Day five, my last on the Island, and the Everglades for that matter. A few minutes on the weather channel generated visions of increasing winds for days to come. The good folks that made up that forecast also talked of it clocking further to the East. I thought it time to make a move, either to Pavilion Key or further. I am putting up a few images of earlier days on this page due to the lack of photos taken on this final day in the Everglades. This is my camera setup on the Osprey's nest. I would stand here for sometimes 15 minutes at a clip when alerted to some pending action from mama's chirping. About 25' from the nest at 70-200mm was a good range.
Shot of Doug, met at the Everglades City launch, cruising past on his way to Highland Beach.
Cormorants and Pelicans taking a wind break on old dock pilings in the protected waters of Turkey Key
Sunrise, a special moment in time!
Conch Camp, another view on Day Two...
Confused image,,, has way to much going on. Trying to show some shells and weather together. Don't know what I was thinking!
Wicked weather on day three - as the storm approached.
Mangroves living on the edge.
Part of Bob's camp and shadow...
Waders at my second camp. I did not have room to add in my garbage or they would have come along. I always return from an adventure trip with more trash than when I started! It is a good habit to form, I just wish others would do the same.
High Tide on New Turkey Key.
Cold, clear sunset facing North.
Camp on the lee side, just prior to packing it up. I headed out shortly after.
Whew, lucky to be here. This calm looking photo sheds little light on the journey just completed. I left New Turkey Key with the intention of making it to Pavilion Key only five or so miles away. The open water crossing had me wet and cold but closer to the mainland. At this point my body was shaking but the sun was still up and so I pushed onward. I really did not relish the idea of backtracking in open water from Pavilion Key in the morning. So onward I push. The lee of islands makes travel tolerable but the winds funnel between and raise the sea. It is about 50 degrees at this point and I'm in a long sleeve T-Shirt and no shoes. My feet are feeling numb and toes turning purple but it is to risky to try and reach dry clothes. I am able to reach wet beach shoes which help my feet a bit. The wind cuts right through but at least I can't see the dark color of my skin. Pressing on through Lumber Key shortcut I finally reach Chokoloskee under the power of Iron Genny. At this point I'm most likely experiencing hypothermia as I shake so bad that it is difficult to hold course. Tourist's on the shore shake their heads and wave bundled up in thick winter coats. The temperature is now in the mid forties, I cannot muster a wave back. A half hour later I reach my starting place here at the Everglades City Ranger Station.
I am so happy (lucky) to be here. First order is to dig out a sweatshirt. Looking back, this was really a dumb move, pushing to go all the way today that is! If anything had gone wrong while underway today I would have been in real trouble. With barely thirty minutes of sunlight remaining I could have frozen, out there in the mangroves. Most folks, including me, don't give much thought to cold in the Everglades. Trust me, cold it does get!!!
I scurry to find the car key and off to some warmth. Heater running in the warm car now I try and snap fingers for an automatic loading. Nothing happens so out I go into the cold once again. It takes over an hour to finally get road worthy, nothing fancy mind you, just safe enough to make it back to St.Petersburg. I'm famished and quickly locate the Oyster House just outside the entrance to the Ranger Station. They treat me like a king with my order to go and serve a free bowl of Clam Chowder that was out of this world! Of course just about anything would have been out of this world about now. The drive home was uneventful but it did take me a week to thaw out (get my head back to normal, or abby-normal). You know, I'd rather live like this (out in the wild) then the city life as I know it. Yes it is hard and there are risks to be sure, but what what a life! Until the next Adventure...Adios my friends!
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