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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Going ashore... Sunset Cove, Key Largo.

Sunset Cove is a delightful anchorage and as its name implies, is the perfect setting for watching the sun set in the evenings. Nevertheless my favorite part of the day happens to be early morning. More specifically, daybreak.

That's when I'm likely to have a pot of coffee brewing on my Coleman camping stove and when the anchorage is more often than not as smooth as glass. In addition, seagulls can also be heard at that hour of the morning squawking at one another in anticipation of feeding on unsuspecting fish.

These birds can later be seen gracefully gliding over the water and then suddenly swooping down out of the sky and diving straight into the water. It's always a captivating sight for whatever reason, to then watch these birds swallow their meals whole and observe the unfortunate fish slither on down the bird's throat and down into its gullet while later imagining that fish slithering even further on down into a pool of digestive fluids.

I suppose that this is what might be called "having a bad day" if one were to be that particular fish ... but if one were among the fortunate fish evading capture then one just might be inclined to breath a sigh of relief and utter out loud, "whoa... that certainly was a close call".

In any event S/V Blondie-Dog has been sitting at anchor in Sunset Cove for more than just a few days now which is not necessarily a bad thing.

My original plan had been to drop a hook here in the anchorage but for a day or two before proceeding with my sail on up to Dinner Key Harbor in Biscayne Bay. But since I'm not in any particular hurry to get anywhere, it wasn't hard to simply want to stay put for a few days.

Besides, a so-called "weak northern" had blown on through the Keys a few days earlier putting any immediate sailing plans on hold. That blow along with its 30 knot winds lasted a good three days and turned the serenity of Sunset Cove into something seemingly comparable to Lake Superior along with it's winter gale-force winds.

It goes without saying that it was most uncomfortable riding out that front along with all the white-caps in that cove. And it also goes without saying that I was quite relieved when the winds shifted and the waves finally died down sufficiently enough for me to dinghy ashore.

It's somewhat amazing the effect a day or two of gentle breezes can have on turbulent waters. Those high winds and heavy chop in the water are now but a distant memory all of which has me thinking about the following morning after having first arrived here in Sunset Cove.

I had taken it upon myself to sleep in and then leisurely get the boat squared away. This included mounting my 2-stroke outboard back onto the dinghy as well as performing other incidental boating tasks in anticipation of going to shore later that morning.

However my plans for that morning were suddenly changed when I happened to look out over the water some distance upon hearing a splash followed by a lot of squealing and laughter.

Now in the water clinging onto an almost completely submerged kayak were what appeared to be an adult male along with a young boy. The squealing and laughter of the two young girls in the other kayak had ceased by now as the adult would furtively attempt to climb back onto the kayak.

Evidently a joyous family game of kayak bumper-cars had abruptly concluded with the two young girls victorious after overturning their dad's and younger brother's kayak.

I then reasoned after a very brief moment of hesitation that those two needed help and needed it now. There wouldn't be anyone from shore coming to their assistance and that it was now all on me.

So after hastily pulling on a pair of khaki shorts over my boxer-shorts, I scrambled down into the inflatable dinghy and motored on over to the overturned kayak with its two prior occupants.

Nevertheless the dad for whatever reason, didn't seem all that receptive to my offer of assistance. I suppose it might have been because he had yet to exhaust himself attempting to climb back into that kayak. It was then that I felt compelled to inform him that he needed help whether he knew it or not.

The young boy however showed no hesitation whatsoever as he scrambled on into the dinghy all the while wearing a big smile on his face. The dad then evidently came to his senses upon seeing his son safely inside and climbed in as well.

It was somewhat of a slow ride to shore since the dinghy was now loaded down with three occupants and was towing a kayak filled with water as well.

Later while motoring to their beach-side lodgings and after a brief exchange of pleasantries it was disclosed that the dad and three children along with the wife who was sensibly ashore, were from Paris and on a family vacation throughout the Keys.

I suppose that the dad and son would have eventually drifted to shore on their own at some point but it certainly wouldn't have felt right for me to just piddle around on the boat as they endlessly clung onto that overturned kayak.

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