The House of Refuge

After spending a few days in Stuart, we left and anchored inside of the barrier island near Bathtub Reef. The current and wind was strong, but our anchor held.

The first day we took the dinghy to the neighboring sandbar and joined in the festivities. There were many boats sitting on the sandbar and walking, swimming, and playing ball. We swam around and enjoyed the warm blue water.

The next day we took the dinghy to the House of Refuge and Bathtub Beach.

The House of Refuge at Gilbert’s Bar

The House of Refuge was established as safe havens for shipwreck sailors along the East Coast of Florida. This particular House of Refuge was established in 1876 and eventually became U.S. Coast Guard post #207 when the U.S. Life-Saving Service merged with the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service in 1915 Later, the House of Refuge played a role in WWII. It is now the only surviving House of Refuge. The House is located off the Gilbert’s Sandbar which was named after the Pirate Pedro Gilbert who raided merchant ships in the area.

In Fort Myers, we had joined the Edison Ford Estate, which also had reciprocal benefits at other museums, including the House of Refuge. The tour was great. Our tour guide spent a lot of time explaining the history and significance of the place. We went through two buildings and learned how the facility operated throughout history. We even saw the remains of a two-headed turtle.

After the tour, we explored the coastline, which is unique with its limestone formations. As it was low tide, we enjoyed climbing the rocks. We went back the next day during high tide and watched the waves crash against the rocks.

Bathtub Beach

On the way back from the House of Refuge, we went to Bathtub Beach. It’s best to visit this area during low tide as little tidepools are visible. The beach is special due to its reef system, which is created by tiny tube-building Sabellarrid sea worms. The worms create a network of tube dwellings that build up over time and create the reef system.

After viewing the sights, we jumped back into the dinghy to return to the boat; however, this proved to be more challenging than expected. As it was low tide, we were surrounded by sandbars. We had to move slowly and carefully to get around them, even over them. There was one point where we had to walk the dinghy across the bar and finally into the channel.

One thought on “The House of Refuge

  1. Ken January 24, 2023 / 10:26 pm

    Great reporting. Keep it up. Love it

    Liked by 1 person

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