Friday, February 10, 2012

Time At The Savannas, the Navy SEAL Museum and Vero Beach

The Savannas Recreation Area is 550 acres of wetlands along the Indian River Lagoon in St. Lucie County, Florida.  Savannas protects and preserves a habitat for several endangered species animals and could be the last most unique and pristine wilderness area in the United States. We're camping here in Savannas Recreation Area's Campground.
Entry from Midway Road, Ft. Pierce
We drove from LaBelle through the Lake Okeechobee area where we saw lots of campgrounds along the north shore.
One of the many campgrounds we saw passing through Okeechobee County.

Our site is on one of the canals of the Indian River Lagoon which is a huge saltwater estuary. I haven't seen an alligator yet but I'm absolutely sure they are here and we're extra careful to protect Lexie and Ozzie on their walks. 
The canal and marsh of the lagoon is less than 20 feet from the rear of the coach.

Looking up the canal to the north behind our coach.
We also have an owl who frequents the group of trees just in front of us. We can hear his screech in the night. Our 5 a.m. walks are particularly worrisome knowing that old owl could swoop down and snatch one of our babies. It's still dark when we take our morning walk. We carry our big walking stick and stay close together.
Looking to the south behind our coach.
Along with the American alligators in The Savannas there are sandhill cranes (we have a regular pair here), great blue herons, hawks, osprey, gopher tortoises, bobcats and river otters.  Area activities include an abundance of fishing and bird watching. There are several nature trails here along with canoe and kayak rentals.

We took a drive north up US 1 to Ft Pierce and ran upon a pleasant surprise.  We happened upon the Navy SEAL Underwater Demolition Team Museum which, surprisingly to us, is the birthplace of the Navy's Frogman program. 
We never knew any of this!
It was early in the day when we arrived. So early, in fact, that the museum was not open. We enjoyed walking around the grounds displays. Here's some of what we saw.
It's just after 9 a.m. when we're there.
The dogs got us up this morning at 4:45 so it's late to us.


UH-1B Helicopter -- The Huey, nicknamed the "Seawolves" saw extensive use in Vietnam.
 They provided rapid insertion and extraction of personnel as well as rapid fire power.
Stationed in the Mekong Delta these heavily armed gun ships and their four man crews were always on call for SEALS.

Underwater Delivery Vehicle.
Not for me!

The Patrol River Boat (PBR) was used extensively on the shallow rivers in Vietnam. They typically patrolled in pairs and served to insert and extract personnel. It could operate in as little as 9 inches of water.

The SEAL Wall of Honor and Memorial Fountain.
That's a Frogman statue on top -- Flippers up.

This Special Operations Craft (SOC-6) was the 6th of 40 made and used in Operation Desert Storm. 
It easily reaches 100 knots and cruises at 40 knots fully loaded.
"Fully loaded" is a crew of 3, 9 passengers, thousands of rounds of ammunition, two 50 Caliber machine guns,
a grenade launcher and a mini gun.  I'm impressed!

Inlaid bricks border the sidewalks at the museum.
The center one here gives a good indication of just how difficult it is to successfully complete SEAL training.

This Apollo Space Capsule was a training module for the Underwater Demolition and Recovery Teams.
Gemini and Apollo astronauts were always safely transported from the capsule after splashdown,
 to the hovering helicopter by SEALS.
This is an Iranian gun boat, made in Sweden and armed with Russian weapons. It is one of two sunk in Operation Earnest Will in the Gulf War.  One of the sunken boats was recovered from 100 feet of water and the other was captured adrift.
They served in SEAL training before being sent to the museum.

The museum building was being painted so the name on the building is obscured -- and there's a painter on top of it.
Our next stop was to bury our feet in the dirty, coarse sands of the Atlantic, which we both love. The SEAL Museum is very near the beach so we took a short walk over.
Lexie and Ozzie had to stay in the car.

A nice new walkway through the sea grape leads to the beach.

A rare photo of me, the official blogger and photographer.

The day is overcast and windy.

From Ft Pierce we continued to ride north until we reached Vero Beach which turned out to be a beautifully quaint area.  This is one of the few Florida cities we've never visited.
One of the many parking, shopping, eating, boardwalk and beach areas.
Like many cities with painted statues (bulls, pigs, cows, guitars, etc.)
we've seen in our travel, Vero Beach has turtles, I guess.

Nice boardwalk and beach area.

Unmanned lifeguard tower.

Every time I see this sign, I think of my old Jimmy Buffet album by the same name.
We stopped by Pizza Hut for a calorie, fat and cholesterol-filled buffet next, then a stop at WalMart to walk it all off before we came home.


  1. Stumbled upon your website and have thoroughly enjoyed reading of your travelers. Have a few more years to retire and want to do same. Keep up the interesting articles and the photos.

    Envious desk locked wannabe motorhome traveler

  2. I've enjoyed your blog, especially with the Louisiana pictures (where I'm from) and now am displaced living on the sw coast of Fla. Thought you might be interested in reading about the "World's Oldest Living Navy Seal" (at the time it was written. Mr. Lumsden passed away Feb. 20, 2012.

    I manage this website for Don Moore.

    You two are doing what I would love to do one day.