Monday, March 5, 2012

Picnicking and Penguins in Florida

Oh, wait. Did I say Penguins? Sorry, I've had Penguins on my mind ever since a man yelled to someone trailing behind, “Hurry, come and see the (bleep) Penguins!” For a moment, we were stunned into silence, I, because he had been so thoughtless with his (bleep) language in a family-like setting, and my friend Phyllis, because he had mistaken Pelicans for Penguins.

Phyllis is a sea world buff and after a brief pause, and deciding he has harmless, she patiently explained to him the many differences between a penguin and a pelican. His reply: “Are you sure?” Obviously, he was a visitor to our shores!

We were standing on the North Jetty at the Southern end of Nakomis Beach in Florida. After our Penguin versus Pelican incident our attention returned to the sun setting over the Gulf of Mexico, although one could not help but glance to our right from time to time to watch the amusing antics of the dozen or so Pelicans fishing for their supper in the rather choppy water.

Earlier we paused near the rocks in the small channel between the North and South Jetties where we spotted playful dolphins and while watching the various boats come and go. I'm not sure how many fish were biting but the fishermen attracted plenty of water birds looking for a free hand-out.

A few days later, I returned with a picnic supper, arriving almost two hours before sunset and settling myself at a picnic table near the jetty. In between watching all the goings-on, I enjoyed the late afternoon sun, and read. Shortly after unpacking my picnic a couple asked if they could share my table and we soon stuck up a conversation. It was a pleasant diversion.

As they were preparing to leave the husband remarked that he was getting hungry, and I said no wonder, having to watch me feed my face. I decided the next time I go alone I will be sure to bring extra food; it would have been nice to be able to share dinner with such enjoyable company.

A few minutes before the sun was ready to set I walked down a sandy path adjacent to the Jetty with my camera. My best photograph this day: An orange sunset framed by a Palm tree on the left and a boat on the right.

What I like best about this destination and so many others in Florida is that whenever I visit I am guaranteed to see the same beautiful beach, water, sand, rocks, or palm trees, yet depending on the season, weather and group dynamics, there will always be that element of unpredictability.

Although there is one thing I'm sure we won't see in this area - a Penguin.