By Travis McArthur, Brevard Center Residential Coordinator
In October the students at the Brevard Center had the opportunity to cruise down the Banana River in Melbourne, Florida. Five students and staff took a twenty-three foot pontoon boat out for an exciting day. We started our journey at Hayley’s Jet Ski and Boat Rental located just over the Eau Gallie Causeway in Melbourne.
It was a gorgeous day to go cruising on the river and everyone was relaxed as they checked out the beautiful scenery. We passed under both the Eau Gallie Causeway and the Melbourne Causeway and kept right on going. The students were having a great time and even brought along snacks to pass around and music to listen to.
As we motored along, we encountered various wildlife including hawks, fish, and pods of dolphins. The dolphin encounter was especially memorable. We saw baby dolphins swimming closely beside their mothers and pods of about five cruising in our wake. We got very close to them and turned the motor off just to watch them as they swam around the boat. They created big wakes as they sped through the water to hunt for fish.
Each student got a turn to drive the boat and everyone gained experience from it. The students had a great time chatting with each other and getting to know each other better. We took the time to stop again to enjoy the sun and Ben seized the opportunity to jump in and swim around. He was the only one brave enough to get into the water. Everyone else was scared of sharks. While stopped, we also saw a plane that was skywriting all along the shore of the river. An air show happened to be going on north of us in Cocoa Beach.
Further down the river, we spotted islands and decided to stop and check them out. The students talked to some people who were camped out there and learned that they come to the small island with their families to cook out and enjoy the water. The island was not that big and the students enjoyed exploring it. We found shells of various sizes as we walked barefoot on the sand. The participating students recommended this activity to all the other students who passed on going and got everyone else interested. It was a very memorable experience and they can’t wait to do it again.
[flickr album=72157622690546696 num=20 size=Thumbnail]