Thursday, September 11, 2014
We pause to remember September 11, 2001.
Morning dawns in Inverness and we are up before it gets light. We have an early tee time this morning so that we can fit in another activity this afternoon. Breakfast is a quick affair of cereal/oatmeal and we are out the door on our way to Skyview Golf and Country Club just up the road in Hernando. Our stay at one of the VanderValk houses includes golf at several local courses for just a cart fee only. Skyview is one of the choices.
It is really foggy this morning and we fear the course will be soupy. The area of Florida where we are is different than coastal Florida. There are actually some hills and pine trees. It is a beautiful area and the entrance to Skyview is lush and inviting. We have arrived just in time for our scheduled tee time and are greeted by one of the members – Paul – who will be paired with us this morning. Paul appears to be a very pleasant fellow and we are happy to be paired up with someone who knows the course.
Just as we figured, the course is wet and there is virtually no roll. However, it is a gorgeous layout and so different from the other courses we have been playing that we don’t mind the damp conditions so much. Paul is a huge help. He directs us as to where we should try to hit our shots and gives us a lot of inside information. Paul also fills us in on the Skyview community in general. There are many very nice homes on the course. He tells us that he moved here 12 years ago from New Hampshire and now lives here in a maintenance-free home that he loves. We touch base with the places that we are familiar with in New Hampshire (Rochester, Sanbornville, Wolfeboro(.
Skyview is known for having the “highest golf hole” in Florida. During spaceship launches the residents gather here ilined up in their carts and can see all the way to Cape Canaveral.
We thoroghly enjoy Paul’s company and his information. At one point we take a break from golf and he shows us around the state of the art fitness center, indoor olympic sized pool and beautiful spa. Hmmm – could we live here?
Rich has an awesome round and posts up a 77. I shoot ok, but not as good as I would have liked (always the case right?)
After our round Paul invites us to join him and his wife (Shirley) in the clubhouse for lunch and we readily accept. Shirley is just as kind as Paul and they are both great storytellers. We all order and enjoy huge Strawberry Salads. We could have sat and chatte3d for nmuch longer, but Rich and I have an appointment this afternoon and have to run. We exchanged emails with Pau and Shirley and hope that we can get together when we are in Florida again.
Our goal for this afternoon is to do Stand Up Paddleboard on Crystal River. We are supposed to meet at Manatee Paddle in Crystal River at 2:00 and need to scoot. If you have followed this blog in the past you know that we have tried this before and had some success. (Read about it HERE and HERE). When I told Rich today that we were scheduled to SUP he balked. Seriously balked. He says maybe he will “take pictures.” We’ll see about that.
We show up at Manatee Paddle in Crystal River and meet Robert, the owner. He tells us to meet him down at the river and he will bring the boards down. We are in now. Down at the river we change into our swimsuits at the pavillion and both of us are remembering how freezing this water was when we snorkeled with the manatees in 2012. We do NOT want to fall off. We are both a bit nervous, but Robert gives us a crash refresher course, tells us he will return in 2 hours and takes off with our car key! No turning back now. So sorry – no pics of this endeavor. We wish we would have had our dry box for our camera, but couldn’t risk it without.
Crystal River is absolutely beautiful. It is so clear that you can see to the bottom in shallow places. Hundreds of manatees come here in the winter to bask in the “warm water.” At this time of year there still are manatees, but perhaps only about 20-30 of them. We will be truly lucky if we see any.
We both start out just a bit shaky on our boards, but very quickly stand up and get comfy. We paddle along the river and check out all the beautiful houses on the river as we make our way to Three Sisters Springs (we snorkeled here before – it is awesome!). At Three sisters the water is a cool 72 year round. There are several other folks there snorkeling, swimming and kayaking. It is an absolutely beautiful cove and has a “zen” quality. We paddle slowly around and even jump in the cold water for a swim. No manatees.
I did manage to fall off once when I was coming out of the springs and rammed straight into a pylon. Rich never fell off his board! The paddle back to our starting point was tough. The wind had picked up and we felt as if we were getting nowhere. It was quite a workout. We both loved the entire experience (even Rich). I would do it again in a flash.
After a stop at Publix Grocery to pick up steaks and potatoes for tonight we finally arrive home.
Earlier today Paul validated our thinking that the chemicals found in the ubiquitous lovebugs in Florida can, indeed, eat through the paint on your car. We have become diligent ab out trying to get rid of them.
Rich stops to take a picture of our “friend” just outside the front door:
Laundry is done and dinner is started. Rich is in charge of the steaks. From the garage I can hear banging and swearing. He cannot figure out the newfangled range. Maybe if he had read the directions:
Dinner gets cooked even with an unruly stove and we enjoy sirloin steaks, zucchini and huge baked potatoes. We have expended so much energy on the boards today that we are both starving!
We had another great, full day in Florida. Tomorrow we get to sleep in a little with a bit later tee time. Hooray!