16 March 2015

Yet More Life Lately In Florida

It’s been a while since we’ve had a “Life Lately” post. Basically bits and bobs about what we’ve been up to lately. We’re still in Florida and enjoying it despite the cost, traffic nightmares and the bugs. One look at the weather map will give you a big hint as to why we like it here – it’s sunny and warm, unlike most other parts of North America this winter. Who knows, maybe we’ll never leave. 

Anyway, here’s what we’ve been up to lately in Florida.

Searching for the Perfect Sailboat

Tayana 37
A Tayana 37 at Indiantown marina.

As some of you may know, we’re currently traveling around the States in our Scamp travel trailer looking for our next sailboat. We’ve checked out some more sailboats lately, but still haven’t found the perfect one for us yet. It’s a pretty big decision, so we want to make sure we make the right one, even if it means waiting a while. Having done most of our sailing together in New Zealand and with Scott having sailed in Europe, neither of us is very familiar with American sailboats, so it’s been interesting being able to see different types of boats up close and personal. We’ve crossed a couple of boats off our maybe list – like the Tayana 37 (Bob Perry designed boat, built in Taiwan). They’re beautiful boats, with classic lines, but they just don’t have the livability factor that we’re personally looking for (way too much teak to maintain and I’m favoring a sugar scoop over a canoe stern). Oh well, the search continues.

This Ain’t My First Rodeo

A very blurry photo of the mad calf scramble

I saw my first rodeo ever in Moore Haven near Lake Okeechobee! Seeing a rodeo has been something I’ve always wanted to do, not sure why it took so long to make it happen. The rodeo we went to was billed as a “ranch rodeo” - no professional cowboys, just hands from the local ranches. Real, authentic cowboys and cowgirls on their horses, wrestling cows to the ground, saddling and riding wild horses and trying to stay on some crazy bulls. It was an incredible evening. And a bit bizarre at times too. At one point, the emcee asked all the children between 5-11 years of age to come down into the arena. There must have been at least 100 of them. They all gathered around at one end of the arena looking excited and then they released three tiny calves with bows tied on their tails at the other end. And then we had the calf scramble. Crazy, excited kids running after the calves trying to grab one of the bows. It was complete, utter madness. The three kids won got cash prizes. I guess it’s never to early to start training the next generation of ranchers. 

Back to the Florida Keys

Sunrise Curry Hammock
Sunrise at Curry Hammock State Park in the Florida Keys

After two fabulous weeks at our secret boondocking campsite in southern Florida, we headed back down to the Keys. We managed to snag a last minute cancellation at Curry Hammock State Park near Marathon. While we really liked our stay at the Jolly Rodger when we were last down in the Keys, Curry Hammock is heaps better. It’s a small campground (only 28 sites) with huge sites (which look even bigger when your rig is only 13’ long) right on the beach. Plus it’s relatively inexpensive (for the Keys that is) – $43 after taxes a night with electric and water hook-ups. We had a great time hanging out at Sombrero beach, catching the sunset at Key West (unlike last time), walking along the old Seven Mile Bridge (and seeing over a dozen stingrays and two dolphins), trying conch fritters at the Seafood Festival in Marathon (once was enough for me) and basically lazing about and soaking up the sun.

In Search of More Alligators

This gator must be over 12 feet. That's more than twice as big as me. Yikes.

By the time you read this, we’ll be camped out at Flamingo at the southern tip of the Everglades in search of more alligators. Alligators scare the crap out of me, so I’m hoping we don’t see any. Scott, on the other hand, gets thrilled every time he sees one. Some people have told us that camping at Flamingo is a once in a lifetime experience. You do it once and you never want to do it again because you’re covered in mosquito bites. But other folks seem to love it and rave about the ranger-led cycling and canoe trips. Hopefully, we’ll love it too!

What’s been happening lately where you are?

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