We started our week on January 18 at Monica and Frank’s home. Pierre was helping Frank do some repairs on their sailboat, while I stayed at home with Monica and Jasmine. I updated the website and did some administrative tasks. I had the chance to observe several hermit crabs. Monica and I even saw three hermit crabs fighting over houses (shells). It was very interesting to see. Monica and Frank do a lot to make their environment pleasant, accessible and safe for animals. They are part of a volunteer organization that protects wildlife named “National Wildlife Federation”. They have to provide food, water, cover and places to raise young. Their property is a little paradise.
Monday afternoon, we went with Frank and Monica to Bahia Honda where we had the chance to see our first manatee. Then in the early evening we gave a presentation to a group of paddlers from Paddle Florida (www.paddleflorida.org). It was a great experience. We had the chance to do an outdoor presentation. A big thank you to Paddle Florida for the opportunity and to Bill (from Paddle Florida). A big thank you to Frank and Monica who accompanied us and drove us to Bahia Honda. It is Monica who made this event happen by getting in touch with Bill from Paddle Florida.
Tuesday, we returned to the campground in Key Largo (Key Largo Kampground) and left our friends Frank and Monica. Jasmine was over excited by the abundant wildlife, and she would not eat anything. In addition, she was far too attracted to Frank & Monica's cats. It seemed natural and the right thing to do to move. Jasmine was able to eat again and all the animal got their serene and pleasant environment back. Poor cats! They were really scared by Jasmine. :( We would like to thank Frank and Monica again for their hospitality and generosity. They have been great hosts!
Annie and Pierre offered to carry our gear back to the campground. They met us and took our equipment, except a few small items, and Jasmine with them. So we were able to paddle, very easily, back to the campground. We met with Annie and Pierre by the water, they were reading and Jasmine was waiting patiently. Later on, we set up our camp on the same site as Annie and Pierre. It was a very good idea to share the site. We had a lot of fun all week with them. :) We met again with Andrew and Phyllis. We met a very nice couple who are thinking of living their own adventure, Marta and Tomek Paciorek. They gave us food and equipment before leaving the campground to fly home. We had an interesting chat with them. We encourage them to make their dream become a project and then a reality.
Early Thursday morning Andrew drove us to Fort Lauderdale. We had decided to make a short trip to the Bahamas so we could extend our stay 6 more months in the United States. Pierre and Annie offered to keep Jasmine during our trip to the Bahamas. It was a relief to know that we could leave her with them, especially because Jasmine loves them and gets along with Chichi (their little dog). Andrew planned to spend a night in Miami and meet some friends, so he offered to take us to Fort Lauderdale.
We embarked the ferry around 8:00 in the morning and arrived in the Bahamas around 11:00. Our passports were stamped and then we headed for our hotel. We had a good laugh as we boarded a very colourful bus with no windows and playing festive music. On the return trip people were dancing in the bus. In Freeport, where our hotel was, we did not do anything extravagant. We mainly relaxed. The water and sand are beautiful! We will definitely return here one day to enjoy the island and the blue and turquoise water. But next time we plan to be accompanied by Jasmine!
We only stayed one night in the Bahamas. We left the next day (Friday) around 19:00 and arrived around 22:00 into Fort Lauderdale. We went through customs upon our arrival. It went well! We can breathe again! We have our extension! Andrew was waiting for us when we left the terminal. Andrew thank you for the time, the waiting and the transport!!! :)
When we arrived in Key Largo, Jasmine was excited to see us ... even if it was 1:00 am. The next day we had fun with Annie and Pierre, they told us that everything went smoothly with Jasmine. We were so relieved. Since all good things come to an end....Annie and Pierre left the campground on Sunday morning. They will return slowly to Montreal (Quebec, Canada) over the next week. A huge thank you to Annie and Pierre for helping us so much. They played an important role in our lives the past few days. We are grateful to them and we hope to have the chance to meet them again before the end of our adventure.
We have spent a lot of time with Andrew since our return. Maybe he will be paddling with us in the next couple of weeks.
Sunday night, Jamie (FBO) picked us up and introduced us to an extraordinary group of people. A group of veterans who were wounded during their service. Joe from Team River Runner is the instigator of the project and offers kayaking activities to help these wonderful people. We spent a very pleasant evening in their company. We recommend that you go to the organization's website for more information: www.teamriverrunner.org.
Monday and Tuesday we started preparing for the coming months. Spring is coming fast and we have to get ready. We also met with Monica and Frank with whom we had lunch and had a great time. Key Largo definitely gave us the opportunity to meet with a lot of nice interesting people.