The Florida Keys – Day 4

Sailing in the Atlantic – Bahia Honda Key, Florida

We went further afield on the fourth day of our visit, taking the kayaks with us down to Bahia Honda Key – which is one of the first places in Florida where we had tent camped together many years before. There we initially put both kayaks in the water, but it was too rough and windy for Cindy’s smaller kayak, so we pulled hers out and went on with just the bigger trimaran. Even then – compared to the mild and placid conditions on the Gulf side – we were really tossed about in the much rougher sea state of the Atlantic. We sailed up and down the coastline, put into the beach when we tired of the constant thrashing we were receiving, then sailed in the Atlantic some more, before finally deciding that we’d taken enough of a beating and headed back to the launch ramp for the day.

Cindy’s video doesn’t show it, but our sailing trimaran caught the interest of two no-nonsense border patrol officers, and they really gave us and the big kayak a lengthy and detailed examination, peppered throughout with lots of questions. Not ever having received that kind of attention from law enforcement before, I was a bit concerned about all of the focus we were getting from them – but they eventually were satisfied and moved on with their patrolling.

We didn’t take much in the way of photos on this day, simply because the conditions were so rough on the Atlantic side.

Photo info:
Video taken with a Sony waterproof digicam

The Florida Keys – Day 3

Launching the kayaks – Grassy Key, Florida

Day 3 began with a brief torrential downpour of rain, just as I was beginning to launch the kayaks for the day. But that was okay – the rain didn’t last long and the squall blew out to sea quickly. As I was getting the kayaks prepped for the day of activities that we had planned, a visitor showed up – a black spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura similis)! I had no idea they had lizards that large in the Keys, but then again this was our first visit where we were up close and personal with nature.

Unexpected friend – Grassy Key, Florida

Once we had both kayaks out on the water together for the first time, I went sailing all over the place, while Cindy went slowly exploring the shoreline with her underwater camera, as you can see in the video below.

With another fun day behind us, we returned to the resort and pulled the kayaks from the water, just as more rain squalls moved in for the evening.

End of the day – Grassy Key, Florida

I do love the water down there in the Keys. There is abundant life all around and never a dull moment if you’re into nature like we are.

Just after sunset – Grassy Key, Florida

Photo info:
All photos taken with an Apple iPhone 5S
Video taken with a Sony waterproof digicam

Godspeed, Astronaut Michael Collins

Apollo 11 astronaut, Michael Collins – Photo credit: NASA

I just learned that a childhood hero of mine, Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, has died today of cancer at the age of 90. I remember watching the Apollo 11 moon mission on a black and white television at a friends house when I was 8-years-old, and wondering what would happen to Michael Collins if the Lunar Excursion Module Eagle didn’t make it back to the Command Module Columbia, where Collins was patiently waiting for his crew mates to safely return. Later I read his 1974 memoir, Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journeys, and was even more impressed with him.

Even though he eventually left NASA and became the Director of the National Air and Space Museum, and later became the Undersecretary of the Smithsonian – he was always quietly competent and didn’t seek the limelight, qualities that I greatly respect.

I last saw him in person at the Newseum in Rosslyn, Virginia, during the taping of the 30th anniversary special that was hosted there. The video from that event is below.

I had always hoped to see him one last time – which sadly was not meant to be.

Godspeed, Michael Collins.