At 4 AM, we are awakened by the sound of thunder and steady rain pelting the deck of Cutter Loose. This change in weather contributes to a lazy start to the day aboard Cutter Loose. By mid-morning, the precipitation has passed. The residual cloud cover and cooler temperatures are a refreshing change to two weeks of perfect weather. The debt that we owe to the weather gods has been repaid for now, hopefully setting the stage for another fortnight of warm and sunny days.
We dinghy ashore to the park amphitheater to listen to the Park Ranger’s explanation of on the history of Cayo Costa. The first residents here were the Calusa Indians, as evidenced by two pre-Columbian mounds in the southern area of the island that have been the subject of archeological preservation. Some 10,000 years ago, as many as 1500 Native Americans lived on this Island. In the early 1800s, Cubans established fishing camps on the Island. Since 1976, 95% of the island has been operated as a State Park. One of the primary goals of the State is to preserve the ecological makeup of Cayo Costa, which involves the removal of non-indigenous vegetation.
We return to the island in late afternoon for an impromptu gathering of Island Packet owners on the state park docks. Our intrepid group of four buddy boats has expanded. In addition to the IP 420 Flatlander, today we are joined by the crew of Optimystique whom we last saw in North Myrtle Beach on November 9th.