"" Writer's Wanderings: February 2020

Friday, February 28, 2020

Friday Funny

One day while fishing with my young teenaged grandson who is a Florida resident we watched as a kayak came our direction. It had a mom with two young children in it, the littlest asleep in her lap. I marveled at her ability to be able to paddle over the top of his head without getting him wet and waking him up.

Behind her a ways was her teenaged daughter on a paddle board. I couldn't be sure if she was on her phone texting or just studying her hands for a moment but she was falling farther and farther behind.

Suddenly she called out in a panic. "Mom! Mom! There's a whale swimming under me!"

My grandson burst into a fit of laughter. I thought he might fall in. We both knew what she'd seen. A manatee!

He was just about done with his bout of laughing when the girl cried out again. "It's okay Mom! It's just a seal!"

Another bout of laughing and then he turned to me. "Should we tell her?" he said, I'm sure dying to impart his knowledge of the Florida Bay.

"Naw," I said. "She'll figure it out sooner or later."

Monday, February 24, 2020

Monday's Mulling

Three chapters of Secrets Among The Shamrocks are begun. I'm just getting into the story. It takes a while to feel the story develop. So far I'm taking you to Ireland--of course! To a town called Dingle, or rather just outside that town to a castle (fictional).

The town of Dingle does exist however and was one of my favorite stops on our driving trip around Ireland several years ago. I posted about our stay there: Dingle--The Town, The Bay and Fungie! I remember our beautiful Bed and Breakfast there that sat up on a hillside overlooking the bay.

I'll let you read the post to find out about Fungie.

While there may or may not be an actual castle outside of town, there is in my story. The castle's name? Shamrock! Oh what secrets will I find?

Monday, February 17, 2020

What Happens After A Full Moon In Florida Bay?

Each time there is a full moon while we are in Florida we spend the next three or four nights going out for the light show in the waters of the Florida Bay. I've posted several times about this phenomena of nature and I will give the particulars a little later in this post but I did get a couple of good photos this time on my phone. Unfortunately, when I picked my camera up this last time, the battery was too low and I had to give up.

Here's the story behind the little critters that light up in the water after the full moon:

The first time we saw this phenomenon during our stay in Key Largo  was in January as we were walking in the evening after dark and I noticed something that looked shiny in the water. I thought it was a reflection of something or a piece of foil in the water. It went out and then returned a few minutes later and I realized that between a few strands of floating sea grass there was a small worm-like creature wiggling and glowing a bright green. 

Curiosity aroused, I began asking around about the glowing worm and no one seemed to know what it was. In the Bahamas some years back, we saw glowing jelly fish in the water but this was not a jelly fish. It was definitely a worm or very thin fish.
As time went on, we didn't see any more. Then someone else began asking about the glowing worms in the water. At least I knew now I wasn't the only who had seen them but when we returned to look again at dark we found nothing.

Finally one of our new friends found a link to a study about Bermuda fire worms. The description fit what we had seen. It said that the glowing, or bio luminescence, had to do with the mating that took place every month just after the full moon. When we discovered the date of the next full moon, there was quite a group of us gathered on the dock to see the fire worms.

The peek time is three days after the full moon and 57 minutes after the sun has set. The female rises to the surface and emits a bright green mucus that attracts the male who also emits a glowing mucus. The mucus apparently contains the cells necessary for reproduction. The phenomenon lasts only about thirty minutes and then the worms disappear again. 

On the peek night in March, the waters were calm and we could see little worms lighting up all over the place--sort of like the fireflies of summer at home.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Mooned By An Osprey!

The Overseas Highway (Rte 1) takes us to the mainland any time we need to pick up or drop off a grandchild. While Key Largo doesn't seem like an island, technically it is and is the first in the line of islands that extends to Key West--all of which are connected by the Overseas Highway.

There is an exit just north of the bridge that spans Surprise Lake you can take to go to the Yacht Club and a couple of restaurants below. We take the ramp down and then continue onto the ramp back up again to the highway but as we do, we slow to a stop and check in on the osprey nest that is visible from there.

The up ramp gives you a view directly in line with the nest and this time of year the osprey pair are either sitting on their eggs or feeding hungry mouths. This year they seem to have built the nest a little higher around the edges so it's a little harder to see if there are any hatchlings inside yet.

Maybe there's a good reason that they built the walls of the nest higher. Perhaps they are tired of being spied on. I know that there are several other people with cameras who stop there on their way up and down the highway. Why do I suspect they want more privacy? Because as I was lining up my shot and just as I pressed the shutter, the osprey stood and mooned me.

Now my fellow photographer, to whom I showed my picture, laughed and said I was lucky I wasn't any closer. I would have been the recipient of more than just a moon shot. Wonder if he was speaking from experience?

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Snow Moon In South Florida?

This is not the picture of the full moon I hoped to get this past weekend. Believe it or not we had three days in a row of cloudy weather when the moon was expected to be full. So I settled for the almost full moon picture I took on Thursday.

I was a bit disappointed. After all this was supposed to be one of those spectacular moons, the snow moon, as it is called. Yes, even in Florida it is labeled a snow moon. Maybe that's to remind all of us snowbirds of what we left behind up north. Of course the three gray days almost had me wondering if I'd returned home somehow--wondering that is until I opened the door and felt the warm air. I was relieved and by Monday, the sun was shining again.

Of course now that we've had the full moon, we will be looking for those bioluminescent little worms that pop up after the sunset for the next couple of days. I love the wonder that God has created.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Books For The Road - Twenty-One Days

Starting on my reading list for 2020. I find I have to list the books I read so that I don't reread one accidentally. I hate starting a book and getting to the third chapter only to realize I've read it before. I also find that too often I stick with the same authors. It's safe. I know I'll get a good read but it doesn't make for a diverse reading list. I have been trying to expand my reading experience and I happened upon a new author for me and a book called Twenty-One Days.

The author, Anne Perry, takes the reader back to 1910 and London and introduces us to a young barrister who is just beginning his career. Coming off a successful case where he's proved a man innocent with a last minute forensic check he is handed a case that also seems a loser. Daniel Pitt will uncover evidence that just may involve his father who is head of London's Special Branch (think CIA-like). He will have 21 days to exonerate his client but the question is will it hurt his father?

It's  great read and one that would be great to tuck into your suitcase or just curl up with on a snowy day.

Monday, February 03, 2020

Manatees Ho!

After quite a Friday night of lightening, thunder and rain, I woke early to a very calm Bay with the wispy sky of dawn displaying a pink and purple tinge that indicates the sun is rising oceanside behind me. I love these kind of mornings especially when I am blessed to glimpse some of the busyness of nature in front of me.

As I was reading, I caught movement in the water out of the corner of my eye. At first I thought it was just some rogue waves from a passing boat of fishermen but a few moments later I realized what it really was that caught my eye. Manatees!

We usually see them in passing as they go by our dock area in search of greener areas of grassy seaweed. They survive in brackish water by managing to find fresh water springs that feed into the saltier water. Here's a link to another post I did a few years ago about manatees and one that actually played with our kayak.

It was a bit of a blue/gray morning with rain expected to return but I decided to go down on the dock and sit and watch as the manatees spent their morning feeding. It was very relaxing. I could hear them exhale as they surfaced to take another breath and then disappear again. I would see a nose and sometimes a head pop up. I finally counted five different ones when they all surfaced almost together. I think one may have been a little one.

When rain threatened, I headed back inside, thankful for my peaceful morning encounter.

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