30 January 2012

Islamorada Journal 2012...30-31 JAN







28 January 2012

Islamorada Journal 2012...28 JAN

Deb and I went out in Shoo-Fly on Saturday...urged on to do so by the marine weather forecast saying it was going to be the last day without 15-20 kt. winds for a while.

Deb almost immediately spotted a pod of dolphins that we observed from a discreet distance for a few minutes.

Click on this photo to enlarge, and note the series of parallel marks in the area of the dolphin's mouth.

More about the dolphins below:

This marker warns of a shallow area that lies quite near to the Intracoastal Waterway which runs right past us here.

Wikipedia explains, "The Intracoastal Waterway is a 3,000-mile (4,800-km) waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. Some lengths consist of natural inlets, salt-water rivers, bays, and sounds; others are artificial canals. It provides a navigable route along its length without many of the hazards of travel on the open sea."

Never heard of a boat fetching up on this shoal, but it points out the need for boaters to know what they're doing when transiting this area.

We hadn't previously fished around this shoal, so tried it this one time.

Caught a small barracuda.

Nothing else.

We left.

Clouds were gorgeous.

S'funny, but it seems typical out here that there will be clouds billowing all around the horizon, but perfectly blue sky overhead. Must be some logical explanation for that, but I don't know what it is.

That's Charley's Yellowtail skiff over there with Charley, Schoel, and Wayne on board.

Charley got his first permit on this trip...17-18 pounder.

Mazel tov, Charley!

OK. Back to the dolphins.

This bunch was not at all playful...seemed to have places to go and things to do. They did, however, appear to us to be smaller than the dolphins we typically see.

Deb suggested that this might be a young bachelor pod...young males that have left the home pod and are just hanging out together...cooperating to find food...or girl dolphins...sort of like a gang.

I figured these were members of either the Flips or the Blubs, one of those two gangs.

Their gang membership was confirmed by the gang tats they wore on their skin, especially on their dorsal fins.

If you click on the photos to enlarge and then look closely at their dorsals, you can see the series of parallel marks indicating gang membership.

One fellow, obviously the gang leader, has these marks on the back of his head.

In reality, according to UnderstandDolphins.Tripod.com, "An animal establishes its dominance through “raking” other animals as a control mechanism. Raking is the scratching of another’s skin with these sharp teeth. It is called raking because the marks left on the skin appear to be made with a garden rake. The marks are superficial and appear to present no risk to the animal being disciplined. They will eventually be shed in the normal process of skin replacement. Raking is a very common practice between dolphins and seems to provide messages such as, 'Behave yourself,' 'Don’t do that,' 'Stop bothering me,' 'Get in line,' 'I'm in charge here.' etc."

Sounds sort of like a gang, doesn't it?

Pelicans talking to each other: "Jeepers, what was that?" "I dunno." Sounded like a thunderclap!" "I think Pete farted!" "Cripes, let's get upwind!"

As to our fishing success on Saturday, we saw the first tarpon of the year, several of them, saw a bunch of permit also several sharks including some in the "ruh-roh" class...but we had no luck in getting them to bite.

These fish are really spooky in shallow water.

This was Friday night's sunset.

27 January 2012

Islamorada Journal 2012...27 JAN

Click on this photo to get a better look at the whiskers on this manatee.

Deb and I were out in the boat, staying close to shore so the winds wouldn't get us, when we spotted this fellow. He was swimming underwater when we first saw him...looked like a scuba-diving bear from our point of view on the boat.

We didn't try to get near him as we feel it's best to leave these animals alone. According to Wikipedia, "All three species of manatee are listed by the World Conservation Union as vulnerable to extinction."

We watched him just long enough to see him snorkel up for this breath of air.

We went out on the Bay a ways to try fishing, but the waves from the wind were too much so we headed back toward Snake Creek with the idea of going to Hippie Harbor.

Then we saw this squall coming in and...

...decided that discretion was the better part.

We thought this might have been a rainbow trying to get started, but it was just the sun's rays coming through a break in the squall line.

The National Weather Service explains that for a rainbow to form,

You need to be standing with the sun to your back and the rain in front of you,

The sun needs to be less than 42° above the horizon, and

The sun's rays must be hitting the raindrops.

For those who are looking for evidence of aliens observing earth, here it is!

What other explanation could there possibly be for this mark in the sky?

Had to be some amazing spacecraft to be able to make a right-hand turn like that!

The aliens in this spacecraft were undoubtedly on their way to create more Nacza lines in Peru...or to erect more statues on Easter Island...or build another great pyramid in Egypt!

This fingernail moon is obvious, but do you also see Venus?

26 January 2012

Islamorada Journal 2012...26 JAN

Tuesday' night's sunset.


According to Wikipedia, "The plant was classified by Europeans in Brazil in 1768, by Philibert Commer├žon, a French botanist accompanying French Navy admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville during his voyage of circumnavigation."

I had always assumed that the flower was found on Bougainville Island in the Pacific and named after the island; but no, both the flower and the Island were named for the French explorer.

The flower is native to South America.

We haven't been able to get out on the water much thanks to the darned wind which has been blowing 15+ kts. for 4 straight days. We can, however, walk out on the basin and throw lures.

Usually nothing much happens. Maybe a hit from a small barracuda or one of the nasty needlefish that hang out here...sometimes one of the resident mangrove snappers will take a whack at a lure...but they mostly require live bait to fool.

Wednesday night though, there was a school of these fish out there.

Darned things weren't very large but they hit the lures like a ton of bricks and fought like the dickens.

Fish is called a blue runner, about which Wikipedia says, "Blue runner is...of high importance to recreational fisheries, with anglers often taking the species both for food and to use as bait. The blue runner has a reputation as an excellent gamefish on light tackle, taking both fish baits, as well a variety of lures including hard bodied bibbed lures, spoons, metal jigs and soft plastic jigs.The species is also a target for light tackle saltwater fly fishermen, and can push 6-weight fly tackle to its limits. The blue runner is used extensively as live bait for larger fish including billfish, cobia and amberjack. It is considered to be a fairly low quality table fish, and larger specimens are known to carry the ciguatera toxin in their flesh, with several cases reported from the Virgin Islands."

We put back each one we caught.

This pigeon hanged around in the yard for almost two days.

This is not an ordinary, every day, run-of-the-mill bird...but a genuine homing pigeon.

Deb looked up his band information on the Internet and found he was a homer...probably taking a little rest on his way back to wherever he belongs.

She put out fresh water for the bird which has now [the bird, not the water] flown the coop...or perhaps, flown back to the coop.

He didn't leave a thank-you note.

Deb's pic of an aloe? plant.

Wednesday night's sunset...version 1.

Wednesday night's sunset...version 2.

In tomorrow's blog: We see a manatee and get chased back to the dock by an approaching storm.

25 January 2012

Islamorada Journal 2012...25 JAN

2011: 14 Major Climate-Related Disasters

” NOAA has identified two additional events in 2011 that caused an economic impact of $1 billion or greater, bringing the total number of major billion-dollar weather and climate disasters to 14 (not including the pre-Halloween snowstorm in the Northeast, which is still being analyzed).”


Ask Lefty

”"What is the correct way to get rid of salt deposits on reels and rods, and how often do I need to do it?"”


Mass. Fishing Boat Lost In 2008 Found Adrift In Spain

”More than three years after tossing its occupants overboard in stormy seas, a 26-foot long Nantucket fishing boat has been found off the coast of Spain.


Flies: Tying the “Straw Boss”

”…an effective freshwater pattern that can also prove deadly in the salt.”


Sorry Mates:

Between too much wind, too much work, and too many medical appointments to keep, we haven't been on the water for several days.

Wind is forecast to drop, work is mostly done, and med visits are hopefully over with.

We hope to be back fishing shortly.

24 January 2012

Islamorada Journal 2012...24 JAN

Some hibiscus colors are just smashing.

"Don't you know that you are a shooting star...don't you know?"

Egrets love an audience.

View out the front door.


Some days a fellow just can't get his wings dried out.

Wikipedia says, "Alternate functions suggested for the spread-wing posture include that it aids thermoregulation, digestion, balances the bird or indicates presence of fish. A detailed study of the Great Cormorant concludes that it is without doubt to dry the plumage."

Lots of these little lizards around.

Monday night's sunset.

Heron caught sneaking away at dusk...we got his license number, however.

Same sunset less that a minute later...just that the camera was zoomed in from 52mm to 92mm in this second shot.

23 January 2012

Islamorada Journal 2012...23 JAN

Click on any pic to enlarge.

Saturday night's sunset.

This is the famous comet Jasper-Ruhroh.

Believe this little guy is called a Brown Anole.

WildFlorida.com says, "Florida has several lizard species that are easy to find and interesting to watch. Geckos are so common in buildings in South Florida that they are called ‘house lizards.’ Anoles and skinks are easy to watch in almost any park or garden."

The planet Jupiter has been obvious in the evening sky.

Camera lens is not able to show any of the planet's 64 moons, some of which apparently can be seen with a decent pair of binoculars.

One moon, Ganymede, is larger than the planet mercury.

Folk next door have a fish-feeding machine at the end of their dock.

Every evening, shortly after 6 p.m., the thing goes off and sprays fish-food pellets off the end of the dock.

The splashes you can see in the water are a combination of the pellets hitting the water and small fish feeding on them.

Deb managed to get this photo of the antennae of a spiny lobster who has made a home in the crevices in the boat basin.

Spiny lobsters, unlike Maine lobsters, don't have the big, meaty claws...just the tail.

Kayaker taking fido for a paddle.

Note that this dog is smart enough to wear a life jacket...clearly wiser than many humans that venture forth on the waters.