The satiny salty salubrious sea!

We today fulfilled the ceremony of an early morning grocery shopping expedition to Publix. From our previous years at Daytona Beach Shores and Longboat Key we’re already connected to the store (both generally for payment and specifically for aisle designation of products) with an on-line App that we use for self-checkout service and expedient payment and email receipts. The store is on the central Overseas Highway about 6 miles directly north of Buttonwood Bay. I enjoy the drive itself because otherwise I seldom have reason to use the car and it gives me the opportunity to have it washed (which we ritually did this morning as well). Like many places in Key West (curiously including the Casa Marina Hotel), the treed parking lot surrounding Publix here on Key Largo resonates with the sound of crowing roosters. Although I have seen these colourful roosters on Key West in such unforeseen places as gas stations, it is only at Publix that I’ve seen them on Key Largo. For reasons I do not know, the roosters and their hens preserve their domain within the confines of the parking lot. They are seemingly unperturbed by the endless traffic, sometimes boldly strutting in front of an oncoming vehicle without hesitation. They are of course respected from a distance.

The story goes that Cuban settlers brought the chickens to the island, not only as a source of food, but also for sport. While hens were prized for their eggs, the roosters were prized for their cockfighting, making for good back-alley entertainment.

Well, historically, there were always chickens on the island. Back in the day, locals kept them in backyards with a purpose to produce eggs and become a dinner one day. Luckily, over the years some of the birds managed to escape and become official Key West Gypsy chickens. Later on, they were joined by roosters which were released when cockfights became illegal in the late 1980s.

In 2004, to control the population of chickens, the City of Key West had to hire a professional bird catcher. Captured birds were then transferred to organic farms in Florida where they continue to enjoy their lives and become a natural pest control remedy. However, many local residents were not happy with such doings, so the city had to get rid of the bird catcher.

Since then, all the gypsy chicken population lives in peace and enjoys island life to its fullest. Sometimes, roosters remember their old habits and get into the fights to show off in front of chicks and entertain tourists.

Upon returning to our townhouse at Buttonwood Bay, I immediately set upon my tricycle to profit by some improving exercise.  It was a cloudy day.  That meant I hadn’t my customary anxiousness to secure a place in the sun by the pool. As a result I tricycled 6.69 Km. Going past the laneway to the sea, I saw that apart from a distant yacht at anchor in the bay there was nobody swimming. The southwesterly wind in addition to blowing the clouds was causing noticeable waves upon the sea.

I made for the sea. The sky though cloudy did not diminish the balminess of the air. It was almost humid. The water was somewhat brackish because of the wind and the waves. There was sea weed cast upon the shore.  But I knew my path into the sea, having done it many times before. I set my stick upon the coral barrier along the inlet. By a sense of touch I slowly entered the weedy water until making my way clear to deep enough water to dive in. Instant relief! My buoyancy today was so great that I merely floated on my back, only occasionally having to adjust my balance to remain in the same position. Paddling aimlessly about, alternately glancing into the clouds or searching the sea floor,  I remained in the water for over almost two hours. The water was satiny smooth.

The sun never fully regained its brilliance until after I had abandoned the sea and reclaimed my tricycle parked nearby. As I later approached the townhouse I decided to check the nearby swimming pool.  There were only several people there.  It was the work of a moment for me to secure a chaise longue into the late afternoon sunshine. I was fatigued by my long swim. In no time I was dozing. Afterwards I refreshed myself in the open air shower.