Meanwhile, out in the Gulf ...
See! I told you something went bebopping along the mangrove branch. You missed it? Well, it's probably because once I mentioned stingrays you never looked at anything but your feet.
You can stop shuffling now, I don't think stingrays come ashore.
So our mystery critter is a rat.
Now, is it some kind of Mangrove Tree Rat and we should be excited to see it, ... or is it just a rat?
No, I don't know the answer to that question. Let's keep moving.
The water here is only about two inches deep, but the mud under these trees is soft and sticky. If you stop moving you WILL sink. See my left foot? It's lightly resting on the bottom. My right foot has my weight on it and I'm down to my knee.
No, I don't know how deep you could sink here, but I've been up to my neck in marsh mud with my cousin Rick down at the San Sebastion River. It's a weird feeling which I don't care to repeat.
Let's keep moving. Keep an eye out for moccasins. They get enormous on these islands feeding on fallen seabird chicks and rats.
No, I'm not kidding. The giant moccasins are legendary on the next key over, Seahorse Key.
Wowsers, it's getting kind of thick. At least the mosquitoes aren't out yet. You can thank the drought for that. Couple of horseflies though.
We can push on through this mangel or we can work our way out to the beach for a walk down the shore. The recent hurricane summers have reshaped the island and it's pretty neat to see their handiwork.
What'll it be?
Okay, the beach it is.