We made it through the Okeechobee waterway and out into the Gulf of Mexico. We continue to see cormorants, pelicans, and blue herons every day. We've seen osprey and vultures all along the way but they're much more numerous down here. Iguanas and gators are new for us though! That second picture down on the far right has a gator in it if you look closely.
The waterway felt a lot like ICW we've spent months motoring down from Virginia to Georgia, except with a lot more bugs! Our new friends include a pest I haven't dealt much after living most of my life in dry western climates - cockroaches. They're small and less indestructible compared to the ones I encountered when living in Japan, but they're still very unwelcome. We've got the boat stocked with various traps and I stay armed at all times with a wad of toilet paper to kill any of the ones I see!
We're really looking forward to a few days off around Christmas to visit my grandparents near Sarasota. Then right after we have a whole group of friends flying in for new years on the beach! Having visitors on the boat is by far the most fun part about sailing so far, so we are super excited to host a big group. We plan to use the boat as a ferry to take everyone out to a beach camp site in the Ten Thousand Islands, near Everglades National Park.