Sunday, April 12, 2009

Simonton Beach

Simonton Beach was the place to go when a Spring cold front blew through town. Winds were honking out of the north and temperatures were down below 70 degrees (19C). I like to go to this tiny pocket beach at the north end of Simonton Street when the weather turns rough. It's a narrow window on the Key West harbor and you get a taste of nature's fury, though only a tiny taste:It takes a hurricane to get really big visible waves but it was rough out there to a degree and I was glad to be on the beach. Usually there are a bunch of bums - for want of a better word- hanging on the beach but there weren't that many this cool afternoon, including a wannabe band member:And a very busy dog:The beach is also home to anglers, including this one happily dangling bait and catching nothing. He was an Englishman, possibly on vacation having a good time in the breeze:At eleven at night everyone is supposed to go home:People come by car or scooter for a quick look:Some show up by bicycle, others on foot:Some of the visitors come by stroller too; they get an early start on learning to enjoy Key West:And quite a few of the visitors don't show up at all in person; they just like to watch, as it were:Simonton Beach is something of a canyon wedged between tall hotels, the Hyatt to the north......and the Pier House, Key West's original waterfront development to the south:And between them one gets a sliver of a view of the harbor waters, here with Sunset Key in the distance:And here with the military base on Fleming Key jutting up to the north on the right of the picture and a tree covered spit of Christmas Tree island to the left:Simonton Beach is a functioning launch ramp, though this four wheel drive truck spun his front wheels as he clawed his way back up through the deep sand......while the jet ski took off for the horizon to the west aiming at the area of shallow waters and mangrove islands known as The Lakes:Some of those people living on their boats at anchor use the beach as a place to leave their dinghies.The good news is that it's free to leave your dinghy here but the bad news is it's wide open to any passer by. Thus it is most people leave less desirable hard dinghies here, that are also easier to lock up to a piling:It would take dedication to decide to go kayaking in a cool north wind blowing 25 and gusting 30, but if you are young enough no water is too cold to paddle in:And me? I had a date for fish at Alonzo's with my wife, and I managed to take enough pictures at that place for an essay about the Galleon Marina which will appear here in the fullness of time.So it was south one block on Simonton, north one block on Front as odd as that sounds, and into the free motorcycle parking lot followed by a short stroll on the boardwalk to a Yuengling and clams and fish fingers and shrimp. I left the people to freeze on the beach.