Thursday, May 22, 2014

Alone on an Island: Part 1

Sharing a dream, on an Island, it felt right
Between the moon and the tide
Mapping the stars for a while
Let the night surround you
We're halfway to the stars
Ebb and flow
Let it go
 David Gilmour

I feel as if I am the luckiest woman in the world; to be able to go out alone to an island within a national park for two days, and being capable of paddling the distance and camping primitively in the May heat. And with no law or authority to keep me from doing such a thing. A free woman alone on an island.

With only two days available in my schedule, my goal was to photograph to my hearts content with no other obligations. Being alone, I had no one's welfare to concern me, I brought no cook stove and was unfettered from any type of schedule, other than nature's. I set out to explore and test my photography skills on one of the rugged, storm swept islands in the park. My biggest fear had nothing to do with dangerous animal (human or otherwise) encounters, but rather tripping over a log and spraining an ankle or even worse, losing my camera to the seawater.

I did not sprain an ankle, but it was not a perfect trip. I made the mistake of camping on the exposed side of the island where the 15-20 knot northeast winds never let up. I had the tent tied down with buried rocks attached to three fly ropes. The tarp managed to stay up surprisingly, except for one incidence where one stake came loose. Worse part of that is it knocked my tripod with ballhead into the sand. And dang if I didn't break two nails the first day from having to dig in the sand. Forgetting to bring my nail file was another mistake! Not wanting to put up with another day of gusting winds, the next morning I broke camp and paddled over the western side which received enough breeze to make this entire trip bug-free.

Other than those mistakes and few other minor ones, it all played out as I hoped it would. While the first day took much of my time and energy just to keep everything upright and sand-free, the second day was spent photographing along the shoreline. The trick was to pace myself, spend an hour or two walking and photographing (almost always having to carry tripod with camera), take several short breaks under the shade of the tarp, drink lots of water and eat frequently. I could have kept doing this a couple more days if I had the chance. I can manage the heat and the bugs, but the wind kills it for me.

Happy to have captured some of the island's untamed beauty, I had a safe and easy paddle back to Everglades City. The first of many more to come, this trip was a sharp reminder of how lucky we are to have national parks and other protected wilderness areas and that we have the freedom to go out there pretty much whenever we want to. But we also have the responsibility to fight for their protection. Photographing is but one way to do that.

1 comment:

  1. Great song - great trip. I am going to try and get out this summer.