Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Camping In Florida: The Last Good Weekend Before Summer?

Soon it will be too hot here in Florida to be camping in a tent, so we rolled the dice and booked a weekend at our favorite place: Princess Place Preserve, up near St. Augustine, FL. We were rolling the dice because camping in March can mean rain, freezing cold, or even hot days...but we were lucky this time. This was my first trip to the preserve when the wind wasn't blowing over 15 knots the whole time and my first thought was that we were going to be eaten by mosquitos or noseeums, but the bugs weren't bad at all! I cannot explain that, but we were on the edge of summer heat, warm during the day, but cool enough for long nights around the campfire.
One of these days I will learn that even though this park has water everywhere, there are no fish to catch. I still brought a fishing pole and at least got some casting practice in. Paul was still recovering from a bicycle accident the week before, so he was not allowed to bring his bike. Instead, we hiked and man we did a lot of that. My fitness watch recorded a new record for me, steps in one day. It was something like 24,000 steps. This might explain partially why I gained no weight after all of the not healthy eating all weekend.

The park has a great exhibit for history buffs, and if you liked Downton Abbey, you will like what you see here. I'm still trying to imagine the rich folk coming way out here in the woods for a hunting trip. I wonder how many servants it took to keep them happy.
I never get tired of this place. Next time I'm paddling my board out in the lagoon and figuring out where those fish are hiding. If you go, bring your bicycle. There still might be time for one more nice weekend....

Monday, March 21, 2016

Getting Some After A Long Drought

The way I'm working these days, it is very expensive to take a day off for surfing, but I was caught up with work, we were going camping AND it was predicted that a very long period swell was coming, coinciding with a drop in the wind. Ususally, that means you show up early and it's flat. Not this time. I was surprised to find so few people in the water at Sunglgow pier in South Daytona, but only about three of us started that morning around 7:30 am. You could tell there were more waves than the day before, but the sets, the bigger ones, were really spaced far apart. You could easily paddle from shore to outside the break zone between sets. What I recall more than anything was the power behind this groundswell. You saw a little bump, took a couple of strokes and you were off. I can still remember the guy next to me saying, "Go for the shoulders!". I hadn't heard that since I was a kid, but he was right. I got my butt handed to me many times that day and was thankful for a good leash. It was the kind of day where it became almost impossible to hang on to my large paddleboard when a wave hit me. I'm hoping this year contains many more days like this one.