Current Location: Indian Pass Campground, Port Saint Joe, Florida
Brilliant sun and 61 degrees F at 2PM and still windy
We are enjoying the sun, sitting in the MoHo catching up on a few things after a lovely walk on the beach. I am impatient. I really want to get over to St Vincent Island today, since rain is again predicted for tomorrow and we are leaving this lovely little campground on Friday morning.
I can tell we are slowing down, settling into Florida time, when I can’t quite be sure what day we did something or the other. Days have been slow, and after breakfast one or the other or both of us take Mattie for a walk on the beach. We relax and fiddle a bit, and then decide mid day that it is time to do something.
On Monday, with a break in the weather, and winds at only 12 knots, we decided we could take a chance and get the boats in the water at last. The bay side of the peninsula where our campground is located is shallow, and somewhat protected from the worst winds. Or so we thought.
Still, we are stubborn if nothing else, and with brilliant sunshine did not want to wait another day to go kayaking. We decided to wait for better conditions before driving the many miles to Tate’s Hell and Cashie Creek, so this was our alternative. Close to home and hopefully easy enough for our maiden Florida voyage this year.
As I mentioned, the bay is shallow, more so around the areas where vegetation emerges from the shallow oyster beds that were waiting to rip apart a boat if you got too close. It required a bit of crazy navigation to avoid them as we rounded the point of the peninsula into the lagoon, but there were a few white posts that marked the way. We learned to pay attention to them.
It was a simple outing. A few birds, brown pelicans, some ducks, and some other unidentifiable feathers that were hard to even think about trying to photograph in the rocking boats. I managed to get a few phone photos and didn’t even bother trying to get out the big camera which spent the entire trip locked up in the waterproof pelican case.
The next morning dawned dank and foggy, but not particularly cold. We knew it was supposed to rain, but the heaviest rain was predicted for later in the day so we had our usual slow morning then decided to go exploring again.
Yes, the windshield is very dirty in the Tracker
This time the winds were low enough that we could manage the drive back through Apalachicola, across the bridge, and over the long bridge to St George Island. The big draw for us on this particular day was the fact that all the beaches on the island are happy dog beaches. Stopping in at the Visitor Center to ask about this, we were told that Mattie could be of leash on the beach anywhere that we felt comfortable. Wow. A big difference from most of Florida where dogs aren’t allowed on the beaches even with leashes.
There are beautiful wild places on St George Island, but not where we could visit them. The State Park on the eastern end of the island is closed until March 1, due to the hurricane damage from Michael. Instead, we took the boardwalk right near the center of town out to the beach and just started walking.
There are many houses along the beach, all along the Gulf side, but on this foggy, windy day, the beach was nearly empty. Still, it was actually warm, with temperatures in the 70’s, and I had a hard time equating the murky, foggy skies with these warm temperatures. It just seemed strange. No such thing as warm fog on the Oregon Coast.
We celebrated our long walk with an ice cream cone from the central tourist shop, and had to eat it fast to keep it from melting in the warmth. We then drove some of the side roads around the island, both gulf side and bay side. There are many places to access the beach, with each road leading to a public access area, but very few places to access the bay side. The only kayak launching site was right by the main bridge entering the island from the north.
As we returned home through Apalachicola toward Port Saint Joe, the foggy skies opened up to huge cumulus thunder clouds, and by the time we got back to the campground the skies were black and crazy and the winds were blowing hard. It rained all night and the sounds of the wind and rain on the roof were wonderful, but didn’t portend for another great day ahead.
This morning we woke with thoughts of kayaking, but where. It was still windy when we woke, but the sun kept coming out and I made repeated forays to the boat launch to try to see if we could get out on the channel. Nope. Whitecaps. I finally asked a neighbor camper, a nice woman with a couple of kayaks who we met out fishing on our day on the lagoon, and she went with me and said, “Nope, I wouldn’t tackle it right now. See those whitecaps over there? That is where the current is really strong, and combined with the wind it can really tip you over easily.”
Ah well, then. I guess my dream of kayaking over to St Vincent Island isn’t going to happen. Makes me all grumpy inside, and then I realize that if I am so attached to going over there, it would probably be a bust anyway. It would be cold, or windy, or the beach would be all torn up, and who knows what else. I will just have to imagine St Vincent Island as the wild place it is without me on it.
We had a few lovely walks today along the beach, wide open with no people for most of the way, and Mattie could run to her heart’s content. That is what it is all about anyway, beach walking and a happy dog.