A very exciting and wonderful couple of days! On Thursday, Bishnu Gosh day, the Key West Studio was closed, so Danny took me fishing. He is a seasoned captain and has a reliable boat he named after his grandmother. She’s a tough old gal. Higbee, Danny and I set sail in time to meet the incoming tide at the major channel. That’s where the tarpon feed. Tarpon are the giant game fish that everyone goes for in south Florida. They are real fighters and like to jump out of the water. They’re also beautiful and big and silvery in color.We saw several arcing over the crest of water and were hopeful. We made several passes drifting from the red buoy to the green one, but alas no one hit the line. So we sped off in a westerly direction to the outer islands. Danny found a spot that’s been reliable in the past and it did not take long for the line to start tugging. I caught several beautiful silvery bone fish (which we released),
and Danny caught some other type of fish that was quickly dispatched and used as shark bait. In no time, the shark pole (which had been sitting in a brace against the back wall of the boat) emitted that telltale “zzzzzzzzzzzzz” sound of the line zipping out against the drag. Danny helped me out initially, and then using the waist pocket thing that helped me to steady the pole, I pulled in a GIANT black tip shark! We got some good pictures – while Higbee was peering over the edge of the boat, the shark rose up and showed us his giant teeth – I’d heard about the set that go inward so that when a doomed victim tries to pull out after an initial bite, shredding of the flesh is guaranteed. There’s nothing about those shark teeth that I’d like to experience up close. Had seen a bit of “Jaws” on the 4th of July, and that was good enough. Of course, it didn’t take long after releasing that nasty beast that yet another was on the line. It was a lemon shark, aptly named for its beautiful yellow coloring. I didn’t a good shot of it, but Danny estimated it was over six feet long and about 75 pounds. It was a workout to bring it in, but it snapped the line before we could get it close enough for good pictures. That’s ok.
After I caught my breath from all that fishing work, we moved over closer to an island and spent the afternoon relaxing in the water. While Danny scraped the moss off the bottom of the boat, Higbee and I played near the shore – the tidal pull was really strong, and you didn’t have to be out too far to realize that it wouldn’t take much to get dragged out to where those sharks were. So we stayed pretty close! The sun is fierce out there, so I kept my shirt on and lathered up with sunscreen often. The water felt and tasted really salty – I’m guessing with water temps at around 85 degrees, evaporation explains it. Before I knew it, it was after 7pm, so we motored back in to the channel to get a second shot at the tarpon at the next tide. Again, we saw huge schools of fish rising and even saw a few people in other boats hook a few, but we did not get one. That’s okay – I was pretty tired, and frankly didn’t need to work the rod for another 45 minutes. Danny said that big tarpon can take hours and hours to reel in.
A quick note – Higbee is a great boat dog. I was really surprised at how calm she was during the bumpy ride out to the far islands and how she behaved while fishing. This dog is really impressing me during this trip!
On Friday morning, I packed everything up, and made one last bike ride over to the Hemmingway house. Went on the tour and heard some great stories about the writer, who, in my opinion, has done some amazing work (Old man and the sea) and some not-s0-great-stuff about the drama of drinking (Sun also Rises). I could take or leave his writing, but the house – well, the house I would take in a second!! What a beautiful place – well designed, lots of windows, lots of space, just need to get rid of those smelly cats. Apparently Hemmingway’s boys brought home a lucky 6-toed cat for helping out at the docks one day, and that one cat has multiplied to 44 on the property, many of whom carry the extra-toe gene. Despite its beauty, the place smells like cat pee, and that has to go. The hotel staff said the neighbors have called in animal control to get them to reduce the population, but those lucky cats are lucky. Despite several attempts with several agencies, they are still there and thriving (and peeing).
Took the afternoon yoga class from Terry, and I was so happy that I had such a strong class! Drank a Zico before class and it gave me that little extra zip required to rise above the humidity. I was strong and had relatively good balance – especially when you consider that I was swaying on a boat for hours the day before, I was happy that I was able to hold the poses most of the time.
After a tasty dinner at a Cuban restaurant with Danny, I reluctantly departed the island. I figured I had to get going – otherwise I’d never leave!!! It was a great trip, and I’ve made a wonderful friend in Danny. He’s someone I’ll know for the rest of my life.
Barely got off the keys alive that night – a little too late I realized that I didn’t have much gas left in the tank and rolled in on fumes to the first open station on the mainland. Strange, when I had filled up before going out, I encountered a couple in the midst of a heated battle. She was telling him to turn over the keys, he nearly beat her up. It was ugly but they eventually drove off in separate directions. Then when I was gassing up on the outbound trip, I heard another couple arguing, and then out of the dark came two people screaming and yelling at each other. She stormed into the station store, and when he came in shortly after, I decided to get out and away from that place. It seemed like that area had bad couple juju. Danny said later that the heat and humidity set people off.
Spent the night in a really nice Motel 6 – the nicest one I’ve been in yet – it must have been another hotel before. The plan was to skip Miami and head straight up to the space coast to see the shuttle launch. The launch was delayed a day due to lightning strikes in the area, so I drove around Miami Beach to see the Art Deco architecture and outrageously dressed people and then took a relaxing ride up the coast. Am now in New Smyrna Beach, and will be here for a few days to practice at the nearby studios, meet my friend Summer and tonight, watch the shuttle!!
Okay, time to get some errands run and go find a good spot for the launch!!
Sending love to all.