Overnight Castaway

Never one to turn down a free trip to a deserted island, I jump at the chance to join Joyce and Chris from the Wildlife Refuge on a Bird Counting expedition to Egmont Key.  This island is not exactly deserted.  Accessible by boat or a passenger only ferry, Egmont Key is a wildlife Refuge and part of the Florida State Park System.  During our overnight visit, I encounter more turtles and birds here than people.

A Prefessional Bird Counter at work. Notice how she carefully blends into her surroundings!

Five Hours and 14,318 Steps Later

Thursday morning we set out at dawn to count the early birds.  Warm breezes and bright sunshine deliver a perfect morning for beach combing.  While Joyce records the avian populations, Chris and I try to make a dent in the layers of trash that have washed ashore on the island’s south side.  I collect enough fishing lures to start my own tackle box.

After lunch we cover the second half of the island counting not only birds, but also people enjoying the solitude of the public part of the refuge. Blocked by a forest of Australian Pines and Palm Trees, the breeze deserts us.  As I weaken in the broiling sun, I wonder if Joyce will consider letting me swim out into the cool, aquamarine Gulf waters and count the fish swimming close to shore.

Joyce allows me to help count the Gopher Turtles. They move slowly and are much easier to recognize than all those birds!

At one point, Joyce exclaims to me, “run and catch that Gopher!”  My mind does not immediately grasp that command for two reasons.  First of all, no one has ever exhorted me to catch a gopher and I doubt that I can. Second, what is a gopher doing on the beach?  Turns out Joyce is directing me toward a Gopher Tortoise who I am able to outrun (barely).  This animal turns out to be the only one that Joyce feels she can trust me to accurately count for her.  I find twelve (with Chris’s help)!

Photo Gallery from Egmont Island

In Loving Memory

Stormy Weathers

About Sunny Weathers

Pilot, motorcyclist and full time RVer. Follow me as I travel all over the US in my Country Coach RV volunteering, making new friends and pursuing a constant outdoor temperature between 70F and 80F. I'll share the fun and the tribulations and any great survival tricks I learn!

4 Replies to “Overnight Castaway”

  1. Great pictures, especially the turtle….I have a Sussex County pond turtle, 10 years old, raised from a baby. She eats out of my hand, swims in the bathtub, among other places, and loves my beagle.
    Love your posts…I really get a kick out of your humor.
    You’re a strong lady, you aren’t afraid to tackle a problem, yet you know when to ask for help. And you have us, the lucky ones who can travel with you vicariously.
    Be well!

    Marcia in Seaford

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      You don’t know how much your support means to me, Marcia. I am so grateful that you share my adventures with me!

  2. Beautiful pics! Enjoy your journey! May God use this time for comfort and restoration for you! The craziest thing just happened as I had just finished typing “enjoy your journey” I got a call from Joyce Meyers ministries about donating money and getting her book ??? You guessed it “enjoy your journey”. God loves doing tithings like that to confirm He is present!

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      ? I am trying my best to do that. It helps to have great friends like you!

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