Alligator Light Dawn

Alligator Sunrise

Alligator Sunrise



Saturday, August 25, 2007


 Charting Summary:  Charting is very brief this trip as we stayed at the Breezy Palms Resort at Mile Marker 80 in Islamorada.  Alligator Light is viewable from the dock there about three miles directly offshore. Due to a rainy weekend we made the one trip out and probably caught the best light of the weekend.

 Saturday 8.25.07 Detail:

We left our slip at about 5am significantly pre-dawn. And, in fact on our path out to the lighthouse it was so inky black that I was anxious for cloud definition and didn’t feel comfortable until I did see that. It is my belief that humans do not naturally feel comfortable going into dark voids. With no horizon, no perspective, I hadn’t even the sense whether the ocean was rough or flat. Raymond did a good job getting through the shallows with only pvc pipes stuck in the bottom for markers..something I did not fully appreciate until our return when I could see rocks breaking the surface in the low tide. As we made our way out to sea a large yacht was heading towards shore and us, its bright beam rather urgently flicking back and forth searching for the channel markers nearby. It probably seemed more monstrous than it was coming out of the dark towards us. After it passed it was just us, the slapping water and our own white navigation light illuminating things.

Mother nature was putting on a significant light show to the east where the sun would be coming up and off to the west.  As the overpowering cloudly shapes made themselves manifest hopes for light seemed as obscure as the cloud coverage itself. Thinking it might be a lost effort, we waited to see what would happen when the lights were turned on. You never really know what breaks might happen. Even Alligator Light itself remained asleep and sent out no comforting beams.

The clouds did open for a lovely dawn. Pictures to the east captured a great anvil cloud form and the sun coming up in its curvature with streaming light cut by cloud projections in its way. My favourite view and shots  were of  very soft, lovely side lit clouds to the east warmed a bit by the glow and standing out against the dark blue sky and ocean. Majestic columnar forms seemed to line up and march along the horizon constantly evolving in a beautiful play of light, color and shadow.  The metal structure of  Alligator Light stood out against this display as it has for over 100 years against far worse than peach and magenta glory. It wasn’t long before the clouds closed back up and the balance of the day was rainy. After breakfast, I made good use of the early afternoon by napping while thunder boomed outside.

The Alligator Light is not named for any particular Florida fauna, but rather a ship which went down on the reef. You will see it is similar to others constructed in the mid to late 1800’s like Carysfort and Sombrero.

Additional detail: This trip we had two difficulties..three if you count being nearly rained out….the dock at Breezy Palms is very shallow and the ramp is not the best. A resort management man used his 4 wheel drive truck to pull us out at low tide. We also locked our keys in the vehicle and needed a Sunday locksmith rescue to get back in. But, we were undaunted by these events and felt we had a great trip. Need to explore different ramps.

~ by Judy on August 25, 2007.

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