Friday, October 18, 2019

Feeling the Whine... and the Vulture Story

I am back at McDonald's in Key Largo this morning October 18th.  I only have two more days here and I can't wait.

But before I get to the whining, let me tell you about the vultures.

I had vultures in the title of my last post, but ran out of blog time before I got to the story of the vultures.

On Wednesday October 16th I was up before daylight and I packed up in the dark.  Once I turned the corner off the Timiami Trail (Highway 41) and headed south toward the Keys I was in territory that was new-to-me.  The road wasn't as rural as I expected and was mostly just a two lane road with lots of construction.

I figured I will never get down this way again, so I should check out Flamingo.  I had wanted to go to Flamingo since I heard about the trip my bike group took there years before George and I moved here.  They had biked the road passing many gator.

I stopped at the visitors center on the road to Flamingo and asked if I would see Flamingo there.




No, the ranger told me.  There are no Flamingos in Flamingo.  Ahh, well, then, why go?  It is a long drive and I had been thinking I would see the pink birds on stilts.

I went to the next visitors's center that was only four miles down the road.

When I pulled in the lot I was amazed to see so many vulture.  There were three groups of them.  Two groups were fighting over two different blue tarps on the ground.  They were tugging and grunting and hopping and flapping
.





I grabbed my camera and walked toward them.  I saw a car with a blue tarp on it and I wondered if there was dead body in the car and that was why there were so many vultures here.


I took pictures and video.  Then I turned around and there were four or six vultures on my car.  They were tugging on the rubber around my windshield!



I chased them away and then ran back and grabbed one of the tarps they were fighting over and covered my vehicle.


I did a quick walk of the board walk, but I was worried about my car.  What else might they want to eat?

When I returned to the parking lot I chased the vultures that were liking something underneath one of the cars in the lot.  And I stuffed a tarp under there.

I chased them away from another car, but then I realized I would be chasing all day.  I found out there was a bin of tarps provided by the Visitors' Center.   So when a couple of women pulled up I told them about the tarps and the vultures.

As I drove out of the lot I passed a convertible.  There were seven vultures pecking and pulling at the canvas roof.

What surprises me when I think back is that the Visitor's Center provided tarps but did not have any big signs warning visitors.  Strange.

Now I was done with the road to Flamingo.  I set off for John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo.




After I set up camp I texted the Sisters on the Fly event host.  She had offered to take me to a beach as a beginner snorkeler and give me some instruction.

Gail lives in an airport neighborhood.  Simple homes with big drives with room for boats and planes and cars.  All the houses face the grass runway.


Gail told me that she had 60% cancellation for the event, so there will only be a few women here for the Sister's event.

The beach she took me to had lots of Jelly fish that looked like lace doilies setting on floor of the sea.  It was scary for me to float over them, worried that I might have to step down.  Gail said it was good for me because when you are swimming over the coral reefs you should never put your feet down.  You harm the reef when you do that and could get injured too.


It is very hot.  Sometimes I wake in the tent and I am covered in sweat.  There is no breeze. 



 The next morning I rode my trike to the beach at John Pennekamp to try some more snorkeling.  There is a point when the gentle slope of the sea floor drops and there is nothing there.  I can't see a thing.  No fish, no nothing.  I was terrified.  I swam back to where I could see the sandy floor again.
 

 And there may be crocodiles in these waters!  Crocodiles are much more aggressive and dangerous than alligators.




Now I don't want to do this.  I want to give up and go home.

I am making excuses.   It is hot, I am tired of traveling, I am tired of the mosquitoes and the no-see-um.  Am I talking myself out of jumping off the boat into the dark and scary ocean?

Probably.


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