The phrase, “calm before the storm,” is more than just an expression. The water today was as flat and glassy as we’ve yet seen, and the sky was only streaked with wispy cirrus clouds. The strongest winds we’ve encountered so far on the trek were about 10 knots; according to the portable radio, tonight will bring 30-knot winds. In light of the oncoming gale, we decided to combine the last two days of paddling into one afternoon. After two hours of listening to David repeatedly count down from 100, we left the Gulf of Mexico and entered Florida bay. It was the first time in three days that there’s been land on both sides of our canoes.
The return to society was abrupt and overwhelming. Flamingo Island feels more like New York City than a national park campsite. Hot showers and running water feel like luxuries, almost like we’re cheating at camping. Right now I’m looking at black storm clouds drifting near the horizon, and it seems like we’ll be spending most of tomorrow in tents.