Manatee Pocket: a new spot

Saturday we tossed off the mooring lines and jumped back on the ICW headed toward a nifty protected basin named Manatee Pocket in Port Salerno.  The appropriate name could be more along the lines of SportFish Haven. Tom and Chris on Polar Pacer told us of the spot, about ½ mile off the waterway just north of the St Lucie inlet. They were anchored when we arrived. On the way we turned our eyes north at 10:02 a.m. to catch the Mars Rover shooting across the sky.

The spot is nearly perfect as long your boat doesn’t draw more than 5 ft. The channels which lead in from the ICW are plenty deep but the two anchoring areas are what keep most away and those who fit are happy with the lack of competition. A short walk in took us to Green Apple Produce, an ethnic market with all kinds of fruit and veggies, including long stalks of sugar cane. Across the street we found a well stocked seafood market and with that completed our shopping; happily in lieu of contributing to Winn Dixie.  Please don’t cringe when I say we ate grilled Dolphin for dinner; it was the fish not the mammal. Mild and reminiscent of Grouper in texture, Russ gave it a thumbs up while I was more non-committal.

Colorful shops at Finz, Port Salerno

Funky FL style at Shrimpers

The waterfront, as you might expect, was filled with restaurants, outdoor patio and tiki bars as well as a few shops where looking is all you can afford. Sunday night we enjoyed a yummy shrimp dinner special at Shrimpers, with protected outdoor dining. Russ was happy that our table was in view of the dinghy. Before dinner we gathered with two other boats aboard Polar Pacer. I love these get-togethers; often spontaneous and a chance to meet and make new friends. This one went down thus: we’d planned to go to dinner by 5:30. At 4 Tom calls on the VHF to say they’d invited Sail Away and Unabated for happy hour and would we like to join?  You bet.

We met Christine and Ken of Sail Away. Christine, with a lovely French Canadian accent described Ken as “the Captain of the ship, not of my heart.” She is crew and hopes one day to own her own boat. First, she wants to learn how things work and see if the lifestyle is a good as she imagines. Way to go girl. Shortly past 5 o’clock we saw an awful sight; an osprey on top of our mast, perched on the Garmin wind indicator. Visions of summer ’10 when we lost our Davis wind instruments to a determined cormorant spurred us into action as we bid a hasty farewell and zoomed the 120 ft to dislodge “Mr. looking for dinner” from his lofty perch. I guess our tall mast offered a great water view as the osprey returned several times until finally as sunset loomed he stopped and allowed us to go eat.

Monday morning all of us except Sail Away planned to head off. We and Unabated to Lake Worthless near the inlet while Polar Pacer would stop at Peck Lake and Hobe Sound for a couple days before they too would end up in the north end of Lake Worth. We hadn’t been awake more than a few minutes when we heard a sound Russ described as “a comb falling off the shelf”. If only. Any guesses? How about the Garmin wind indicator; plastic and a foot long- you’d be right if you guessed that item. It didn’t look broken, so now we only had to get it back on. Lucky for Russ we knew that Tom was a mast climber. Up he went, easy as pie and pushed that silly thing back into place.  Crisis averted.  Wrong. Five minutes after Tom was back on Polar Pacer, the darn thing fell again. Big groan. Plan B is to order another- wait, make that two- ship to Marathon and we’ll find some other kind soul to install it.

UP THE MAST ... WITH A WIND PADDLE

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