Sunday, September 13, 2020

Tasting The Salt Life Part 2: The Charge Of The Trump Brigade

Here is was, Saturday morning of the long Labor Day weekend, heading out on a week long fishing trip. Not even ten minutest into the trip, we had a dolphin encounter and I wasn't sure if that was an omen, or we had the best part in the very beginning. It turns out that on vacation as in life, I had no clue of what was really coming.

Dusty decided that since this was a Saturday and the weather was nice, we needed to make the run to Captiva Pass. For folks in Orlando, that was like (in normal times), "Hey, it's a weekend, the weather's nice, let's go to Disney!" I figured it would be a fun ride, we'd see a few really fancy boats, but I wasn't into the groove enough yet to think this might not be the best day to head to a popular fishing spot. The ride from Bokeelia to Captiva Pass is about 30 to 45 minutes for somebody like me. This is an area that is well known for very shallow sandbars and secret ways to get places that tourists don't know. I can still vividly remember my first trip back when I was young and running full speed into a sandbar because I didn't really understand how serious those channel markers were. I did know that a passtime for locals was to anchor near a pretty shallow sandbar and wait for some adventurous boater with a big motor see if he could skim over the 'bar. There is some kind of saying about if you see bird walking on the water...don't go that way.

Dustin, however, is a whole different animal. He grew up on these waters and he loved speed. I still remember shivering as I let his 16 year old self drive our boat at our maximum speed of 24mph, weaving through the channels of the bay. Now, he is in his 40's and has a big boat that will go 60mph...and he was doing it..unfortunately, the locals were disappointed if they were hoping for a loud ringing of the prop hitting bottom. Not only did Dusty know the area, he had a very expensive GPS that had Charlotte Harbor laid out like Google Maps.

We probably would have been to Captiva Pass in short order except for one thing: every boat in the whole world got there before us. I'm not sure if it was a flash mob, social media posting or what, but somehow, I didn't get the memo. All of the boats had American flags and Trump flags, big ones. I was very impressed that somebody could get this many people to do anything on a Saturday morning. I started wondering if the boat ramps were all full, or if this parade was made up of people that owned waterfront homes with a boat out back...there wasn't much in the way of the kind of boat I could afford, so my first assumption was that Trump was backing some bill that deeply benefited boat owners. It was something that made me feel good that people are not apathetic anymore, on the other hand, I was kind of expecting Greenpeace guys in Zodiac boats to show up with Biden flags...but that never happened.

We drove down the whole length of Cayo Costa (a barrier island park in the gulf) and finally found a tiny anchorage for our boat. We got to swim in the crystal blue water and marvel at all of the boats...wondering why we didn't bring something to sell out there. Politics aside, we could have made a killing!

It was a day of no fish, but it was only the first day and it was already looking like this trip was going to be like no other. I thought it would be impossible to top this boat parade, but I was still at the point where I thought Buddy the dolphin was the most incredible animal encounter ever...I had more to learn.



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