Spring Break

There are two paths to take for spring break if you are planning to go somewhere.  Go see snow or go somewhere warm.  The thing about going somewhere warm is that most places in the USA aren’t warm enough in March if you want to be comfortable in shorts or swim, at least not for people who are used to hot weather.  Many of the major league baseball teams practice during the spring in Florida.  We are big Astros fans and went to Florida to see them play in a few practice games with other teams in West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie.  The temperature didn’t get above 75 degrees, which is nice, I think you still need to wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt.

I really wanted to see manatees.  They kind of look like a walrus and they don’t get out of the water.  They are slow moving and referred to as a sea cows.  This time of year they seek warm water.  There is a power plant on the inter coastal in West Palm Beach that uses the water for cooling and releases warm water that is clean and the manatees hang out in the warm water that is released from the plant, so it’s a good viewing area.  The power plant setup a really nice educational facility dedicated to manatees and surrounding marine life.  This is called Manatee Lagoon.

manatees

manatee

Not far from manatee lagoon is a man made island called Peanut Island.  You can take a ferry the short distance for $12 round trip, which you could actually swim, however it’s in a busy boat area.  The island is about 1 and 1/4 miles around with a very nice beach, picnic areas and mangroves.  It’s a great place to snorkel and you can even camp overnight with a permit.  The island was created in 1918 by dredging to create an ocean inlet and it created the port of Palm Beach.  Not long after the coast guard made it a station.  It’s called Peanut island because there were plans to use the island as a terminal for shipping peanut oil, however that never happened.  In 1961 President Kennedy had a secret bunker and shelter built.  In 1984 the island became a recreation spot.  Since then improvements have been made and now it’s a really attractive place to come spend some leisure time.

inlet

I was really interested in the Kennedy Bunker.  We headed towards that area.  In August of last year they had a museum and tours, but they don’t anymore.  There are no trespassing signs posted.  Curiosity got the best of me, and we sort of ignored the signs.  There seems to be nobody there.  And it was exciting to try to find the bunker.  We did find it…

bunker

Supposedly it’s 1200 square feet and can hold 30 people for 30 days.  I don’t know about that.  The Coast Guard house needs to be restored, it takes a beating from past hurricanes and tropical storms.

coast guard house.jpg

The island itself is very scenic.  There are lots of beautiful places to explore.  I would love to kayak or paddle board around it….FUN!

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Spring Break

Father’s Day in the Glades

My father’s day was special.  I traveled with my son to be with my dad in Florida.   He has always loved Florida and even though he lived in different states, and even in a different country, Florida has always been considered home for him.  The beaches are just gorgeous in south Florida.  They really have made them nice.  Each beach has it’s own personality. Fort Lauderdale beach, Delray, Hollywood, Boca, and Deerfield are favorites!

Since my son was with us, he really wanted to see alligators.  As if we don’t see those in Texas!  Dad loves the everglades too!  We went to Sawgrass Recreational Park for an airboat ride in hopes to see alligators.    They hand out ear plugs, the motors start up and it is so loud!  There has been a lot of rain in the area and the captain said there haven’t been too many sightings, even at night.  Alligators are nocturnal.  We ended up seeing a big one!   He came up on the side of the boat and I snapped a pic.  I was a little concerned about how close he was and I figured our boat was probably disturbing him.  In Texas, my favorite place to go to view alligators in their habitat is Brazos Bend State Park.  You can camp there, bike around a big lake (moat with alligators in it) and even go to the observatory in the park for star gazing at night.  The everglades is pretty cool.  It’s about 100 miles by 60 miles. The water is fresh and it comes from lake Okeechobee.  The everglades is actually a river. Recently they have stopped building around it for 100 years.  From what I got out of the talk, the depth can be 17 inches or more.  There is a razor sharp sawgrass that grows there and decaying vegetation then shell underneath. There is bass in the water.  The water is not clear it looks brackish.    The captain said there are snakes, however the airboats keep them away.

airboat.jpg

Say hello to my little friend….

alligator

Tomorrow we will be hitting the beach, weather permitting.

The dad’s that like to do things with you are the coolest.  My dad is exceptional.  He likes to have fun and has always been responsible, reliable and is an amazing care taker.  I know he had fun taking my son and I to the park and I’m so glad he got out to enjoy the day.  It was so beautiful.  The weather was in the 80s, a bit less humid than Houston, albeit it was humid.

 

Father’s Day in the Glades