a day on the river is hot and sunny, but of course, in
Florida, a rainshower or thunderstorm can come up very
quickly - and no telling how long it will last! A
storm on the river is a beautiful thing, but the lightning
can be deadly and you want to choose your viewpoint carefully
...if you can.
day Judy and I were suprised to see a construction project
going on. At the old railway trestle at the opening to Mosquito
Island some men were building a cabin. When asked,
they said they were with the St. Johns River Water Management,
and it was to be a "Weather Station".
My first thought
was that someone would sit out there and watch the weather
(ok, tell me there aren't stupid government jobs like that!),
but they explained that it was to be an emergency shelter
for boaters caught out in inclement weather.
I had wanted to apply
for that weather watcher job, but a shelter is good, too.
Crossing Little Sawgrass to Beat the
Rain to the Shelter
times Judy and I have taken shelter underneath a plastic
tarp to wait out a storm. It's not very comfortable,
but getting rained on isn't the worst part - it's the
lightning. A plastic tarp seems very thin during a thunder
storm! If we can, we get to Mosquito Island to set up
our shelter, but in a pinch we pull up under the myrtle
and willow trees along the edge. As I am sure you understand,
these are not first-class accommodations. Rain blows
in around the tarp (along with a good bit of sand if
you made it to the island), and you find that mosquitoes
and ants like to take shelter from the storm, too. And,
have I mentioned the lightning?
Weather Station is finished now, and is very cozy. The
cabin is built better than some places I have lived in,
and the lightning rods are a nice touch.
station was built on the surviving pilings of the old Union
Cypress railway trestle. In the marsh everything is
used until it completely rejoins the elements!