Friday, October 1, 2010

Old Bahia Honda

It was only when I arrived at the southern end of the old Bahia Honda Bridge that I understood why I had been wanting to come back here and take a walk. There is a particular pleasure in standing up on the top of a cliff, be it ever so small, and looking out across the water.An enduring memory I have of our last trip to Puerto Rico was that of standing on the front lawn of our hotel on the eastern side of the island and looking out across the rolling greenery down to the water. It was a moment that made me appreciate just how flat these islands really are.We live at sea level, and there's nothing wrong with that, given that I will be long dead by the time the sea rises to engulf these islands, but the chance for a view from the top of a thirty-foot hill is something that needs to be enjoyed from time to time. The old Flagler Bridge has been cut off from land at this end but it is possible to walk onto the bridge from the Bahia Honda State Park end and enjoy an elevated view. That is not however, the same as walking among the windblown wild grasses, while looking down at the water below.Cheyenne took a quick look inside the old pump station alongside the original water pipe laid by the Navy in World War Two. Prior to the pipe Key West survived on rain water and probably should return to that method to preserve water supplies. I've lived primarily off my rain water cistern for years.
Just as the walls of Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas are protected by a moat, so was the installation of the old pipe. However the passage of time has eroded the limestone behind the moat and the resulting shapes are quite fantastic.The pump house looks like it belongs somewhere else in a different time. Walking around it puts me in mind of the old abandoned lighthouses in the Far Out Islands of the Bahamas, structures built by Victorian engineers in distant colonies now outmoded and replaced by simple solar panels and electric lights.
One marvels at the work that was done to secure water supplies in war time. Public works and infrastructure were valued in those days.

God and the engineer that installed it only know what that plinth was for among the grasses.
Cheyenne was busy as usual.
Hurricanes in the Atlantic have been creating strong east winds in Florida. However in these shallow reef-strewn waters large waves are hard to whip up any bigger than this.
I never cease to be amazed how pretty this part of the world is. I spent two hours walking here with Cheyenne and a few cars stopped, took a few pictures and disappeared leaving us completely alone.
I read the paper in a shady spot behind a stone wall, out of the wind. Cheyenne took a refreshing salt water bath.
I am very fond of my dog, and we've been together less than a year.
It would be a terrible tease to leave this spot without one decent picture of the famous bridge.
Here we are with a panoramic view back at our proper eye level.
The pump station and all it's graffiti.
Me trying not to look more stupid than usual.
One last look at the Straits of Florida...
...and someone else can have this place to themselves.