NNW 27 km/hr

The cold north wind has been howling relentlessly all day – though the azure sky was with equal tenacity cloudless and crystal clear. The high pressure created an uplifting and incomparable atmosphere. There were few people walking and cycling along the path this morning. Presumably they were less adventurous during this bracing period. A number of people were drawn – as was I – to the beach to look at the high waves and the glittering sunshine on the white sand and turquoise sea.

The cool weather and the brisk wind invigorated my bicycling. I left the apartment mid-morning wearing black woollen socks, shorts and a fleece over my Polo shirt. Not long into my bike ride I felt I could happily have donned a T-shirt under the top garments. It was only by sheltering myself from the wind – whether under the canopy of grape bushes and mangrove trees while bicycling or later by sitting on the bench overlooking Sarasota Bay – that I was able to escape the brittle touch of the air. My subsequent tour on the beach had the protection of the dunes and the wind predominantly at my back. The wind and the brilliant sunshine were overpowering, raising the flavour of the day from the traditional balmy weather to one of majesty and intensity.

Tripping from the Bay side of the island to the Gulf side – though routinely less than half a mile – isn’t always preferred. The sail boats on Sarasota Bay present an image of peerless artistic strength. But on a forceful day such as this the preference for the Gulf of Mexico is inescapable. The openness of the emerald sea and the ribbon of bleached sand under the dome of blue arising from the endless horizon are nonpareil. It gives new meaning to the rejuvenating influence of a breath of fresh air!