Sometimes small adventures make big memories. Tales of exploration and the watery Florida landscape by Dean Robert Dietrich, who reminds himself daily to keep it casual.
Get in a taxi, drive away from the cruise ships, and then let the time-slowing peace of Cozumel wash over you.
Within the Keys archipelago there are countless winding channels, grass flats, and tidal creeks to explore. We paddled our way through just a few, and no, they weren’t the colorful coral reef ecosystems that most yearn to see, but they held our attention just as tightly.
After taking fifty steps on the windswept west side of Munjack Cay, I stopped abruptly and turned around. I saw that my footprints were the only ones on this side of the island.
Memory changes us, and good memories mold us into happy people. We create our own good memories by being open to change, and in the end we are what we remember.
The premise that surfers must yield territory to one another based on their skill level is about as valid as barring someone from the beach because they are wearing shoes and socks.
At one point, just before we all walked back to the parking lot, I trained my camera on some air plants high above me in an oak tree. I was composing and focusing and happened to look a few feet over to the right. There, completely unexpected, was a family of horned owls— the mother looking right at me.
If you have ever heard Sandhills call as they glide overhead on a cool fall day, you’ll probably agree that habitat conservation is good.
You should try it. Trust me, smelling an actual flower and looking at a picture of one in your Tumblr feed are not the same.
Navigation down through the Keys is so simple: follow the road south to the mile marker (MM) you want, and any stop you make will be either ocean side on the left, or bay side on the right.
Our day with Danger Charters would take place aboard the Sarah, a beautiful sixty-five foot Chesapeake Bay skipjack with a moveable centerboard. This allows the Sarah to sail into waters a shallow as three feet, perfect for a snorkeling trip. The weather that day was too calm for sailing, but perfect for lake-calm snorkeling in the protected waters off Key West.
I don’t remember if anyone was watching when I first stood up on a surfboard, but I do remember the joy— I still feel it every time.
It was also fitting that on March 22nd, World Water Day, I was on the island of Manhattan, surrounded by water and wading through a sea of people. We had some things we really wanted to see in New York, and many of them, curiously enough, were saturated with water and water imagery. Go figure.
It was a head-on collision between good intentions and bad planning, and the wreckage was everywhere.
Sometimes, only a short distance away and in the span of just a few hours, you can completely adjust your sense of well-being, and it can make you light on your feet for several days.
It is usually this time of year when my mind becomes unfocused. I blame it on the weather. Fall days in the subtropics are drier, cooler, and a bit shorter, although not as short as some of my snow-shoveling cousins experience up north and out west.
All trips begin with a list. Mine is usually short, simple, and stays in my head. My wife’s list is written, on paper, on her ever-present clipboard. I know, I know, "Buy her an iPad, you cheapskate."
I didn’t go paddling to look at birds. I was looking for alligators. But when the birds are out and the gators aren’t, well, then you look at birds.
As the volunteers donned their latex gloves and got sandy, I wandered through the crowd, clicking away with my camera. And that is when the guilt started.
Each time I go out to explore the nearby waters I am reminded that my impact can be lasting or largely invisible, and it is all up to me. I can either choose to be passive or choose to be active, but the end result should look like I was never even there.