First Paddle of the New Year!

Sunrise and crescent moon, Key Largo

By Johna Till Johnson

It’s been cold and icy in the Northeast. Between the weather, and travel, I hadn’t made it out out on the water this month.

Now it was the last day of January.

I was in Key Largo for a work function, and had a free afternoon. The sit-on-top boats were piled in a stack on the beach. There were a few more hours of daylight left, so I rented one.

And so I found myself once again on the waters of Florida Bay in the waning afternoon light. I paddled southwest down the coast for a bit, until I came to a long stretch of mangroves. Then out into the bay, against the wind and a slight chop, heading back northeast.

Cormorants on lighthouse at sunset

Florida Bay never ceases to surprise. Although it was windy and bouncy out in the open, as I came up to the coastline and headed southwest once more, the water grew calm and glassy. And what was that ahead? To my astonishment, a sight more common in NY harbor: A tug and barge. I paddled up close, trying to discern what it was up to, but couldn’t figure it out. The sun was setting, so at last I gave up and headed back home.

I didn’t take the time to grab the waterproof camera, so you’ll have to make do with other photos from the trip. But 2019 started off on the right foot!

Because every palm tree needs a missile!

(And no, I haven’t the vaguest idea why this palm tree is strapped to a missile. That’s the fun thing about the keys: unexpected weirdness abounds!)

11 responses to “First Paddle of the New Year!

  1. Someone is sending a palm tree to Mars – perhaps to create an oasis there ….😎

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the light you’ve captured, as well as the quixotic! del 😘


  3. Keep up the fine voyaging, Johna. V. well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Maybe the palm tree and missile aew best friends 😂 Happy 2019, Johna. Keep paddling 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bonnie K. Aldinger

    I had my first 2 or 3 paddles in Florida this year. Have to say it was neat to kick off Paddling 2019 in a shorty wetsuit.

    I say 2 or 3 paddles because I’m not sure which it is. My last day in Florida we took out the boats (2 recreational kayaks and a canoe) that were a very appealing part of the VRBO on a canal that my dad rented for us. Then my sister and I went to a barbecue joint for lunch and then we went back and paddled some more. So is that one paddle or two?

    I’m sort of leaning towards 2 because I switched from kayak to canoe in the afternoon.

    BTW I can now tell people that I’ve paddled with alligators. I didn’t see them that day but I’d seen them earlier in the trip and as I was out on my own for a bit while my sister got ready, I definitely scared 2 off the banks, great big splashes!


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