian place for dinner. We had smelled the wood burning pizza oven when we walked past. It reminded me of both Revolution and Letizia’s from home. We sat out on the patio listening to a strange man with a full grown mullet play soprano sax with some sort of background synthesizer. But the pizza was AMAZING. Haven’t had pizza that good in a long time.