Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Great Blue

Great Blue came about because of our trip to the keys in May. We love to camp in our teardrop camper and kayak the local waterways when we travel. We stayed at Curry Hammock State Park Campground in the keys. Our view from the back of the site was the waters of the Gulf Stream. While picturesque, it also had a "ahem" lovely smell from the decaying seaweed washed ashore. The front of our site was near the bath house. The bath house was unique as it had composting toilets and solar power to run the whole operation. It also had a neat device to allow the rangers to lower and lock down the solar panels in case of an impending storm.

One morning, my husband Chris and I decided to launch our kayak in the shallow water and set out for an adventure. We had no idea where we were going, but we hugged the shoreline and I photographed the birds and iguanas along the way. We did not really have any map to indicate which key was which so we just kept turning to the right in hopes of coming back to where we started. We came upon a hamlet and observed a fellow paddler coming out so we decided to investigate. Once in the hammock we were virtually surrounded by mangrove swamps and did not see an exit. Hugging the coast, we finally found a faded sign that pointed into the mangroves. Feeling a sense of adventure, we glided into the cool darkness. I was quite captivated by the beauty of the trees, their fantastic root systems and the play of light filtering through the leaves. The trees seemed to be closing in on us and we wondered if indeed we were going in the right direction. Chris and I were talking about snakes dropping from the heights above when we came heard a hello ahead. There was a couple canoeing in from the other way. We pulled over as far as possible to the other side to let them pass, Chris asking if this was the way out. They said yes and not soon after, the trees parted and we found ourselves going under the bridge that was the entrance to the park. Chris breathed a loud sigh and I asked what was wrong, he explained that in the mangrove he felt quite claustrophobic and was getting eaten alive by mosquitos. Normally, I am the one who does not like tight spaces and fortunately for me, mosquitos don't like the way I taste! We entered a lagoon area that fed back into the main water through a channel where there were several men fishing. Off to the side was the Great Blue Heron, waiting for his next free meal. This bird was almost tame, in that he was standing not 5 feet from the men. Every now and then, one of them would catch a small fish and not throw it back, but towards the Heron. Hence the bird had become quite large, and close to being a pet as it watched carefully every move the men made, hoping beyond hope for the next free ride to it's belly.

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