Friday, March 17, 2017

Sugarloaf Walk

I've got to be honest...really I do....but Spring Break this year is making Key West unbearable. It's like the bad old days with people clogging the streets mostly drunk, driving badlym, stumbling when they walk, being rowdy and young and cheerful. Me? I am sticking to the backwoods with my dog for the moment. Especially this weekm as Florida universities are on break and that puts Key West within range of their badly driven cars. Heaven help us.
 We hadn't been tp Sugarloaf Key in a whil;e and it was  lovely morning. Rusty had a grand time and I trailed long behind him checking out awhatever there was to see.
I've photogrpahed these places before but each time I see things in a slightly different light thanks to the camera's all seeing eye.
In the distance typical Keys stilt houses. 
W stood on the shore of the lagoon in the middle of the island and Rusty wasn't much impressed. 
He was even less impressed when a stornger gust of wind than usual picked up a piece of briny foam and slapped him in the face with it:
 I took a quick picture in black and white to check the effect... which time my dog had ducked back into the safety of the undergrowth:
 A seagrpae throwing up some new growth which comes out in this Fall style of color, highlighted by the early morning sun:
And yes a couple of spring breakers made their way here on bicycles with a radio strapped to the handlebars making loud noises to shatter the peace of the morning in the woods. Sigh, nice kids but noisy.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Vaca Cut

I had time to burn while the car's tires were replaced and I spotted a likely walk along the waterway that divides the city of Marathon in two. It yielded scenes of canalside life to my camera:
It was busy too for a Friday and I had some frustations trying to get decent pictures from the overgrown path I was walking: 
There's an island located just off Sombrero Beach area south of Marathon. As you can see in this picture below taken at full digital zoom it is a rock wioth ahouse on it, not even room to walk the dog.
 The boats came and went on the turquoise waters:

Apparently it's pretty shallow around here as the boats even the smallest stuck to the clearly marked channels:
 Cklearly marked around the end of the land as you can see here:

 Rusty the land dog was busy checking stuff out:
The land is for sale so I suppose it will become something useful at some point. For now there are trees, shade and mangroves arching artictically:

 It is actually a scenic waterway, as short as it is:

 Drifting along ignoring the constant traffic on the Overseas Highway rumbling over the bridge:

Looking North, what they call Gulfside in Marathon: 
 The open water!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Season's End

I cannot tell a lie, I'm seeing the parade of RVs start out heading north and I am glad. I look forward to less traffic and more breathing room. But then I am sad because the end of winter season means the end of Rusty's playtime with his buds.
We met Brian and his Labrador Sam as they arrived on the beach last week but Rusty was looking to play with the Dalmatian Lucas who hadn't yet showed up. Rusty kept casting glances back waiting for his special playmate: 
It was windy and the breeze gave the surface of the water a steely look which I rather enjoyed photographing as we waited for Richard and Lucas.
It threatened  rain but the water never materialized. 

And then it happened and they ran and ran and ran and dug holes in the sand to sit in and cool off. Rusty makes me feel good when I see him confidently playing with other dogs, especially big dogs, after he was so scared of them when I first got him. He had a tough life as a stray. 
Richard has promised to be back the last week of November so I will be sure to show up with Rusty. I hope he can contain himself till then, poor thing.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sails On The Horizon

It was a lovely day, breezy and fresh with lots of sunshine and open skies and Rusty was full of beans so I pointed the camera  at random. Very relaxing after a night of Spring Break 911 calls.
 A duck, more properly a cormorant.
And then I saw these sails far far away navigating what appeared to be Big Spanish Channel, east of Big Pine Key and No Name Key. As you can see they were at the very limit of my camera's 2400mm equivalent digital telephoto. The pictures have a grainy almost painted quality to them. 
 As unlikely as it seemed they appeared to be two lug sail rigged schooners, that is to say sailboats with two masts and rather unusual lug sails, which are square sails asymmetrically flown. 
 I wondered if they might not be Haitian workboats but I doubt they would have been mucking about in the distant channels had they wanted to make a quick landing and a clean getaway...
 I think on mature reflection they were just recreational sailors out...recreating on this ridiculously windy day. And up in the shallow channels they had to suffer less wave action. Smart sailing. In this last picture of them before they disappeared you can see what appears to be two lug sails on two masts:
 I was standing in the shade looking out across the water.
 Rusty meanwhile was busy on his own account:
 I labelled this picture on Instagram as "Joe Cool on the prowl."
Great dog, great morning, fine company my Rusty.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Everglades Amble

I had dropped my wife off at the airport as she took her teacher's spring break and flew to California for a week of catching up with friends. That left Rusty and myself to drive home from Fort Lauderdale at an unusually early hour of the morning. 
It was pleasantly cool even though temperatures were in the upper 70's at seven o'clock in the morning and I was ready to walk as far as the eye could see along the levee. I thought Rusty might enjoy stretching his legs unencumbered while I played with my camera and looked for wildlife...
We were left in peace as the traffic on Card Sound Road could be heard but hardly seen and the levee has been closed to unauthorized vehicles by two steel gates. 
I think they are trying to corral all terrain  vehicles that  like to play in the mud around here. There sure aren't many cars likely to show up on the levee.
 I saw nothing but  birds in the marshes as we walked in the cool morning air.
 The usual ration of  ibis and heron.
 And of course our old friend the red mangrove:
The Everglades are often portrayed by people who don't know as creepy dank forests of moss covered cypress trees rising out of stagnant pools of tannic water...T%he stuff of horro movies.  
 Marjorie Stonbeman Douglas, an early Florida environmentalist coined the term River of Grass to describe the Everglades and wrote a densely unreadable book by that title.
 I'm not sure what these water reservoirs were about, but they were beautifully made collection points:
This is the river of grass, fresh water flowing south through the state, being cleaned and filtered as it goes unless polluted by farm fertilizer run off...
And in the middle of the reeds there are clumps of hardwood trees on small rises of dry land, so called hammocks where Indians lived in their sleeping arrangements actually called hammocks. A misunderstanding between the original inhabitants and the invaders. After all, they were called Indians by the confused Spanish who thought they had arrived in India.

For some reaosn I never figured out Rusty got spooked a half mile in and suddnely turned around and put his tail down, as he does when scared and trotted nervously back to the car with me in pursuit. I have no idea why he took fright but I never saw anything. I didn't insist and simply gave him some water, stuffed him into the car and took off for home.
I saw these bullet holes in a sign advising no vehicles beyond this point. Cheaper and more efficient to shoot with a camera I think.
I did once explore up the road that leads north from this point. I went a few miles up before giving up and going back to Card Sound Road. I believe if followed all the way it will come out by the speedway stadium in Homestead.
This is the alternative route home, Card Sound Road on Key Largo which joins Highway One in Florida City to the north and in Key Largo to the south at the end of the 18 mile stretch.
A peaceful 55mph drive before rejoining the cut and thrust of Spring Break Highway One.