Thursday February 28, 2013
Time to get back to reality a little bit today. We do have a boat getting ready to go in the water, and as much fun as we’re having taking time away from it, we can’t neglect it now that we’re so close to the finish line of going back in the water. In all honesty, we should have had the day open to do whatever we pleased with it, but there were rudder issues once again. While we were having our fun at Disney yesterday, Serendipity was lifted once again so they could remove the rudder, put a proper fitting bushing on, and place it all back together. Upon inspection though, we realized an issue with how it was put back together. It was done through one of the vendors through the yard, by a newbie that’s not familiar with sailboats. This kid had actually put in backwards. Yes, backwards. Matt had to spend over two hours packed into the lazarette getting it straightened out while I ran back and forth, handing him tools. Eventually it was all straightened out and put back together the way it should be. These are the times I’m very happy to fall into my pink role of cooking and doing dishes and not getting stuffed into dark and greasy corners. Unless a nut or bolt falls into the far reaches of a nook and I’m summoned into the cave to dig it out.
We may have let ourselves sleep in a little this morning, but it was still near 2:00 once we finished this project and got ourselves presentable enough to go out. After seeing our photos of when we had gone to Blue Springs State Park to see the manatees, Matt’s mom was wondering if we’d be willing to make the trip out there once more with them while they were visiting. We didn’t know how long we’d be able to stay, with it now being so late in the afternoon, but we were up for it if they were. Making a call to the park just before we left, I inquired to see how many manatees were spotted at the park that day. When we had gone last month with Chris, the count was near 120, and of those we probably saw 50 swimming through the creek. Today…there were only 5 spotted. I relayed this to Crystal so see if she still wanted to go, driving an hour out there to take the chance that we may not see anything at all. Since Matt and I had already been there and had already seen dozens, it wouldn’t have been a big loss to us if we didn’t see any. Crystal was ok with that chance too, and we piled into the car to head out.
It was a beautiful sunny day, albeit a bit windy, and I was excited to see the springs in a new light. Literally. Last time we went it was blustery, overcast, and even misted a little bit. Not that I didn’t enjoy that trip A TON, but I love sun and warmth. Turns out I should have been wishing for the opposite. As we entered the park we spoke with the ranger for a moment and she stated that the low number of manatees today compared to when we had come a few months ago was due to the warm weather. I remembered hearing from Chris before that they flocked to the springs when all surrounding areas were cold, since the waters in the spring always stayed a toasty 70 degrees or warmer. I just didn’t know how quickly they hightailed it out of there once the surrounding waters warmed up a bit as well. We were hopeful as we stepped out of the car and walked to the dock that overlooked the creek. This is where we had been surprised the first time by close to 40 manatees all hanging out in this area, as well as schools of hundreds and hundreds of fish.
The anticipation grew as we peered out over the water, but there was nothing there. Not a single manatee and not a single fish. The sunshine that I had been so excited to see just moments earlier was also now casting a harsh glare on the water, making it impossible to see into the water in some areas. The breeze was also kicking up ripples, making it hard to even see the empty sandy bottom. This was not an ideal day to come here. Not for manatee or fish viewing anyway. But on the bright side, the area was still beautiful and there were plenty of trails to walk. Meandering through the sidewalks and boardwalk, we constantly peeked out at the creek at every opening, still hoping for a manatee but not really expecting one. By the time we had gotten to the end of the creek where the spring was, we had seen a few gar fish, but no manatees. And to make matters worse, the setting sun was throwing a glare right over the opening to the spring, making it impossible to see. Matt and I felt so bad that we had made the hour drive all the way out here to not see anything the area was known for, but Crystal and Jack just seemed to be happy to be out with us, and the sun and warmth didn’t hurt. The area was still beautiful with it’s picturesque Spanish moss and palm trees being blanketed in the glow of a setting sun. Maybe the day wasn’t a total waste after all.