Faver-Dykes SP and Sebastian Inlet SP in Florida

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Faver-Dykes State Park, FL

We left Jekyll Island a day earlier than planned so James wouldn’t get rained on. Well, he got a little wet anyways (anyone who knows James’ track record won’t be surprised!). The rain was very light and short and not a big deal at all in these warm temperatures!

Our first time canoeing amongst palm trees on Pellicer Creek
Our first time canoeing amongst palm trees on Pellicer Creek

We had a short 4 nights/3 full days at Faver-Dykes State Park, a small campground along our southbound route towards the Keys. We were curious to explore the river estuary ecology. Our site had water and electrical hookups, but no sewer. It was a remote location with a long, slow road to get in and out.

We came to the end of Pellicer Creek and had lunch. We kept alert so we wouldn’t become lunch for some alligator!
We came to the end of Pellicer Creek and had lunch. We kept alert so we wouldn’t become lunch for some alligator!

The highlight of our stay was our canoe trip down the Pellicer Creek with it’s abundant bird life, tropical palm trees and even an industrious raccoon! The creek eventually got too narrow so we stopped and had lunch there: we stayed in our canoe while we ate keeping one eye open for alligators. Note: Sadie stayed in the trailer.

This curious otter popped his head up to see what we were up to.
This curious otter popped his head up to see what we were up to.
There are lots of Osprey in Florida. They soar high in the air looking for fish, then swoop down and catch tem with their feet and carry them away!
There are lots of Osprey in Florida. They soar high in the air looking for fish, then swoop down and catch tem with their feet and carry them away!
Blue Herons migrate from Ontario to Florida. Maybe we saw this exact guy from back in Canada!
Blue Herons migrate from Ontario to Florida. Maybe we saw this exact guy from back in Canada!

We enjoyed two days touring nearby St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States! It was founded in 1565 by the Spanish. We toured the old fort and spent the rest of the day and evening walking around the town. We even watched Rogue One, the latest Star Wars movie in 3-D one evening!

Beautiful courtyard in the Flager Museum. That’s a real snowy egret in the pond! We watched him circle as he flew out of the courtyard. A word about Henry Flagler: He was responsible for building the railroad from St. Augustine to Biscayne Bay, which was the catalyst of the growth in south Florida.
Beautiful courtyard in the Flager Museum. That’s a real snowy egret in the pond! We watched him circle as he flew out of the courtyard. A word about Henry Flagler: He was responsible for building the railroad from St. Augustine to Biscayne Bay, which was the catalyst of the growth in south Florida.
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Margot atop the Castillo San Marcos fortress established by the Spanish in 1695 to protect the city of St. Augustine. Now that’s old!
A view of the inside of Castillo San Marcos. People didn't live here permanently although it could provide temporary protection for the St. Augustine residence in case of a siege.
A view of the inside of Castillo San Marcos. People didn’t live here permanently although it could provide temporary protection for the St. Augustine residence in case of a siege.

We bought a bag of oranges from a store who called themselves the Florida Citrus Center and we squeezed delicious orange juice by hand everyday!

We walked along a beach in St. Augustine
Walking along a fogged in beach in St. Augustine

Sebastian Inlet State Park

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We had a love-hate relationship with Sebastian Inlet. We loved the beach, the ocean view from the piers, the concentration of wildlife and even the water view of the inlet from our site. But we also learned firsthand about Florida insects!

Our water-view campsite at Sebasian Inlet
Our water-view campsite at Sebastian Inlet SP

Our site was the 2nd row in, elevated so we could clearly see the water of the inlet. After our initial setup, we took a walk around the boat launch area and saw a green sea turtle and a porpoise with our naked eyes! Again, the birds were everywhere and they were unafraid of people, so you could walk right by them, within a couple of feet! In fact they would hang around the people fishing hoping for a free meal.

There are so many birds at Sebastian Inlet! These egrets are arguing about who should be king of the castle. The one on the left won the argument in case you were wondering.
There are so many birds at Sebastian Inlet! These egrets are arguing about who should be king of the castle. The one on the left won the argument in case you were wondering.

The temperatures climbed to about 29 C (85 F) which brought out the bugs. We couldn’t sit outside the trailer for any length of time without being attacked by biting no-see-ums (smaller than the black flies we get in Ontario; I think they’re also called midge flies). Anyone who has camped knows dusk is the worst time for bugs and the same was true here. To cool our trailer down, we kept our windows open (we have screens) and our Fantastic Fan (roof mounted exhaust fan) on. The ceiling was speckled with black moving dots. We have years of experience at killing bugs inside the trailer, but it seemed no matter how many we took care of, the number of bugs didn’t seem to wane! We found out that the little @*&^s, I mean no-see-ums, could easily climb right through our screens! Not only that, we noticed Sadie’s food bowl which we keep inside the trailer under our table, was covered with a swarm of ants! We also found them on the kitchen counter and sink area and discovered they were coming in through the door!

This egret caught a fish at the jetty by the beach
This egret caught a fish at the jetty by the beach

We immediately went on the defense with our bug problems by turning off almost all the lights at night, using only our “warm white” lights, and changed the direction of the Fantastic Fan to draw air in to pressurize the trailer and blow the air out through the screens. These actions helped tremendously with the little @&^s, I mean no-see-ums. For the ants, we put bug repellant around the door and this worked for a few hours. By now though, we were covered in little insect bites, itchy as a dog with fleas, our Gold Bond anti-itch cream was almost finished, and we were mad.

Margot on top of the roof: Estute readers may wonder why we wouldn’t just close the windows and use the air conditioning since we had shore power (ie. Electricity hookup). It turned out our air conditioner which we had used maybe a dozen times no longer worked! Margot climbed on the roof to troubleshoot the problem. We confirmed the thermostat and compressor were working so the most likely cause was a refrigerant leak somewhere.
Margot on top of the roof: Astute readers may wonder why we wouldn’t just close the windows and use the air conditioning since we had shore power (ie. electricity hookup). It turned out our air conditioner which we had used maybe a dozen times no longer worked! Margot climbed on the roof to troubleshoot the problem. We confirmed the thermostat and compressor were working so the most likely cause was a refrigerant leak somewhere.

Phase 2 of bug defense involved going into town, buy no-see-um proof screening, and replace all our screens. We bought a box fan and aimed it out the screen door. This took a whole day (Christmas Eve as it turned out) but it worked! We beat the little @*&^s, I mean no-see-ums! We continued with the bug repellant around the door and raising the rear jacks to interrupt their path and added washing the dishes immediately after meals and that continued to be successful with the ants.

Our 3rd phase of bug defense was the most effective and resulted in ZERO additional bug bites: we left Sebastian Inlet for our next stop, Summer Crush Winery!

We enjoyed Christmas at beautiful Sebastian Inlet. James even made his own turkey, stuffing, and homemade cranberry sauce for Christmas dinner!
We enjoyed Christmas at beautiful Sebastian Inlet. James even made his own turkey, stuffing, and homemade cranberry sauce for Christmas dinner!

 

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