Friday, October 31, 2014

Hangin' out in Cedar Key

Earlier this month, we cut our Fall travels short as Dan's glasses broke.  He needed a new prescription in order to get a new pair and we figured the best place to do this would be near our winter base in Cedar Key.  In true McGyver fashion, he was able to rig something to make his glasses work (the arms had both broken off) until he could get his new pair.  Let's just say that with zip ties and hot glue, you can do just about anything!

We just love our little piece of paradise in Cedar Key.

We always seem to have something to do whether it is riding bikes, walking, hanging out with friends, working on projects or going on excursions.  We've been doing a lot of "excursioning" lately.

We have been talking about getting some kind of boat where we could navigate the "shallows". The waters around Cedar Key are not deep and there are tons of islands and areas to explore. We (especially I!) don't feel comfortable exploring in our blow-up Sea Eagle kayak because of the oyster beds.  Dan researched different possibilities and this is what he came up with...
Maiden Voyage
It's a Gheenoe which, as Dan says, is a canoe on steroids.  It's very similar to a canoe but much more stable.  Although the pic above shows it with a trolling motor, Dan has already upgraded to a 6.6 HP motor.  We took it out on it's maiden voyage near Shell Mound, part of the Lower Suwanee National Wildlife Refuge.  It was a gorgeous day to be on the water.

Dan demonstrating the stability of the boat to Gin
While Dan was out with Gin and Syl, I was watching the birds....

Once Dan got the motor, we took the Gheenoe out again to see how he liked was another beautiful day on the water.  We explored an island...

and played with the dolphins.

We must have seen about 20 dolphins that afternoon.  Most of them were in pairs but we did see one huge pod of about 12.  The really liked coming up to the boat and playing around us.  At one point, they were about a foot away from us.  It was very cool to watch.

Yep.  I think that we will like our Gheenoe. There are so many areas around here that we want to explore and with the Gheenoe, we will be able to do that. We will still hold on to the Sea Eagle (for now) and leave the Gheenoe in Cedar Key.

We have seen some incredible sunrises and sunsets here.

Yep - it's going to be a good (and busy!) winter in Cedar Key.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A trip to the islands

We spent the last two weeks enjoying the, not the Caribbean Islands but Hunting Island State Park near Beaufort, SC and Skidaway Island State Park in Savannah, GA.

Although we had a run of days with no sun at Hunting Island, we enjoyed exploring.  We rode our bikes quite a bit, explored the park's trail system, climbed the lighthouse, walked the beach, played Molkky, went to the Visitor's Center and pier, and enjoyed a few campfires with Leon and Linda, a couple that was work-camping at the park and Russ (the campground chaplain) and his dog Yoder,.
Dan enjoying the tree graveyard

Any day at the beach is a good day!
Stormy skies

What a difference a day makes!
Hunting Island lighthouse
It was neat climbing the lighthouse even though I am a tad uneasy with heights.
Proof that I made it to the top!!
The views were nice from the top of the lighthouse but not spectacular as the day was overcast.

Looking down from the top of the spiral staircase
We saw some interesting sights on the way back from the lighthouse...
Dan says this "gargoyle" made out of a stump of an old tree.  Look closely - he is facing to the right. 

Hmmmm...what could this be?

Drift wood with etching in the sand

Our site at Hunting Island State Park  
The next island that we visited was Skidaway Island State Park in Savannah, GA.  We really like how the state of Georgia manages their parks and would definitely return to Skidaway Island. We had a huge, huge, pull-thru site with full hook-ups.
Site 35
The only downside was that we had quite a few large live oaks on our site and had quite a few limbs come down.  Luckily, no damage but it did give Dan heart palpitations once or twice!  And, we got to hang out with Gin and Syl again too!

We enjoyed the trails by bike and by foot....
Boardwalk and Observation Tower
Low tide on the trail
Intercoastal waterway
There was a Learning Center with a replica of a giant ground sloth....

We learned that they could eat 600-700 pounds of vegetation in one day!  Amazing.

The Learning Center had a great area set aside to watch the birds.  They had several bird feeders and bird baths. Gin, Syl, and I sat on benches one afternoon for quite awhile just watching the birds.  I was on a mission to see a painted bunting.  And, we did - many times!
Male Painted Bunting

Female Painted Bunting

I love this picture!  See the birdseed in his mouth?

We explored downtown Savannah one afternoon.  We ate lunch at a local BBQ place.  It was very, very good.  We went to River Street but didn't stay too long as it was the first day of Oktoberfest (unbeknownst to us!) and it was getting rather crowded.
River Steet

Syl walking the cobblestone streets

Talmadge Bridge on Savannah River
We enjoyed our trip to the islands!!