Carysfort & Boca Chita & why tuna tacos are off my menu

Saturday & Sunday 07.15/16.06

Mission: Shoot Carysfort Light and return to Boca Chita 

Charting Summary: 

Saturday evening: From Rock Ledge Resort on Key Largo

            Took the ICW around Pigeon Key to Tavernier Creek

            Under the US 1 Bridge, went up ½ mile and returned at sunset

 Sunday:

Leg I-Left Rock Ledge at 10am going North on the ICW to Angel Fish Creek

             East through Angel Fish Creek to Carysfort Light via Turtle Rock

 Leg II-Carysfort Light to Boca Chita Key past the Turtle Rocks through Angel Fish Creek

            Continuing North on the ICW to Cutter Bank approaching Boca Chita from the South at

            Markers 4 & 3 at the east end of feather bed bank.

 Leg III-Boca Chita Light across to Black Point Marina staying on the north side of the bank leaving. Boca Chita to Black Point used “Mt. Trashmore” as a visual aid. Took on 43 gallons of fuel at Black Point Marina..also tea and a snack of soup

 Leg IV-Black Point Marina to Rock Ledge

Direct marker 8 entrance to Cutter Bank south bound on the ICW through Card Sound, Card Bank, Little Card Sound, Barnes Sound, Blackwater Sound, Tarpon Basin,  and Button Wood Sound. Rock Ledge is off Marker 60 to the left. 

Our second log entry reflects a second late departure!! Leaving the world behind for even a weekend is always a challenge. Things just want to pull you back.  We left Lighthouse Point with The Inner Tube a.k.a. Janthina in tow at approx 1pm, stopped by Boat US for some things, and proceeded down to Key Largo. The drive was lengthened a bit by a long wait on Key Largo due to the widening of the road at the bridge. Traffic was at an absolute standstill with people getting out of their cars to take a peek up ahead. When we finally got going we saw construction equipment but nothing to explain the lengthy delay. As we had not had lunch yet a stop on Key Largo sounded good We chose a place we’d enjoyed once before when scoping out their marina for weekend dockage. As it was they were preparing the place for upcoming dinner and so we had the place nearly to ourselves..alone in the airconditioned inside with a few patrons at the outside tables we deemed too hot. I ordered Tuna Tacos with the tuna medium rare as I prefer it with Raymond ordering another dish. When I was about three quarters through the meal I swallowed one bite of tuna that really seemed off.  I made mental note if it hoping that it didn’t mean anything as the meal to that point had been delicious.

We arrived at our destination at about mile marker 95.3 Rock Ledge Resort. Raymond checked us in and we scoped out the lay of the dock and boat ramp for the launch of the rib for an early evening ride. The resort itself is very traditional old Florida Keys in style, feel, and age actually!! The building featured a pleasant pink color with white doors each door having it own form of sealife art. The rooms were efficiencies complete with a fridge, kitchen, and tv…worn but clean. We had a double bed with a single Bahama Bed arrangement under the front window. The property occupies a rather elongated lot with a long walkway running along the building to the dock. The boat ramp is not sloped at a very acute angle and so is a little awkard at low tide. Additionally, there is a big sandy patch just preceeding the ramp which made it a bit of an adventure for some of the trucks to leave with their boat.  We had no trouble with our launch and loaded the camera, tripod and some cold drinks. My stomach was beginning to grumble a little and I was feeling a bit strange, but the forward motion of the rib felt wonderful and the wind in our faces felt like the beginning of adventure. I took a few pictures but mostly we looked at the passages, the markers and the mangrove islands taking note of the little Blue and White miniature lighthouse at the neighboring property as we left. The sky was beautiful especially on the return when the sun was in the final stages of descent. We did misjudge our return in that we turned in at a miniature Red and White lighthouse putting us a little too north of our destination and in the middle of a no drive zone!! But, we pulled in to our home dock just in time for sunset. I was unable to set up the camera with the telephoto lens in time to catch the sun  touch the horizon but it was beautiful to see. I saw no green flash (ever hopeful) but the sun just flowed like molten gold onto the surface of the sea before diminishing entirely below the horizon. The end of the boat on the ramp side was shaped like an L so Raymond was able to tie up the rib so that she floated in its crux without touching the dock at all. Abrasion is a big issue for inflatable craft. 

Although I stayed long enough to shoot the dock at night with some fellow resort mates silhouetted against fading colors, I was feeling more noticeably wierd.   A headache was brewing and my eyes felt heavy as if the world was closing in. With some alacrity I went to the room to get comfortable and shower. Raymond headed out to the store for morning coffee and some supplies. It seemed like seconds after I stepped out of the shower that everything turned against me. The headache bloomed to tremendous proportions and the ensuing upset stomach set the stage for an evening of abject misery. When Raymond arrived I sent him out for Alka-Seltzer but it was already too late. There was no salvation to be had. My only comment is that by the end (no pun) my pipes were clean enough for a colonoscopy!! I know about these things having had my first this year. Sheer heaven is when you can lie down in bed and drift off to sleep. 

Our planned sunrise departure Sunday was just a tad delayed on account of the aforementioned events. However, I awoke to a beautiful, sultry summer morning in the Keys. The air was sweet and the sea beckoned. After coffee was tenderly put down the hatch, supplies and camera equipment for the day were organized, and we jumped in the boat and were off. 

The above charting summary describes our routing. I used my polarizer on the 17-40mm lens for the first time and marveled over and over at the intensity of the colors and how the clouds popped out when seen through my viewfinder. You could just be satisfied with the drama of sea, horizon, sky and clouds! The approach to Carysfort Light was great fun. The shallow waters were crystal and the lighthouse itself was a pleasant surprise. I knew little about the number of reef lighthouses present along the Florida coast to Key West. Many, like this one, are named for vessels which met a sudden demise in the coral encrusted shallows. Carysfort I later found was built in 1852 and is named for the HMS Carysfort; it is the oldest lighthouse of its kind in the United States. It loomed above with its metal rust red structure and white lantern room.  Within the lantern room a  red gel  marks the side with the “red zone”. It was fun to shoot and to try and get it with the moist summer clouds behind it and the sweep of shallow water with the bottom visible through it.

After leaving Carysfort we cruised our way to Boca Chita. Turkey Point made an imposing view which might be nice to shoot sometime. Our approach to  Boca Chita was with much more confidence than the first time. Familiarity is a good thing when it comes to shallow water obstacles. Neighboring Elliot Key on a Sunday afternoon is crowded by colorful sailboats which line the key in fantastic numbers. We pulled into the little basin on Boca Chita and made use of the wonderful facilities there. This is not to say that we seafaring types don’t take immense pride in being able to “hack it” you know. I wandered around and took more pics of the light making great use of the polarizer. Got another crack at the shot through the coral gates with stronger lighting than our post sunset pic last time.

At last we hastened toward home  but the call for fuel could not be delayed. We headed to Black Point with that purpose in mind and encountered more traffic of returning day boats and fishing boats than I could ever have imagined. Fully expecting the scene to be set for a case of ramp rage from a sunburned, beer consuming, tired and irritable he-man boater, I was surprised by everyone’s patience, helpful and courteous demeanor. Nice to be wrong sometimes!! But the line was not for us as we breezed past the ramps to the fuel dock in the interior of the marina. $139.00 later we were sitting at a table in the Black Point Marina restaurant having some lovely cool tea and a light snack of soup and crackers. Then off past the continuing stream of inbound boat traffic and out toward Key Largo. 

Once back at dock I couldn’t resist another pic or two of the rib tied up, then clean up and decide on dinner. We ate at the Lorelei which is much changed after Wilma I guess. The restaurant itself is gone, and the dock areas completely rebuilt. After 10  hours crusing, listening to a live band playing oldies and enjoying  a bite on good old terra firma was a treat. Our adventure was wrapped up with our early Monday morning drive straight to the office. Traffic-wise, it was a fine time to leave the Keys rather than Sunday evening. Our MO for future trips will be a) do a split weekend stay so that a Monday or even a Tuesday am return is planned and b) never eat medium rare tuna tacos ever again!!

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~ by Judy on July 16, 2006.

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