Ducky in Palm Beach

“Again?”….I mused as the big, blue, bus size amphibious vehicle drove by. It seemed every time I was at lunch downtown, the vehicle named Diva Duck would drive by. Not only that, it was always completely full of camera toting tourists.

Curiosity won out and a friend and I finally took the plunge and booked a tour on the Diva Duck. As we waited to board the big blue vehicle, I really wanted to crawl underneath and see how it all worked. Fortunately, our onboard guide gave us a quick overview of the vehicle.

While the name on the side may say Diva Duck, the real name is the Hydra-Terra and sports dimensions of 39’ long, 8’ wide, and 13’ feet high. To keep all of that moving along, it is powered by a 300 hp 7.2L Cat diesel engine, via an Allison heavy-duty transmission, Velvet drive, electronic rudder control, and 100% combined power on land and water for beaching operations. On land it can hit 70mph and on sea 6 knots.

We loaded up, headed out and were treated to a plethora of duck stories and puns. Admittedly, some of them did “quack us up”.

Riding in the open air was fun, but the highlight of the tour began with a right turn onto a boat ramp located on North Flagler drive. As we waited for the boat ramp to clear, a curious crowd of onlookers gathered. Everyone wanted to see this big vehicle make the transition from wheels to water.

Soon, we eased down the boat ramp and within seconds this behemoth of a vehicle was casually floating along. The guide noted that the vessel is said to be unsinkable and for you history buffs, they said the same about the Titanic. Thankfully there aren’t icebergs in the Lakeworth Lagoon.

Interestingly factoid though: the vessel is manufactured with buoyancy foam filled compartments and will remain afloat with all the drain plugs removed and full engine room flooding. Wouldn’t it be fun to be the people who conduct those kinds of tests!!

We floated across to the shores of Palm Beach and heard stories of famous people and their homes. Does the name Marjorie Merriweather Post sound familiar? I’ll give you a hint; cereal. More specifically, Post Cereal.

Speaking of elegant homes on Palm Beach; most all of them have towering hedges that are beautifully groomed and of course provide ultimate privacy. I thought it was just being artistic, but it’s a little more than that. Zoning rules only allow a six foot privacy fence, however, there are no rules on hedge height. I like the hedges better anyway; they add a natural and artistic touch.

As we turned and headed back, the afternoon overcast and light breeze turned to black and windy. Soon, we could see that 30% chance of precipitation heading straight for us. However, I remember the forecast said 30% chance of rain, not 30% chance of monsoon!!

The wind blew and rain came down in buckets; 10 gallon buckets at that!! The nose of the Duck confidently bobbed in the waves as we headed toward land.

The vehicle has open sides for better views so you know what that means when it rains. Yep, we were like ducks in a hurricane. However ducks have oil on their feathers so their body stays dry. We don’t and didn’t!! The cheery crew was more than accommodating with towels and wiped off our seats numerous times. It wasn’t a big deal as most of were laughing and taking pictures of each other totally drenched. It’s only rain…..

As we disembarked, drenched and a bit windblown, I must confess, I felt a little bit ducky. My friend and I laughed about being soaked and said; “We’ll never forget this trip!!” It’s those unexpected oddities that always lead to those great stories that begin with “Remember when…..”

If you’re looking for something unusual that combines a little bit of land, sea and history, then you might enjoy taking a tour. For more information:

Disclaimer: I’m not paid by or affiliated with the company; I just took a fun ride and wrote about it

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