Thursday, July 30, 2020

Camping In The Age Of the Virus: Part 8

By the end of the trip, I realized that the very best parts were the long quiet walks on the secluded beach, the simple but great meals we had, and generally the time away from worrying about the end of the world. I would be remiss not to mention that we did have a small flatscreen TV and enough reception to watch the Japanese channel at night, so we did get enough information to know that the rest of the world was worried that the USA might infect them. However, that was going on just once an hour. The rest of the time, it showed stories about how some yuppie guy left his village in search of fortune in Toyko, and then returned home to show the elders how to take their ailing rice farm and turn it into a hipster saki bar. In fact, with a little twist on that, we could do the same story in Tennessee.

I was at peace with going home skunked in the fishing department, but my son was having none of it, and he would call once a day to get a fishing report. He was concerned enough that he was ready to take a day off of work and come down to make sure I got a fish, even if he had to buy it.

I decided that I needed once last trip out into the mangroves, and that last outing gave me a couple of lessons that I should already have known: 1) When you are at home or at the beach and you see storm clouds moving quickly towards you, you can leisurely stroll back inside or get in your car....when you are out in the middle of a body of water on a paddleboard...different story.  2) I finally figured out what those snake birds were up to. I thought they were my friends, but as in nature as in life, they were just using me. They were not following me because they thought I would lead them to the fish....that would have been a compliment. Nope, they somehow knew that my board passing over the shallow beds of grass spooked the little pinfish out of their hidey spots.

So, it was that on my parting excursion, when I was thinking I really needed Pam out here on her board, that I almost had my last fishing trip. I got out on the water at first light, jumping and moving so fast that the no-see-ums never had a chance to get a good bite, barely noticing the light ripples on the water. The main thing I noticed was that the light was looking good and I didn't see whitecaps on the water. A note here would be that it is much more difficult to paddle a standup paddleboard against the wind than a kayak or canoe. What I should have paid attention to was the wind blowing away from shore and how hard it was blowing. Instead, I was intent on getting a fish and hitting at least 3 promising stops before it was time to leave. I only had a few snakebirds with me this time, which probably should have been warning enough. These guys weren't playing around and were diving under my board and coming up with fish that Fly Fishing guys up in the mountains of North Carolina would have been excited about. Right off the bat, I snarled up the line on one rod, and nodded approvingly to myself that I brought a second rod along. I almost fell in trying to put one up and grab the other and was thinking why was this so difficult? I looked up to see serious storm clouds moving faster than I could remember. The waves were growing in size and it was getting tricky just standing on my board not fishing. This was early in the morning and I did remember the news folk saying 80% chance of rain, but in Florida that usually means in the afternoon. I decided to heck with the fishing and got to the business of paddling back, and then realized it was going to take everything I had in me to just get back to the beach....and then the thunder started.

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