Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Paddling into Sunset on Florida Bay

Friday January 31, 2014
Flamingo Campground
Everglades National Park, Florida




It’s a fog shrouded morning.  


There’s a mystical other worldly feel.  Not a sound as I leave Winnona and walk over to the shore of Florida Bay.  The clouds in the sky are pink until just before the sun comes up.  It’s a beautiful magical time.  I love it every morning.














It’s also a birding morning


Although it rained again last night, at Eco Pond the mosquitoes weren’t SO bad this morning.  And there were more spoonbills.  They seem to be everyone’s favorites.  It’s the pink.   Not many birds are pink.   So there are a number of pictures of them today.

It’s still a little hazy when they fly in this morning.   At first I think it’s just the same pair that have been here on previous days but as I walk around the pond, I find a few more at each place I stop.  It appears their numbers are up to at least half a dozen or maybe more.   Still way down from last year but each year is different in both weather and birds.

I think how lucky am I to be able to walk from my campsite to a pond and see even one roseate spoonbill going about his daily activities.  I count it as one of my many blessings.









Another of my favorite birds at the pond is the black necked stilt.  This morning the light reflections make him look  like he’s up on even taller stilts.  











And you thought they were so sweet in their pink ballerina suits didn’t you?
Somebody’s getting a scolding.





Along the Guy Bradley Trail this morning in the one opening out to the bay I find the willets, the little blue herons and a good look at the little mangrove island with an osprey nest out in the bay.









On the way back from the visitor center, there in his dead tree is the red shouldered hawk looking as handsome as ever.  He is such a regal and stately bird.  I never tire of watching him.  Looks like he has gotten a wet head.








This afternoon I actually get to sit out on the patio!  


The weather is so nice, the bugs are so few that we sit out on the patio and read for several hours.  I am thrilled.  This is one of my favorite  things to do.   Still not sure I’m brave enough for a mangrove paddle or hike but here on the patio things are fine. 





Do you think this Cuban Brown anole eats mosquitoes?  He’s been hanging around on the picnic table.  When I take his picture today he throws out his red throat but my camera is SO SLOW (grrrrrr) that it never can keep up with him.  He looks great though he is an introduced species, native to Cuba and the Bahamas.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission say that it was first observed in the Florida Keys in 1887 coming in on watercraft.  It’s all over Florida now.  They kindly let me borrow the second picture which my camera wouldn’t take but he looked just like that.  Kind of cool huh?  Sure ho9pe he eats mosquitoes.



Brown Anole




Our time is growing short here and we want to paddle once more before we leave.


Since I’m not willing to risk mosquitoes and we’ve proven that the bay is one place you can kayak without fear, we set out to go South this time along the bay and particularly to kayak to and around Bradley Key.   This is the “island” on which Guy Bradley’s body was found in his boat washed up there.

It’s been kind of a lazy day so it’s after 2:00 before we take the boats over to what I refer to as the sunrise shoreline, in the walking campground area, and launch them.


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How’s this for a waterfront campsite?   You can have it if you are willing to tote all your gear from the parking lot 100 yards away.





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Winter?  Where’s winter?


It’s a gorgeous day.  Birds are in the water, the sky and the trees.

















We head out further into the bay looking for Bradley Key.






There are several keys out there. We’ve looked at a map and it seemed easy to tell which one was Bradley but now we aren’t so sure.





The first key we pass doesn’t seem substantial enough to have been around since 1916 so we press on.





We think it’s this one so we decide to circumnavigate it in Bradley’s honor.










As we come around one end, David gets this great picture of the red mangrove roots reaching down and the cormorants high in the branches.







The water is calm sometimes the breeze creates ripples.  We while away the time as it is easy to do in a kayak on water.  









The afternoon is coming to a close but we aren’t ready to go yet.


In what seems like no time, we look at our watches and it’s only about 30 minutes until sunset.   Let’s just stay out and watch the sun set from the water.  Great idea.


Look at that bay, still as glass – almost.
A perfect day to be on Florida Bay.




While we are waiting I see a sailboat moored in the distance and decide I have time to paddle out and take a look.   I love sailboats.  I used Hobie Cats when I leaved a block from the ocean in Virginia Beach and once had a friend with whom I sailed to Catalina Island in a 27’ sail boat.  I’ve also talked to at least two different couples who full timed on their sailboat for quite a few years before coming back to land and an RV.   I think it would be wonderful.  


So I set off for the sail boat.  You can just barely see it to the left of the island farthest to the right in the picture below.



The light is just right to make it look like a magical boat as I get closer and closer.






I do rouse the captain who I know must think I’m up to no good at all as I circle his boat.  I yell “good evening, you have a beautiful boat”.  I’d like to ask if he needs any crew but………..




David paddles out behind me and catches my smile as I come back in time to see that the sun is setting behind a bank of clouds.







But look at the effects on the water. 


I solemnly promise these pictures have not been doctored in any way to enhance their beauty.   Even though we don’t get the big orange ball dropping into the sea that we had hoped for, this is a magical sunset.














This picture of David as night draws nigh is my favorite of the day.





It has been a magical day from sunrise to sunset.  


  1. Well? I was going to say .... looks like a magical day .. and you just said it ... ;) sigh

  2. You definitely had way too much fun!! I love that you stayed out with your kayaks for the sunset...beautiful!

    I love all the photos of the spoonbills. Boy, you got some gorgeous shots.

  3. I loved the early morning pictures.

  4. What a lovely post. A truly magical day, indeed.

  5. Beautiful sunrise and beautiful sunset! What more can you ask for?

  6. A very magical post indeed. I like the calm water you had to kayak in.

  7. Each picture kept getting better and better. You have the sharpest eye for nature's beauty, thank you for sharing. :c)

  8. Loved the picture of you in the kayak near sunset....A look of pure bliss.

  9. Love those sunrise pictures...something I rarely get since your eyes have to open when the sun actually comes up. I have sure enjoyed your Everglades posts....thanks. --Dave

  10. Absolutely gorgeous. Love the last one of David too.

  11. A day like that is what keeps drawing you back to Flamingo:o)) Wonderful photos!!!

  12. This was so encouraging, Sherry, I loved seeing you have such a gorgeous day on the water, sunrise, sunset, birds, glassy water. I loved it for you and David and I loved it for Mo and for me, since we will hopefully find days like this in our month long sojourn of Florida. So love that glassy water.

  13. A magical day, indeed! So grateful the nasty bugs left you alone enough to fully enjoy and appreciate the time on the water! If Winona's picture is correct, looks like you moved yesterday, so can't wait to see where you turn up next!!

  14. Sherry the sunset and sailboat shots look so magical...just beautiful.

  15. Magical indeed!! Really beautiful pics!!

  16. My favorite pictures are the one of you with the big smile on you face and the last one of David. Completely magical. Thanks~

  17. That is my kinda kayaking! Think that captain accepts bribes for a little sunset sail?? What fun!! Sure makes me miss the water...(sigh!)

  18. Absolutely beautiful, looks like a gorgeous day and paddle.

  19. I'm a wannbe fulltimer, looking at spring 2015. I'm also thankful for morning people who post pictures, because I'm not and I really can't see being retired and setting an alarm, I might some day.
    Your blog is great, I've read thru to your fathers 90th birthday and today just checked out your most recent posting. I'll proceed back into history and finish reading the rest.
    Thanks for sharing. I haven't gotten to that point yet. Enjoy the warm, No Calif is finally getting rain and I'm thrilled. We need it so badly.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Carlene aka WaianaeGal

  20. Where's winter? Why here in south Texas. Beautiful paddle ... love the sunset.

  21. You both look so happy! It's a wonderful world to enjoy - mosquitos and all!

    Virtual hugs,


  22. Glad you got some better weather. Great pics of some of my favorite birds and beautiful sunsets.

  23. How fabulous! Such beautiful colors - all of it looked so magical. That picture of you in the kayak is priceless :) Great bird photos too - the roseattes are just so pretty :)


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