Thursday, November 3, 2005

Vacation Day Two

I’ve gotten a few Emails from my J-land friends and even a phone call from my pal Ken reminding me that I promised to post day two of my vacation over a week ago and still have not done so. My apologies to all and my thanks to those who expressed concern on my behalf.

If you remember, I went to visit my friend Ken in Vero Beach, Florida. I was to stay six days and nights. On the first morning after my arrival Hurricane Wilma was predicted to pass over this area and they were calling for the evacuation of the Florida Keys. We went boating and fishing that first day and would make the decision on what I would do that night after we returned.

I did not want to get caught in the massive traffic jams heading north if a major evacuation was called. I decided I would leave early or ride the storm out with Ken and Joyce. A call home to Paulette settled that issue. I would leave for home on Thursday, giving me one more full day to enjoy before I bugged out.

We had planned on Ken’s dad, Tom, fishing with us that first day but something came up and he was not able to join us. We decided to do a repeat of the previous day’s activities since that was my favorite routine, only this time Ken’s dad would be able to come with us.

I’ve known Tom and the rest of Ken’s family almost as long as I’ve known Ken. I’ve become part of that family through the years and when I talked with one of Ken’s sons over the phone during my visit he still called me Uncle Sam. It was going to be great having Tom along.

Here’s a picture of the bait house where we started our day.

There is a public boat launch across the street, next to what was once The Flagship Marina and Restaurant. The building is still standing but the docks that were once filled to capacity with boats are now just a bunch of pilings thanks to Hurricane Jeanne that swept through this area last year. An ominous reminder of the force of the storm predicted to come this way in just a few short days.


As we headed out from the public boat ramp, the sky to the south showed the first hints of the rain bands that would make their way here as a result of Wilma heading this way. These bands were predicted to pass us to the south and we would have fair but partly cloudy weather for the day.

Ken is a director of information and technology for a major manufacturer in Vero Beach. His department would carry the weight of getting all the communications and computing capabilities back up and running in the event of a major storm. The corporation was holding an emergency-planning meeting that morning and Ken would join the meeting from the boat via a conference call using his Blackberry Palm type computer/cell phone. That’s Ken’s dad, Tom, fishing behind him while he’s on the conference call.

As the meeting ended, I caught the first fish of the day and was off to a good start to win almost all categories in our never-ending personal fishing tournament. Even though Ken won yesterday, this would not sit well with my competitive friend.

Then Tom caught an unusual inshore catch, a Scamp. It’s part of the grouper family.

While we fished, an Osprey circled overhead for the longest time fishing the same area we were. He was there so long I was able to snap this picture. Ospreys are fish hawks and are excellent at catching fish for their sustenance. They are truly magnificent creatures and I love to watch them any chance I get.

I went on to catch this mangrove snapper, otherwise known as a gray snapper. Another unusual inshore catch to round the day out.

We knocked off fishing and went back to the Wabasso State Park beach where Ken and I swam the day before. I was able to get a picture of the wood storks that live in and around the parking lot there. The birds are interesting to look at and to watch the social behavior within the flock.

After our swim, it was back to Captain Hirams for lunch and some adult beverages. The bartended was kind enough to take this shot of the three of us.

We didn’t have the same bartender as the day before, but she was every bit as friendly and eager to keep those margaritas flowing.

After lunch, we went to explore one of the islands that dot this part of the waterway. I think Tom wants to come back and live like Robinson Carusoe on this one. I don’t blame him; it was really a neat place.

On the backside of the island, a line of trees was still in the same position they landed when Jeanne came through here last year and knocked them down.

The root systems were huge and we enjoyed playing and having pictures taken in them.

Ken reads this journal regularly and he really enjoyed the Horizons game I played a while back. He wanted to do a horizons type picture for this entry so, here is Ken standing at a point on the horizon.

I waded out and handed Ken the camera and he turned the camera back to show you were I was standing to take the horizon shot.

I had a final beer as I waded around and soaked in the ambience and the friendship. I counted my blessing. Even though I would have to cut this trip short, I had more fun and relaxation in those two days than I had had in years. To be back in the company of my best friend and his family was an experience I will have to always remember and I am thankful.

I left the next morning and beat the bumper to bumper traffic that would follow me the next day. Hurricane Wilma passed over this area on Monday instead of Sunday as was originally predicted and hit Vero Beach with sustained winds even more powerful than Jeanne the previous year.

I finally got through to Ken on his Blackberry Tuesday night and learned that the family made it through okay with only minor damage to his house. The company that he works for sustained significant damage and Ken would be working around the clock for many days to come to restore communications and computer networks.

We had those two days and, for a while, we were transported back to a time when we fished every week and explored Islands every weekend.


fchgrl said...

Whew..glad you decided to go home early! Your short vacation sounds wonderful and relaxing. Isn't friendship grand!  Between your great pics and your words it felt almost like a proxy vacation for this workaholic...LOL


ally123130585918 said...

Sam I did so enjoy your Horizons game - and this entry has the same flavour, I like to view pictures as if looking at them thro the eye's of the person who took them...because they are their Horizons....(do'es that make sense)....You were wise to leave early, and beat the traffic jams - Dick and I had this never-ending competition when we fished, needless to say he wiped the decks with me....Gosh the tree roots are huge....That must have been some hurricain to have uprooted them....Tell Ken I enjoyed his Horizons....could we have more on your next holiday...Take care....Ally

csandhollow said...

You look so relaxed! I am glad that you had a good time.

onemoretina said...

    Hey there, Sam !! Thanks for the vacation story and pictures.  It was fun to
' go along for the ride ' with you... I enjoyed it.  And soooo glad to hear that you had such a nice, relaxing time, despite the fact that your trip was cut short.  Now, there's a great reason to go back soon, isn't it ?   Take care, Tina

judithheartsong said...

wonderful post Dear Sam. judi

judithheartsong said...

so glad it was catch and release:):):) judi

bosoxblue6993w said...

boy ... this would make a great short story

blondepennierae said...

I'm so happy to see you back among us.  The lights are dim when we don't have your talk.  What an adventure you had.  Sorry your vacation was cut short.  Pennie

bvaneps834 said...

glad you had a good time and very glad you are back--great pictures too, Barb

jevanslink said...

Great pictures!!!  You look like Hemingway fishing the Keys.  I'd love to know how all those fish tasted.  Mrs. L

ltcjan said...

So.....What did you do with the rest of your time off?

robinngabster said...

SO where were all the big fish hiding?  Looking like this journal is getting a little racey with all those shirtless pics! LOL!  :)

jlocorriere05 said...

Love the photos, sounds like you had a great time with Ken. Those fallen trees on the beach look just like the ones I took photos of in Borneo back in March this year. Jeannette.

deveil said...

man this looks like fun!  I'm ready for a Robinson Cruesoe kind of place myself.   Awesome!  Good seeing you at the Vivi's last night.


belfastcowboy75 said...

I enjoyed day 2 just as much as day 1, Sam. If you want to stay in the fishing mode, come and see my Nov. 5.

billandnae said...

Is there any possible way you can squeeze me into your suitcase one of these days?  I haven't left Pennsylvania in I can't tell you how long.

~Envious Nae

madcobug said...

Sounds like a fun day on day2. Those tree stumps already look like driftwood.
Great pictures and glad all of you had a fun day. You did a good job telling of all the fun. Helen

mutualaide said...

Sam!  Terrific entry and love the photos!  You were just where I'd like to be on any given day.  Little islands to explore and lots of ocean!  Fish didn't look to bad either.  Yes, Sam, I have finally resolved the camera one in hand.  Now I just have to learn how to navigate my way around it!  

my3gifts said...

I really love your entries, you write so well that it feels like we're there with you.

God Bless

ajoleblon said...

I'm not jealous!  I'm not jealous!  No, I'm not jealous.  That just did not look fun at all!  Maybe one day I'll learn how to enjoy stuff like that when I grow to be you.  LOL  Great pics !  I really enjoyed your entry!

piperacharmed1 said...

I'm glad you got to enjoy yourself before you had to go home. Looks as if you had alot of fun!


bedazzzled1 said...

Great pictures and what sounds to be an equally great time...even though the trip had to be cut short. Glad you returned (safely) feeling relaxed and content.

globetrotter2u said...

Looking at those trees, it is truly amazing how long it takes for a community to recover from hurricane damage. I visited Captiva Island about 4 months after Charlie went through it last summer. It was still a veritable mess. I returned in the spring and was relieved to see that although Captiva had rec'd a major haircut, the island looked happy and prosperous once again, and the Mucky Duck had it's usual share of sun happy Margarita lovers in spite of the red tide.
It is a shame that your trip was cut short, but you certainly packed in a great deal of fun, fish and happiness in those short 2 days! :)
I'm so glad for your friend's sake that Vero Beach was not affected by hurricanes to the same extent that it was last year.
PS: I am late returning emails to friends, Sam. I just wanted to say thank-you for missing me:):):)

sieblonde said...

le sigh.   The pictures are great!  I so miss the beach.  ~Sie

robinngabster said...

Been far too long since your last entry.  ;)