Coconut Times - Ocean City Maryland
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Written By: O.C.fotoguy
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    I’m ready for what Mother Nature has to show me and it’s nearing prime time; that’s low tide. I’m in no hurry and I paddle out a ways and pop the top of my first ACB and sit there bobbing in the swells, and watch a couple other vessels and yachts go by for a while.  It’s a lull between the Christmas and New Year Holidays in Key West, so there’re few boats. It’s gorgeous with three cruise ships in the distance. As I enjoy my cold one, my unconscious part of my brain is talking to me.  Something is wrong. I say, you’re imagining things! I’m going to see all those bottom critters that I know are visible at low tide and fish, but steer clear of the man o war jelly fish. Their venom can trigger an allergic reaction and anaphylactic shock.
    Well, if I’m going to get to where I can see that stuff I got to do some paddling, so let’s go - and I start paddling. The brain again sounds an alarm. All B.S. and I keep paddling! Then the conscious part of the brain kicks in and says it feels like a weight is shifting from side to side in the kayak.  Well, I’ve been there before. I know if the kayak has a hole in it and taking on water that’s what it feels like, so I look for the closest land and paddle there. I beach it, grab a hold of it and pull it up on the sand.  It weighs a “ton.” I watch the water run from the back end of the kayak. No doubt I got a hole.  Umh…. What do I have along to patch it with? I know I have a first aid kit and other emergency stuff in the dry bag, plus there’s some electrical tape in the dry box I put my wallet in.
    I go for a beach combing walk while it drains with another ACB. As I was paddling to here, I saw a weird looking guy, who looked like the old man from the sea, lurking on the beach at the end of the island and peering out of underbrush. I really don’t want to deal with him. I don’t need to add to my problem, but I need to evaluate my situation and this was the closest place. As I start my walk I see his camp site back in the bushes. He is sitting in a hammock and doesn’t seem concerned with me; good! I don’t see anything of interest on the beach and I go back to examine what was in my emergency bag.  There is some duct tape in addition to the electrical tape. The water has stopped trickling out so I turn the kayak bottom side up. There are two small holes. I put several strips of electrical tape over them, wait, and the breeze peels that damned stuff right off. Worthless! I hate stuff that doesn’t work! I get the duct tape and put two strips over the electrical tape covering the area where the holes are. I wait a while to see how it will act and the duct tape holds. I turn the kayak back over, push it back in the water and never miss a stroke as I head back to where I came from.  When I got here and beached the kayak, I check the duct tape. It’s still holding. I drag the kayak to a spot I can lock it up, pull the tape off and let the water drain again.
    The next day I got some marine epoxy and liberally dribbled it the length of the section where the holes were. I think over the years of wear it just wore too thin. I was so tempted to smooth the epoxy surface, but I resisted. I made myself wait to let it seek and flow into and fill the holes on its own filling in the other nicks and scrapes, too. The next morning it was hard. It worked!!! That’s the way I like things; just do what it’s supposed to do. I let the epoxy dry.
    I missed a good kayaking day and the low tide that was mid afternoon, when I usually kayak, but such is life. I cooled it, sipped ACBs, listened to Kevin Poole play at the Conch Republic, then John LaMere at Willie Ts. Before some of Key West’s best music I went to Finnegan’s Wake, where I knew Lamb Stew was one of their monthly specials and I eat there several times while I’m here. What I didn’t know was how big the portion would be. I knew it would be good from all the delicious meals I’ve had there over the years, though.  After waiting a while, the bar tender brought what was the size of an apple pie! This was enough to feed a family of four easily! Of course it was straight out of the oven. I punctured the crust, steam arose, so I peeled back the flaky light dough top, so it would cool and I could get to it. The aroma was luscious and it looked to be 98 percent lamb. I stacked some chunks on top of the dough. As soon as they cooled I got to taste the succulent rich meaty essence and savor it. Wow! Eighty degrees in the winter, scrumptious food, fabulous kayaking, tremendous live music (none dead!); that’s paradise to me!
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