We took the South Venice ferry to Manasota Key this afternoon. It's a short ride across the Intracoastal Waterway but the only direct access to Sunset beach. Otherwise, its a long walk on the shore to get there so it's a pretty quiet spot. The ferry pass comes with the house we're renting. It's a cool little boat. We took it a lot when we were here a couple of summers ago but today was only our second trip this time, even though we've already been here a month. It has been unseasonably rainy, torrential and unpredictable, so we've been driving to other beaches. However, today we thought we could beat the rain. We figured wrong.
|Sea turtle nests and blooming century plants|
From the ferry landing, a wooden walkway goes through the mangrove and palm forest to the Gulf side of the Key, From there we walked north and were so engrossed looking for shark's teeth (both of us) and heart rocks (me), being amazed at all the sea turtle nests staked and marked by the Turtle Patrol, what storm surges have done to the shore, commenting on birds, admiring the giant pelican drying her wings in the wind in the top of a tree, admiring the jungle of native foliage and trying to not stare at the gay men in teeny thongs who make this otherwise deserted stretch their rendezvous that we failed to notice the giant, black storm clouds gathering behind us. When we did, we were a couple of miles away from the ferry.
We started back and the wind came up, and with it stinging sand, so we bent our heads down and pushed into it, pulling our hats further and then further over our eyes. Next came the rain, in tropical torrents. By the time we got back to Sunset beach it was deserted. We made for the walkway and hurried across the Key back to the ferry landing. No boat, no phone, nowhere to go, so we sat on the walkway in the rain.
This may all sound very bad but actually it wasn't. I went back to the Gulf to see once more the beach shrouded by the squall. For this moment, this storm, there was nothing and no one (well, except me) in the gray and rain marring the solitude. Empty. And baby turtles gestating in their eggs deep within the sand by the sea. The way it always was. The beach and I were wild again. I stood watching sheets of rain whipping westward over the Gulf, blown by offshore winds, then I went back up the stairs and across the Key to the east, to wait with M. Lee for the ferry, which did come back for us after all.