Picking up at Aunt Jo’s. There was a nice beach there and she said that when a hurricane had come along a year or two before it had move sand away from some rock outcroppings just off the beach that had been covered by sand. Now there were a lot of fish congregating there. Since my hero was Jacques Cousteau, I couldn’t wait to take my mask and snorkel and check it out.
I wasn’t disappointed. There were lots of fish to look at. Two I remember in particular. The water wasn’t that deep but I saw a huge fish. It was almost two feet long which isn’t that big, but it was also probably a foot and a half high and bright silver. The eyes and mouth were small for the size of the fish. I looked away for a second and then back and it was gone. I didn’t think something that size could disappear that fast until I realized it had turned and I was looking at it head on and it was only about half to 3/4 of an inch thick. (Vertical, not horizontal like a flounder.) I looked it up later and found out it was a Look Down fish.
The second fish was a sting ray. Ever since that day I have been in love with rays and skates. The way it moved was so hypnotizing. It was basically flying in water as it moved its “wings”. I followed it along as it moved and watched it glide past peoples’ legs that were standing in the water. I told one boy about it and he went screaming out of the water. I think I lost track of it at that point.
If I remember correctly we came down the east coast of Florida and went back up the west coast. We had to have gone through Miami and Miami Beach but I have no memory of it this many years later. From the map, Hollywood is nearby and looks fairly built up. I remember we were on a road heading to Hollywood going through a forest of southern pine. They were probably owned by a lumber or paper company since they were fairly evenly spaced. We were getting low on gas and we just kept going by tree after tree after tree fearing that we would run out of gas before getting back to civilization. We came to a small town that I thought was Hollywood. It wasn’t much more than a crossroads but we got gas. It must not have been Hollywood proper because a search on the internet says the population was about 65,000 at that time. Still not big, but way bigger than what we saw.
Next we went to the Everglades, followed by Key West. Will cover those next time.