Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fishing, waterways, boating, nature

I love the natural beauty of the coastal southeast. It's the main reason we wanted to move "down south" to the land of humidity, hurricanes, and cockroaches. Heat and violent storms and bugs - how very inspiring. Nope, it's not a forgiving environment in the summer months, and while we don't have to worry about frozen pipes or hypothermia, we basically have two choices: sit inside hugging the air conditioner or fan (or both) or full submersion in water - pool or beach variety. Outdoor activity is a literal hot, sweaty mess this time of year. But I'd rather sweat than freeze and we have enough months of phenomenal weather to make up for the four months of outdoor sauna.

We're just turning the corner into summer. Thunderstorms are popping up, cold fronts aren't in the weather pattern anymore, and I'm sweating more often than not. But the natural beauty is still here and we're finally getting the chance to enjoy it more. How? Longer beach days and Blue Seas.

I'm a huge beach bum and am beyond thrilled that our beach days are lasting much more than two hours this year. Last year we had a two hour limit before an inevitable meltdown, but the past two times I've taken the girls to the beach we've stayed for over five hours. Of course I can't bring my page-turner and cooler of beer like in the good old pre-kid days (I do have two small children to watch, after all), but I can relax in my beach chair, do some yoga, build sandcastles, and swim for hours. It's the perfect way to enjoy this coastline and to get the kids outdoors in nature with no complaints. We have our choice of beaches - from the developed Jax Beach with its pier and bars, to St. Augustine with a splash pad and playground, to Little Talbot Island which has a parking lot, showers, and sand dunes.

(yes, my friends, I made them pose for this picture. This is not natural!!)

Hans loves fishing, and, much to my initial disgruntlement, he bought a little 12' aluminum fishing boat for inshore waters. You may rightfully ask, do we really  need four boats? I asked the same question. Well, we may have a boat habit. Do we really need two cars? Do we really need that sundowner on a summer evening? Need want need want. I, too, was skeptical, until I went out fishing for a few hours. Just 30 minutes from downtown there is absolute stillness and tranquility in the marshes. Nothing to see but water, marsh, and sky. Nothing to hear but birds and the marsh grass rustling in the wind. And we saw dolphins. The little fishing boat, which our eldest quickly named Blue Seas, opened up a whole new part of the region for exploration. (Oh and my skepticism also dissipated after Hans caught his first fish. Yum!)

A redfish caught off the dock!

We've traveled up and down the east coast of the US via boat three times and this region has always been my favorite. I've spent the first almost two years of our time here being frustrated that I can't get out to the marsh lands and feeling disconnected from a life on the water. (Yes. I know. We live on our boat. My home is floating on the water. How in the world can I feel disconnected?!) But I was wanting and needing an active life on the water. I want to be doing stuff on the water, not simply floating on it.

swimming off the back deck of m/v Rhumb Line at anchor.

playing pirates...
"Cock a doodle doo, Peter Pan we need you!"

When people ask what we're doing these days my answer is pretty simple: pool, beach, boat.

Goofball Matilda pretending to be cold after a recent swim.

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