Group: Super Administrators
Joined: Jan. 2004
||Posted: Sep. 15 2008,06:12
Congrats to... Sue Sea and Moi!
Yup it finally happened. And what a story it is...
It was yet another of our endless trips to the Keys. That used to mean Key Largo, leave in the morning, back late at night, kayak at Pennekamp, some serious cuda. Later it meant Islamorada, to our sorta secret launch and out to the wreck.
And still drive back.
This time Sue Sea packed a bunch of camping stuff - we figured Long Key might just have a space available after all the storms. So off to Largo, take a break at Denny's Latin Cafe for a couple cafe con leche's, call the park. Not only weren't there any spaces, the camp site will be closed for a LONG time - again due to hurricane damage. After all the work they put in, a real shame.
So here it was late in the afternoon, so we decided to go to the real Keys, which basically means the middle and lower ones. Still relatively undeveloped compared to Largo or Key Messed. Picked up a travel guide and scored a room for $79 in Marathon. Now let it be said that many travelers pass Marathon by. Too much like a small town, lacks the history of Key Largo, the fantasy of Key West and the dripping money and reputation of Islamorada. The truck stop of the Keys.
Not really. It's the home of the Turtle Hospital, Seven Mile Bridge and close to three wonderful state parks (Bahia Honda, Long Key and Curry Hammock). And a Super K-Mart with one of the best fishing departments in the area. People are more real, down to earth. The bars are friendly, accessible, live music, good grub at fair prices. $5 lunches.
We were staying at the Black Point for a mere $79. The grounds included docks, a sand and coral point with their own lighthouse and the "Sunset Cathedral" - a small roofed deck, sufficient for maybe three people and festooned with crab floats and a rough hewn sign proclaiming it's name and "Thanks Wilma!". Seems as though the deck and hut got ripped away from another location, got blown by hurricane force winds, through heavy surf, to land on their property.
When after some months, nobody came to claim it, the "cathedral" found a new home. Thanks Wilma, for sure. Just before sunset I was exhausted, decided to veg out in the room with the tube and some nice A/C when Sue Sea burst in the door with that big smile of hers and wouldn't stop until I agree to walk to the point with her to watch the sunset for a green flash. Bring your camera Jimbo she begged.
Sure. Of course. Even grabbed the #### camera.
So we walked to the "cathedral" to join some of the locals, a guitar player who made up a song on the spot for us, and some of the liveaboards docked in the marina. And watched the sun go down. At Sue Sea's behest I clicked off a series of pics. The sky was clear with orange or salmon overtones. Our sightline to the Gulf horizon was unobstructed, no low lying clouds. The sun turned a deep fiery yellow orange and started down. I kept clicking pics. Then it happened. Just when the sun was a small dot.
It turned green! So help me!
Just like a traffic light turning from yellow to a clear and unequivocal green, and just like rotating airport marker or blinking harbor light. Yellow - green - off. The cheers went up and we all screamed out. "It's the green flash! Did you see that?" We ran around, double checked with the others.
They all saw it. In fact they said this was the second one in a row, there'd been one the night before! We were stunned. After literally hundreds of sunsets, watching each for the elusive green flash, it had finally happened. The night was clear, colorful and perfect in every way. The right place, the right time, the right setting and with the right people, in our Keys Paradise.
Note: Later that night, Sue Sea dragged me out once again to the Sunset Cathedral, which was now lit with strings of pale blue lights. "There's some huge fish, bring your rod!". And of course, I did. Sue Sea does not kid about big fish.
The coral rocks down the long walk to the lighthouse point were softly lit by small lights in real conch shells that had been roughly cemented onto the tops of the rough hewn coral rock break walls. Idyllic. The water was lit in three locations by underwater lights which reflected off large schools of silvery bait circling in the light.
And circling around the bait was a school of maybe eight or ten medium tarpon - averaging maybe four feet! And they weren't leaving. This sight went on for the hour or so we stayed. I tried every retrieve and technique I know, and nada. Not a speck of interest, they just weren't feeding.
But beautiful they were. Seeing the silver kings circle and roll in leisurely circles with the underwater lights reflecting off their silvery magnificence was, well, magnificent. Not to mention a full moon and mirror calm clear water.
Man, it doesn't get any better than that. It just doesn't...
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