Monday, December 11, 2006

Jellies and 'Cudas and Sharks, Oh My!

Dorothy never saw so many critters on the yellow brick road as we have seen kayaking the flats and the mangrove creeks here in the middle Keys. We ran across 4 sharks- two nurses and two "sandies"- lots of barracuda, horse shoe crabs, all kinds of jelly fish including a "wash up" on the windward shores of the very beautiful, but dangerous Portuguese Man of War. A good size sting ray surely delivers a thrill when it swooshes under your kayak in about a foot of water in close quarters, especially in light of the recent news where one "jumped" into a boat and stung the guy in the heart. That smarts! There were mangrove snappers and "bait balls" of juvenile fish. The pelicans were hammering them close by much of the day. I spotted two giant sponges, the size that are seldom found in the Keys anymore because of "overfishing" for them. There were hawks and shorebirds and ospreys. All this and with less than cooperating weather. It stayed windy and cloudy most of our stay here at Curry, but I think we would both say that this locale exceeded our expectations in so many ways. It's nice when that happens. The older I get, the more I think I know what to expect around each turn of the bend. Look at the situation. Size it up. Deal with it and move on. But there are always surprises. Just when you think there can't be, there are. And isn't that what makes the day. Pleasant surprises. Downright unpleasant surprises. But on this stay only the former and not the latter, which was the best surprise of all.
We launched on the beach right in front of the coach. We had to "share our space" with the hang gliders (behind the kayaks). It was great watching the kids do their thing when we weren't doing ours. It made for a very colorful day at the beach.

To keep out of the worst of the wind, we paddled the bays and the mangrove creeks.

At the end of our last day at Curry, the wind blew a lot of Portuguese Man-o-Wars onto the beach. They are dangerous. I always worry about kids who play on the beach without knowing what they are as they are often "disguised" as pretty blue and red balloons. NOT!

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