So, my nephew was out shooting a video for his band the other day, and posted a pic online. I asked him where it was, and he said Cape Romano. I’ve been wanting to explore out of Goodland for awhile, and this looked like something more interesting than miles of mangroves, so I started looking for the easiest way to get there from a kayak. From the maps, I could see that Caxambas Pass was the closest possible put-in, but I didn’t know of any public access, so I just drove down to Marco Island to see what I could see. I was surprised when I found Caxambas Park, right where I wanted to put in, but this place looked too busy for me to just sneak the kayak in unnoticed like I do in other places that charge a ramp fee. It was pretty windy out of the Southwest, and I’d checked radar/satellite, and knew it was too late in the day to put in, anyway. I parked the truck, and walked to the dock, thinking, it’s probably too windy any way.
When I got to the dock, I noticed a guy climbing off the bow of his canoe into the water. I couldn’t imagine a reason for it, but noticed he was flying a U.S. Marines flag off the stern. As I watched, he started swimming into the stiff headwind, towing his canoe behind him. I had to get a picture of this, I could only think, “who else but a Marine?”
I saw a guy with a parks & rec shirt on, so asked him about putting in a kayak, free of charge. “I’m just testing the water, you can ask inside.” I talked to him for a bit about the water testing he was doing. BP is paying for daily water tests. “Gets me out of the office.” He motioned towards the guy towing his canoe, “I’d love to have that guy’s lungs.”
I wandered into the marina store, and was looking at the charts, ($28, or so), and the guy behind the counter pointed me to some free charts. “Free? You’ve got me pegged right.” I inquired about putting in, and he informed me, the ramp fee applied anywhere on the property.
Somehow conversation got around to mentioning the guy towing his canoe out to sea. “That guy? He’s 80 years old. He’s been doing that every day for as long as I’ve been here, about 15 years.” “Probably something to do with that Marines flag, he’s flying, huh?” He nodded, “He’s been doing it longer than that, he’s been doing it for 20 years. He starts out up by that bridge, what is it, Winterberry bridge. His wife used to ride in the canoe, reading a book, until…” he drifted off. He didn’t need to finish, this is Florida, we all know that part of the story.
Anyway, these pictures all suck. I simply can’t predict the amount of time between when I press the button, and the “shutter” actually snaps, so the picture I get is rarely the picture I’m trying to capture.
As I thought about what I’d seen, I had to wonder, just what that guy had seen, what motivated him. As unusual as it seemed, it doesn’t seem in the least out of character for other Marines I’ve met. There’s a discipline, a certain *something* that motivates them that is incredibly inspiring.
So, thanks. I’m simply in awe.