Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bokeelia: When You're Friends With The Locals

A long running story about Bokeelia is that you have to carry a 6-pack of beer in your trunk for emergencies. Not for yourself, but in case you find yourself in a situation where you need local help...a 6-pack is usually enough to do the trick, and I have had to use that beer before!

But, on this trip, I found myself more interested in the other kinds of locals: the wildlife. I have travelled quite a bit, and this part of the country seems to have more wildlife than anywhere else I've been. One morning, I rose early and took my trusty blow-up paddleboard for a morning ride out to jug creek. While just starting down the canal, more birds than I could count flew up in front of me. I started noticing that I saw the same birds in the same places every morning, which made sense, as I have seen that animals, like people seem to keep to daily rituals. One such ritual was the daily visit from our white heron. He chased off any other birds that tried to come over to our place while we were there. I figured this was his house and he was protecting his territory. Then I noticed a few times that when we anchored somewhere, a white heron would land nearby and hang out while we fished, at least until he figured out that we weren't catching anything worthwhile. It doesn't seem that difficult to imagine that a bird that can fly, tracking the boat that is docked at his house. One day, we waded jug creek and a white heron landed a few feet away from Pam and stayed near her for about 30 minutes, catching his own fish, making us look like loser fishermen. Was it our bird?  I think so, because he didn't bother to show up at our house that evening, already knowing that we had been skunked.
This led me to think of other incidents like it. For example, every time you ride in a boat anywhere near the Four Winds Marina, a small white tern will land on your boat and hitchhike for a while. In the past, I had thought that only this species of bird has the nerve to do something like this, but now, I'm thinking it is just this one bird that does it, since I've never seen more than one at a time. If that's true, this one bird is very old, because it's been happening for over 15 years that I know of. This trip, he landed on the bow of our boat while we drove into the marina and stayed on board until we tied up at the dock to eat at the Lazy Flamingo. I guess he figured out we didn't have anything good to eat.
Another example is the dolphin at Marker 73. A lot of people know about him, and we tried to find him this trip, but I think he only comes around when you're catching fish, and we had bad luck on the one day that was calm enough wind to run out that way. We all know that dolphins are much better at fishing than we are, but either from higher intelligence or higher laziness, at least one dolphin has found a better way. He comes around your boat, playing cute until you have finally somehow tossed him all of the bait that you paid dearly for, before spending $50 in gas to drive all the way there. feel happy about it. A true con artist.
After we went home, my son stayed on and was joined by two of his friends. They found the dolphin, who got all of their bait and some of the fish they caught.
Days later they found themselves with 5 dolphins lolling around their boat, laying on their backs looking cute, and stealing all of the fish. My son said it was fun for the first hour, until they realized the dolphins weren't leaving them anything. Ok dolphins, gotta dial it back a notch.
At least the dolphins left them the beer..... 

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