Neither one of us thought that we would like Florida very much. It brings up images of grumpy old pensioners and wild spring breakers.

Time to splurge on a penthouse condo anyway, just for somewhere different to go. Take a break from our road trip and hang out for a few weeks. Well, so much for preconcieved notions. We love it here.

We spend most of the time sitting on our balcony that overlooks Madiera Beach and the Gulf of Mexico.

People frolic in the sand below while birds fly past us up here in the fresh air.

Why leave the balcony before sunset?

Florida stone crabs are in season until May. They come close to shore once a year and that is when crabbers clip off their one big claw.

Then they go back out for a year or so and grow another claw, before returning for their yearly “manicure” if you will. We walk across the street and purchase them at a fresh seafood market. Tastes as sweet as lobster.

These crabs earn their name by having a shell as hard as stone. Good thing I brought my axe! Several bloody fingers later, we learn that they will crack the shells for you gratis at the market. Yes, much easier.

Endless beach walks await us daily. The firm sand makes walking in tennis shoes a breeze.

We pass fishermen on the beach, often accompanied by opportunistic sea birds waiting for a throw away.

An electric bicycle rig grabs my attention. “I just had a monster on.” the fisherman says. “Almost pulled my bike in the water. Bit clean through my steel leader.” He figured it was a lemon shark, which is what he fishes for. Takes one home about every six weeks and cuts it into steaks for great eating.

Marilynn joins yoga on the beach, working off the stress of the day, such as what kind of fresh seafood should we cook for dinner. Or is it too early for a beer?

Time to pull ourselves away from the balcony and beach. “This ain’t your grandpa’s pontoon,” our friend Dana says. We hitch it up to my truck and pull it to a marina.

This “Black Ops” saltwater edition 150hp boat has a third pontoon down the middle for “planing” at speeds of up to forty miles per hour. It could also handle a more powerful outboard for faster speeds if needed.

Dana navigates the Inner Coastal Waterway, which extends all the way up to Canada. He can also ride his niece to school and back, shop for groceries, and frequent restaurants and bars all from the boat. Very cool.

Dolphins play around us when this boat stops on a dime. Click below for a brief show.

Time to get back onto land for more crabs. We have been eating so much seafood that we may start to grow gills.

Early one morning, we were watching the SpaceX Dragon launch on television. Stepped out onto our back porch on a whim, and the sight of it lighting up the sky blew our minds.

A few nights later, we enjoy the Super Pink Moon over the gulf.

Our stay is coming to an end. We do not want to leave. Even considered relocating here, but still are not sure what we want to do when we grow up.

People here are welcoming and friendly. Our penthouse neighbor showed us his corner unit, which has views of both the Gulf and the ICW. The only downside being the “Snack Shack” down below that hosts live bands all day and much of the night. “To live here you’d better like the song ‘Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog’  a lot,” he says. “Because every band includes it in their set.”

What an enjoyable and healing several weeks! We almost forgot that we are still emerging from a pandemic, until reminded by mandatory masks in all stores and restaurants. We shall no doubt consider splurging around here again.

Thank you, Abundant Universe.