Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Caine Mutiny and Other Snowbird Pursuits - Florida 2008

I guess it would be appropriate to elaborate on the title I chose for these three previous entries.

As a Sophomore, The Kid has been reading some books that require a little more thought than usual. Herman Wouk, another one of my favorite authors is a great story weaver and this trip to Florida we took 2 Herman Wouk books with us. One The Kid was reading, The Caine Mutiny: A Novel, is a story about an incident that happened during WWII. The Kid, in a conclusion essay, had decided to focus on an interesting character in the story, Captain Queeg, (a YouTube Video) and on the classic question one always asks about this novel, was Queeg's sanity questionable? I had my all time favorite Herman Wouk story with me, Don't Stop the Carnival: A Novel. This is a story about changes in attitudes and changes in latitudes, a theme I am rather fond of.

Rarely do we travel without purpose, and this year our trip to Florida was to kayak, but also to read these great books.

Our Kayak adventures in Southern Florida included a passage across the intracostal waterway to Don Pedro Island. This island is only accessible by boat and worth the effort.

A quite paddle on Red Lake near Caspersen beach. Red Lake is a home to abundant wildlife and if you're not careful, can dump you out into a very busy Florida intercostal waterway!

And after all the reading and paddling, we took time to walk the famous "sharktooth" beach.

Caspersen beach is where you can find sharks teeth on the beach. It used to be that you could find thousands in a walk, now you're lucky to find one. The word is out!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Caine Mutiny and Other Snowbird Pursuits - The Venice Beach Mooch

Florida 2008

Carl Hiassen is one of my favorite authors. He writes about all kinds of characters that can only be found in Florida and one of our favorite studies in Florida is people. The Kid and I love to watch people and the pier at Venice Beach seemed like just the place to do that.

It was 96 degrees, really hot for winter in Florida and the pier was a refreshing break from the heat of the sand. Generally the pier is crowded with tourists, but this day the fishermen were out enforce, including the Pelicans and Snowy Egrets. I am always amazed at the way critters manage to score a meal.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Caine Mutiny and Other Snowbird Pursuits - The Wakulla Kid

Florida 2008

A friend sent an email with just one link: A Hotel Built of Ice and Snow

Just for grins I nibbled and landed on:

ICEHOTEL (YouTube video) is situated in the village JukkasjÀrvi, 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden. The heart and backbone is the River Torne flowing freely through the unspoilt wilderness. Covered with a meter thick ice layer winter time the river is the source of all our art, architecture and design. The pure water and the steady movement of the river creates the clearest ice possible.

I have only been in Sweden twice. Once in Stockholm and that was basically civilized and the other time was in Lulea, in Northern Sweden, about 70 miles from the Arctic circle. That was a party. I went in June when it was daylight all day.

My friend has a warped sense of humor I suppose, especially since I had sent Valentines greetings from the sunny state of Florida...

The Kid and I have been kayaking in Florida, while temperatures in Ohio dipped to the teens and below. One of my good friends moved to Tallahassee and invited us down with the lure of a Manatee sighting in the Wakulla river. The Wakulla is situated near Tallhasse and is an intersting place. There is an awesome lodge that is on the National Register of Historic Places, a spring and a river that are crystal clear and an assortment of wildlife I thought was only reserved for the Everglades.

We launched kayaks in 90 degree weather with the hopes of seeing Manatees and after an hour paddle upriver, saw incredible birds, plantlife and alligators, each one bigger than the last one and no Manatees. Now as gators go, they really don't mess with you much because they'd rather sit in the sun - like us snowbirds, but this big fella was one I'd have tossed a beer as a peace offering if I had had one. Instead I told him if he posed real nice, I'd get him on Hollywood squares(a tale I reserve for really big gators).

Needeless to say The Kid didn't stick around for the photo opportunity.