We left this morning at first light, even before the sun came up over the horizon. The water was calm (Beaufort Scale Level 0) most of the way to our anchorage near Cape Canaveral. We broke our record on how far we traveled in a day and the calm water helped.
We saw increasingly more wildlife as we headed north, including more variety. We saw our first ruddy turnstones, white pelicans, pigeons, and wood storks on the Atlantic side. We saw about 15 dolphins. That was nothing compared to what we would see on the Gulf side of the state, but a lot more than we saw the day before. No dolphins on the Atlantic side have interacted with the boat like they did regularly on the Gulf side. Double-crested cormorants are the most abundant bird and I saw a raft of them. That was the first large grouping of birds on the Atlantic side.
We have crossed numerous manatee areas and have yet to see a single manatee. Acccording to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 1,035 manatees died in 2021 and 760 have died so far this year. With so few remaining, it is not surprising we have not seen any. Very sad.
I have entered familiar territory. I am not familiar with the waterway, but I have been up and down the coast from Cape Canaveral to St. Augustine many times. We are anchored in a perfect spot for a rocket launch, but unfortunately, none are scheduled for tonight. I have seen shuttles take off and land at Cape Canaveral and showed up for a couple launches, only to have them scratched in the last seconds. The Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge is nearby and a favorite place to see birds.
We are in the homestretch now that we can name the towns from here to St. Augustine off the top of our heads.