Goodness, how time flies. Seems like just last week we returned from our 2017 Messages of Hope Summer Tour. Now it's only three weeks until we get underway for our 2018 voyage. Since I'm working on trip planning and taxes this week, I'll make this post short. Well, I promise to try...
The weather here in Florida has been very warm, so we got our kayaks out and visited a new stream, the Chassahowitza River. It is a beautiful river, but make sure you visit mid-week. Weekends are likely to be insane with hundreds of visitors in power boats, kayaks and canoes.
This blue hole marks the outlet of a fresh water spring that delivers 72F water out of the underlying limestone, which is cut with underground channels and caverns like a block of Swiss cheese...
This photo shows My Lovely Bride (MLB) in her red fiberglass kayak, watching some locals patrol the waterfront...
This raccoon (Procyon lotor) family is out looking for lunch... there were four of them, but hard to catch in the same frame. We were only 15 feet away, and they must have been used to humans, because they didn't appear at all frightened of us.
As we finished up our paddling adventure, Suzanne had a Close Encounter of the Manatee Kind... there were several Florida manatees (Tritrechus manatus latirostrus) grazing on sea grasses near the kayak takeout.
This manatee decided to scratch his (her?) back on Suzanne's kayak. These docile mammals can live to 60 years of age.
A manatee mom was nursing her calf right alongside or kayaks... it was a tender moment, to be sure.
Manatees also nibble on marine algae that adheres to boat hulls, which cuts down the hull cleaning that we had to do after our paddle!
Back at home, Suzanne gave a talk to The Villages Energy Meditation Group, and had a standing room only crowd at Miona Rec Center.
We made a fun trip "off campus" to St. Petersburg to visit our great friends Anthony and Annette Baker aboard their recently acquired 1996 Kadey Krogen 42 trawler. A2 (their nickname) were previously sailors, having cruised their 1990 Morgan 42 sloop Magnolia up and down the East Coast and to the Bahamas for several years.
Then they sold their sailboat and "went to the dark side", and are now on a "stinkpot" - actually a beautiful power boat that they are restoring to perfect Bristol condition. We envy them their new ship and their lifestyle...
At home in The Villages, we often meet people with "interesting" pasts. This car's license plate caught my eye - one wonders whether the owner was a Russian spy or is named Kim or Kacey...
This time of year it's common to find hundreds of American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) in our ponds. They actually form lines (here we see a pelican phalanx) and herd small fish into the shallows where they are easy prey. In the summer, these beautiful birds can be found as far north as Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada.
Recently, Suzanne's radio show, aired every Thursday afternoon and archived for those who miss it live (see https://www.suzannegiesemann.com/radioshow/) featured a discussion of finding the silver linings after a loved one's passing. When the show ended, we went outside to see this brilliantly illuminated cloud formation, and couldn't miss the significance of the timing. And speaking of good timing, Suzanne is taking advantage of having a special guest in town, medium Mavis Pittilla, to interview in person in this week's radio show episode ...
Over the past week we have been fortunate to have Suzanne's friend and colleague, Mavis Pittilla, and her partner Jean Else, visiting from Manchester, UK, to teach Mavis's popular mediumship class. As part of their Florida indoctrination, we took them to Gator Joe's, a lakeside restaurant (okay, a "dive") on Lake Weir.
The sunset view was stunning, but this seemingly serene photo belies the reality of the noise and music inside the restaurant.
We convinced Mavis and Jean that they had to try some gator bites (small pieces of deep-fried alligator tail) and hush puppies. The latter were better received than the former... but Mavis was impressed by the alligator jaws on a side table.
Our good friends Lois and Elaine joined us that evening, and have also been showing Mavis and Jean around the area. All the gals walked onto the beach for a photo op with this big gator (I assured them he was concrete, and everyone made it to the cars with all limbs intact...)
Finally, I have to thank our dear friend Irene Vouvalides, who was made famous in Suzanne's latest book, Still Right Here, for her daily cleaning of the boat decks by using her feet wrapped in washcloths. (Yes, Irene also does this at home, and has the cleanest floors in Hilton Head, SC!) We were having dinner guests over one night, and My Lovely Bride was getting her nails done and visiting Her Lovely Mom Ruthie, so I decided to scrub the floors. I took a note from Irene's playbook, and scrubbed and dried the floors using my feet! Spectacular results, and far less strain on my back than using the scrub brushes that MLB left for me to use. Whoops... I was just kidding... Smack!!!!