Out in the 'wild'

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Saturday, March 29, 2008

If you take the 1 north from our campsite you find yourself on the Space Coast and within a stones throw of Cape Canaveral. Those who followed us last time may remember we were lucky enough to watch a shuttle launch when we were here before. Part of the Canaveral complex is Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge - yes you know what's coming next - a day out for Me! as we didn't explore this last time,
http://www.fws.gov/southeast/pubs/facts/mrtcon.pdf well it wasn't just me, Trish came with us too. As we neared Titusville we could see quite a large plume of smoke across towards Canaveral. This was alarming at first, until we realised it was probably a controlled burn off in the refuge. Once there, we took the self drive tour around the wetlands peering into the distance in search of any wild life we could spot.  The drifting ash from the fire settled on us each time we stopped to check something out, but undaunted both by this and the burning sunshine we pressed on. It was probably not the best viewing time since it was neither dawn nor dusk, but right in between! We did however spot the now familiar alligators, though these cruising and basking in the wild were a little more distracting than those we've seen snoozing comfortably in confined parks. Lurking just beneath the 'slime' they looked hungry!



Highlights included spotting a Glossy Ibis, the first one of these we've seen and as we were on the exit road we noticed a sign pointing to an eagles nest 650' away. Fat lot of good we thought as we got out with the binoculars to scan the tree filled horizon ... however we were too quick to judge because there on the road side was a piece of galvanised pipe mounted on  a second piece that was sunk into the ground. It worked like a kind of telescope, directing our gaze to exactly the right spot, 650' away. And hey...there was someone at home too! Very exciting. 







We rounded the day off by going to the Manatee observation deck where we saw them in the wild, again much more exciting than in captivity. A good day was had by all.

On Sunday we were able to spend the day with Leo (first time we'd seen him since New Year 2007) he's down here in Melbourne with the Canadian paddlers on their last training camp in Florida before the Olympics.


As Sunday was his day off he joined us out on the water - just for a change - when we explored the Indian River lagoon aboard a friend's pontoon boat.



 It was a glorious day, spent catching up and admiring the views. Then just to cap it all we happened upon a 'shoal ? pod?'of five manatees frolicking in the shallows, well there were various descriptions of what they might be doing, but I prefer frolicking!



 
 
 
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