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Horizons of Enjoyment
Written By: OC Fotoguy
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Horizons of Enjoyment
Horizons of Enjoyment
Horizons of Enjoyment
Horizons of Enjoyment
Horizons of Enjoyment
Horizons of Enjoyment
   
    My le’id back excursion to Key’s Land, where excessive moderation, a saying on the Green Parrot Bar’s wall, is a lifestyle, has come to an end for my Adventure XV. The Keys are full of excessive craziness in many dimensions with different horizons of enjoyment. Everyone says good morning and is smiling and there has to be more people there in Santa Suits than anywhere in the world. These are happy care free people. Why not with all that half-priced shrimp to eat at Alonzo’s at HH, oyster races at Pepe’s at 5pm on Monday & Friday, Sound Check at the Green Parrot at HH on Friday and Sunday, the Hog Fish Grill’s scrumptious $5 seafood menu and $1.38 PBR 16 oz. drafts @ HH.
    It was 80 degrees every day in December and January, and for more than a month, I was lucky enough to be there. I wore shorts, T shirt, and sandals every day, except for the first two, and then I still wore sandals with my jeans and sweat shirt.No snow there!  I’m sitting here in a world that has alligators, panthers, bears, rattle snakes, and pythons savoring my Keys memories as I feast on fresh sweet corn, tomatoes I picked at a “you pick farm” and amber jack fish. I’ve never seen a python. I have seen rattle snakes and water moccasins here, though. I’m sure pythons are here, though. Now, the US Park Service has “deputized” 1,100 snake hunters to eradicate them. I’ve seen some of these characters and they all could be Bubba Gump’s relation. Hopefully they don’t lean on that JD bottle too hard. I’d hate to get shot because they thought I was a snake.
    Today probably will be the coldest day of the eight that I’ll be 25 miles deep in America’s Jungle, Big Cypress (www.nps.gov/bicy/), which is on the Naples side of Florida and right next to the EverGlades. I spent the last two days trying to catch some blue crabs in HalfWay Creek near EverGlades City; last year I caught a half dozen 6+”ers.  No bait was needed, just a net, and I snagged the crab when it swam by. This year I only saw three on the three times I tried. Each time they easily out-maneuvered me in my kayak. The last time I even used bait to lure them out of hiding if they were there. No luck, though. But I sure enjoyed paddling around in the sunshine and warmth in January.  After I couldn’t catch any I found a commercial crabber who sells crabs, but he didn’t have any either. I’ll try again next year.
    I mentioned horizons earlier; I sure broadened my kayaking horizon in Key West, when I circumnavigated the island. I didn’t know how long it would take, where I could beach the kayak for a break or lock it up overnight, how rough the water would be off the southwestern end where the Ocean meets the Gulf (I call it Florida Bay, but the locals say Gulf) or how I’d negotiate the military areas, or if it could be done.  
    Oh yes, this is Key West, where everything not secured will disappear.  Someone made off with my walking stick and I’d been displaying a Maryland Flag, but it vanished one day!  There are so many low-life/homeless people that the County gives a place to sleep, the charities and churches feed, and the fuzniks chase them away from the tourist areas and around all day.
    I found plenty of places to come ashore, lots of little beaches. I could’ve gotten into the State Park and enjoyed their beach and facilities for free, and at the Stock Island end there are several islands and a canal that goes into the Salt Ponds.  Stock Island, like Key West, has the Ocean on one side and the Gulf on the other.  There are lots of inlets. The last leg was the iffiest. I had decided not to go out in the kayak, because of the twenty-five mile an hour winds, but then decided I could go with the wind, because it would push me in the direction I wanted to go. That was a little nutty, because I knew I’d have to deal with the wind sooner or later, at least at the end when I’d have to cross it to get to land, could not paddle into it, be riding three foot swells, would also have to deal with boats and ships and their wakes. I also knew the wind would put me in reverse no matter how hard I paddled, if I headed into it. I crossed it by kind of tacking, 45 percent  into it, and then 45 percent with the wind and pulled out at Simonton Street Beach. I made it. It was a safe risk, though, because I was right amongst military bases, vessels, and they patrol, and would see me if I got into trouble.
    I started at the Florida Keys Community College and went out around all the military facilities on Fleming Key, an island just north of Key West. I found out later my route was about five miles and I could’ve had access under a bridge that would’ve made it much shorter, but I didn’t know if the water would be restricted by the military or not, and if it was I could not turn around into the wind to comply. I got a unique waterside perspective of the Southern Most Point Monument in the USA, where the tourists stand in line to have their photo taken, the Ocean front resorts and homes and Higg’s & Smather’s Beach are and more.
    The beaches on islands on the Gulf side are mostly uninhabited and there are lots of unusual marine creatures on the bottom. Some are plants, some animals, and some with characteristics of both, similar to a Venus Fly Trap. It’ll take much longer next time, because I want to check all that stuff out, do some snorkeling, and beach comb where the beaches are deserted. This time was one of search and discover missions and I didn’t want to tire out before the wind became challenging at the end. I always leave something for next time!
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy
more photos @ picasaweb.google.com/o.c.fotoguy2009
& facebook.com/OCfotoguy
PHOTOSAsYouWantThem.biz, articles @ Coconuttimes.com

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