Friday, August 23, 2019

Turtles For All

My wife mentioned to me they were releasing a turtle on Higgs Beach and as I was in town off I went. To join several milling dozens of my closest neighbors who also had the same idea.
I saw the turtle en route to the event meandering along back streets. In the event they started the show precisely on time.
To give you an idea of how many people were there I never even noticed my friend Robert in his usual public garb  (he has been noticed at city commission meetings too) but according to an Instagram account I follow he was there:
You had to pick your section of beach with care if you were there  just to catch a few rays:
I put myself in ...a strategic position with the sun at my back and waited
....and watched, noting the purpose built t-shirt, ready for the event scheduled for kick off at 9:30 yesterday:
And at 9:33 there was a frisson in the crowd as word rippled through the assembled masses that the star of the show had appeared.
And equally promptly recording devices of all kinds also popped up, including my FZ1000:
This was no iPhone Fest, this was an event that called out the pros who got ringside seats, as they should:
The able volunteers in lime green shorts  lined the route to the sea:
We were addressed, somewhat inaudibly by a representative of the Turtle Hospital, and as WS Gilbert described the Lord High Executioner in a very different stirring tale, was:
A personage of noble rank and title —
A dignified and potent officer
Whose functions are particularly vital!
She was surrounded by young people pushed forward by their parents to see a turtle before it was released. As far as I could tell they were the only ones that could see it as it waited for some peace and quiet at their feet.
It was hot work standing in the sun in one million degrees. On Wednesday the surgeon pronounced me 100 percent fit once again was very nice but I took my cane onto the sand a s a precaution. I was happy to note I could stand and walk on the treacherous surface with no problem.
On and on it went:
Public radio/media was there a callow  youth in button down shirt and long pants looking like he'd lost his business meeting:
And off they went down the beach hauling the rehabbed turtle. I learned on my recent visit to the turtle hospital just how rough it is for them. One in one thousand turtles lives a full adult life. 
I have no idea what happened here, I just spotted the detritus neatly laid out as the masses swarmed to the tide line:
Yup, there's a turtle out there. It popped up and down at random for a while a while and each time they clapped.
I saw the creature with a radio transponder strapped to ts back like a lunch box  for the new pupil on a field trip. But I failed miserably at this wildlife photography test.
We stared at the water for a while...
... and it occurred to me there was a better place to watch from next time, if there is a next time.
Or you could perch like the disinterested  seagulls on the remains of the seawall off Higgs Beach:
To actually see a turtle:

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Sunset Marina

As part of my voyage of exploration on the little Jetson Bolt electric scooter from Costco I made my furthest point of exploration to be Sunset Marina on College Road.
Though these days it looks less like a marina and more like a housing complex:
When we decided to take jobs in Key West we moved off our anchor and took a slip here in Sunset Marina nearly 20 years ago. It looks much the same seen from here:
The office used to have a crane to launch small boats where the striped barricade is now: 
And this building behind the office was the only place where people lived in apartments, just three of them:
All these buildings are arecent innovation and when I went looking for a picture of the old parking lot I couldn't find my own so I cheated and found Google Street view from a few years back. From this:
To this (we are back to my own camera here!):
It  seems there are 15 building with parking underneath, as long as you coordinate with your neighbor. Their advertising offers two bedroom apartments  of 800 square feet at $2800  which may sound a lot but they offer all modern conveniences, not always the case in Key West and you can have a dog for a $350  deposit so I'm good with that! Happily I don't expect to need to live here but it's nice to know Rusty would be welcome.
This gate separates the marina property from the Sheriff's headquarters and jail and also the homeless shelter just to the right of the picture. The shelter closes in the morning so twice a day a stream of people unable to afford permanent housing passes by much to the discomfort of their housed neighbors nearby.
Here is where the apartments are:
And here the boats. Behind the boats are the Sunset Condos whose residents are carefully locked in by their own gate and they too object to the homeless of the Overnight Shelter. 
Don't be poor in Key West; no one will love you.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Boca Chica Beach

I have no idea why but Rusty hasn't wanted to go to Boca Chica Beach in a  long time. I'd bring him and he'd sniff and two photographs later he was sitting by the car. Then last week all that changed and he was totally into it. Why? He wasn't saying...
To my surprise Monroe County has chosen to clear the old road and turned it back into a wide easy to use path. It used to be open t cars but a hurricane, Wilma as I recall in 2005 wiped out the roadway and it was reduced to a  footpath. It's a popular spot for dogs though why this sign (below) is necessary I don't know. Picking up seems obvious but perhaps I think too highly of my fellow humans.
On the other side of the path the US Navy has rebuilt the fence torn down by Hurricane Irma in 2017. Not much ambiguity here:
Boca Chica is a training base and squadrons visit from all over the US and Canada to practice dog fights and aircraft carrier landings and take offs. They make quite a bit of noise but we were spared.
Boca Chica manages to look good most times I visit and this was just another lovely morning.

More signage that in a perfect world would be too obvious to state. Rusty ignored it but I always carry a plastic bag. Happily they have taken away the rash cans that used to be posted here. I took this picture in 2016 shortly after Rusty came into my life:
 All they did was encourage people to pile their trash and it was very difficult to empty the barrel.  Now the message is backed up by no trash cans:
The fishing boat was slowly making tracks. I find the telephoto on the Panasonic FZ1000 quite effective. The FZ300 has a longer lense but it gets badly jagged in JPEG at extreme distances and I am too lazy to shoot in RAW photo mode to correct it. The FZ1000 has a bigger sensor and does a much cleaner job even if not at such huge distances. 
The  sign on the telephone pole has been wiped clean...
...on one side.  The warning used to be "get ready for what you may find" (gay men enjoying themselves) but that apparently is no longer acceptable. Just another sign of changing times I guess. 
I did some bird watching while Rusty rooted around as usual.

The pile of rocks is still there with more detritus dangling everywhere. 
And more irritating aphorisms:

This innocent piece of wood put me in mind of a green man staring angrily across he clearing:

I noticed the hammock swinging close by an old Cuban chug that washed ashore. There are far fewer refugees trying to cross from Cuba since the US ended the wet foot/dry foot policy which allowed Cubans who landed to stay. 
Still a few do risk their lives out there while we swing at our ease on the beach.
A  man named Raphael started piling rocks after the aforementioned Hurricane Wilma, just another person attracted to this beach in ways that defy explanation. Like this guy I saw there the year after Red died:
 The original builder of the bothy on the beach was known as Red and he has apparently gone to his reward, well remembered.

We walked to the end of the beach where you have to wade across a cut to get to the rest of the wilderness alongside the old State Road 4A  but the tide was high and I wasn't wearing my Crocs and I don't think Rusty was particularly interested, happily for my sneakers.
The old Navy fence rather the worse for wear:

Back at the car Rusty wasn't ready to go. So I got out my Kermit chair...
...and struggled to take a selfie with my security guard at my back:
Other essays I've photographed over the years at Boca Chica Beach: