Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Boca Chica Beach

I was out here with my camera in 2008 and a year and a half later things have changed just a little bit. In my April 18th 2008 essay I referred back to my visits here with my elderly Labrador Emma who died in December 2006. She liked to sit in the sand, take a little swim and hang out with me at the picnic table while I read a book. She was old by then but still able to totter around. I have missed her terribly:
Now I am back with my new-to-me Labrador Cheyenne:The road used to be a good bit longer before one of the storms of 2004 or 2005 washed it out. I am pretty sure it was damage caused by Hurricane Wilma, but my memory is getting a bit vague about the details there were so many storms in those two years. I remember Wilma plastered trash on all the military fencing around the Boca Chica airbase to a height of four feet where the flood waters crested.
Beyond the barricade the old road goes on for another quarter of a mile getting narrower as the kudzu pushes in from the sides:Out to sea the gin palaces were busy the afternoon I was walking along the shore. Winter is the season for boat travel through the Keys:
The beaches are covered in washed up seaweed and Cheyenne, unlike Emma, has apparently never been taught to enjoy the water. This will change next summer when I will give lessons:The old state road around the south side of Boca Chica used to cross to Stock Island on trestles and the road was accompanied by electrical wires which are now reduced to individual poles, looking like survivors of a disaster:Birds, possibly pelicans.People come out here to enjoy a little moonlight and campfires and the like.And piled up on shore is a jumble of cement, the old road barricades now rendered obsolete by the destruction of the road further back. This is all a pedestrian area and even bicycles have a hard time up ahead:You Have Been Warned!
All the fuss about a nude beach proposed for the city of Key West is about ways to make money. People have been taking their clothes off around here for ages, and now I guess it's common knowledge. And no one was a charging an entry fee. I wondered if I should remove Cheyenne's collar as a precaution.More gin palaces (which is a derogatory term frequently used by sailors when speaking about excessively ostentatious motorboats) buzzing about:The old road is long gone and the newer footpath that replaced it has apparently washed out as well. It used to be you could ride a bike down here without too much trouble:
Cheyenne was enjoying rooting around like a pig after truffles under the Navy fence:Inland, in the distance one can see the Boca Chica Naval Air Station control tower:And here is evidence of at least one cyclist giving up the struggle in the absence of the old trail:This dude was striding along in espadrilles with his chair firmly on his shoulder. He was watching where he was going; being careful was a necessary precaution thanks to the slippery rocks underfoot:We exchanged remarks about the suitability of dogs rescued from the pound as he paused on his way back to the cars. We too decided it was time to head back. Visitors to the Keys are frequently disappointed by the quality of the beaches around here, and swimming off Boca Chica "Beach"leaves a lot to be desired. Not least because the water is shallow for a long way out, currents keep dead sea grass on the waterline and the shore is filled with nasty rocks:Fighters from the Naval Air Station were out practicing, a common sight above Big Coppitt. They make a fair bit of noise and not everyone who chooses to live near the Navy Base is aware of that. That's a cause of controversy which has produced a nice crop of local bumper stickers. Stuff like "I love Navy noise" or "I support the sound of Freedom" being common sights on cars around here.A strong economy is a sound I like even better but that concept is a bit too complicated for thoughts limited to the length of a bumper sticker. Birds fly around too:I'm pretty sure these are more pelicans. It's their time of year.I met this dog on the path. His name he said was Crumley though I'm not sure of the spelling. He was snatched from the pound in Boston and he is a sprightly four year old.
He was rather more sprightly than Cheyenne wanted to keep up with. I understand Crumley enjoys splitting his time between Boston and the Keys and I expect I will see more of him as time goes by.Dog ownership is another of those sub cultures. Like motorcycling. Or living in the Keys.