Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Overnight In The Gulf

I spent the last two days out in the Gulf with some of my extended family. We stayed at one of only a handfull of Gulf "camps" still left on the water. A long time ago, when Florida wasn't so "busy", families on the Gulf coast would build simple wooden camps on stilts out in the quiet waters, just a short boat ride offshore. My wife's family had one for generations and she has wonderful childhood memories of fishing, swimming, and summers spent out at "camp".
State law no longer allows new camps to be built, but there are a few that have survived the annual storms. We were lucky enough to stay at one.
The reason for our camp stay was my lovely, sweet, smart niece's 17th birthday. The camp is an open one room wooden building on stilts with porch and dock that go all the way around. There are windows all the way around so that no matter where the breeze blows it will flow through and cool the camp.
We cruised out to camp Tuesday and stayed overnight until Wednesday afternoon. We had some stormy weather Tuesday evening with powerful storms all around us, but all it did was cool things off.
The kids had a great time snorkeling, fishing, jumping off the dock, eating, tubing, eating, sleeping, and eating...did I mention eating?
I slept on a rope hammock out on the porch and fell asleep to the sounds of mullet jumping and dolphin exhaling.
This morning I woke up to the sound of fish striking and rolled (literally) out of the hammock to cast a line. On the first cast of a noisy topwater plug, a fat seatrout slammed it! The sound of the fish splashing woke up the rest of the crew and we caught a variety of fish, mostly trout.
So tonight, I'm home again in the airconditioning, feeling totally whipped after a couple of days on the water. The TV is on in the next room,my daughters are chatting on their cell phones, and my son and his buddy are bouncing a ball, but if I close my eyes I can still hear that dolphin breathing as it swam beneath the camp last night...

6 comments:

kevin said...

Too cool!

Rurality said...

Wow that sounds like fun!

So when this one's gone you can't replace it? How sad.

Floridacracker said...

Rurality,
True, there is no replacement. This camp actually belongs to friends of my wife's family. Her family's camp was destroyed by storms a few years ago. Nothing left but a few pilings and a million memories.
I believe the rules are you may repair damage, but not rebuild. After each storm passes, camp owners rush out and repair quickly to hang on to their treasure. Pretty special place...

Kevin,
It was waaaaay cool. You would love it. I got outfished by the 13 year olds...

Thank you both for stopping by.

Hick said...

I am soooooo jealous. What a beautiful way to spend a couple of lazy days.

Floridacracker said...

Hick,
It definitely was a special couple of days. Tonight I just finished washing the dishes, so everything is back to normal...

thingfish23 said...

The more I get caught up on this Weblog, the more impressed I am by it. This is some quality stuff.

Congrats on showing the world what some Florida livin' is all about. From one Native to another.

If you ever make it down to Naples, I'll show you my favorite snook spot. It's no secret, but it always produces. And when the snook get lockjaw, the mangrove snapper are always ready for a tumble (and possible trip to the grill of frying pan).