June 2020 Birthday 2.0

The last post mentioned it was going to rain and rain and rain while we were at Crystal River celebrating my birthday. Upon checking into our motel, we walked out to the dock – where the boat should have been – and saw the results of tropical depression rain + high tide = coastal flooding. Yikes!

King’s Bay Lodge floating docks June 2020

That just doesn’t look like a safe place to dock a boat. As I was surveying the flooding, I saw the owners were trying to grow some tomatoes and didn’t remove them before the water encroached. It’s more like hydroponics now!

King’s Bay Lodge tomatoes June 2020

Eric thought it would be fun to swim in the ‘natural’ springs and jumped into the water. Nope, no way was I going to do that, nada.

King’s Bay Springs June 2020

And then he jumped into the motel’s pool, which is filled by a nearby diverted spring. Look at that form! The water is the same temp year around 72 degrees F – that’s cold for some of us (mostly me, ha!).

The high water also made it easier to spot manatees. Lots of people pay money for an excursion in the springs for this to happen. Here I could look over the edge of the floating dock.

The ducks seemed to like the area around the floating docks also. These guys hung around quite a bit.

King’s Bay Lodge ducks June 2020

We were never in any immediate danger from the flooding. The following morning when the tide changed (and the rain stopped and the tropical depression moved further north) the docks were back to normal.

King’s Bay Lodge tomato plants June 2020

Right behind our room (literally out the back door) is the King’s Bay River Walk. While I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, the city leaders continue to expand and enhance the walkway.

Crystal River June 2020

Naturally, along the way they showcase the manatees of which this area is known.

Crystal River June 2020

They have also done a good job with adding some flowering plants along the way.

But they have these amazing totem poles which kept drawing your back to find more animals. I’ll tell you right now, while I’ve seen them before, they never really drew more than a glance from me. But with Eric along, he could help identify 99.99% of the carved animals and it became a contest – he won.

And yes, the ones that have some paint/stain defining the animal life made a difference for me. They could be a scavenger hunt!

Behind the Kings Bag Lodge is a crab trap operation and restaurant. Hundreds upon hundreds of crab traps are sitting in a nearby lot. Here you see old crab traps (still in use) along with the newer coated-metal traps.

Totally didn’t see the artistry in this shot, until we got home and I was culling the extra photos. I like it.

Although Adrienne departed early Monday morning to head back, it looked like there could be a ‘window’ for fishing the next several days. Eureka! We stayed two more nights.

Eric also got up (somewhat) early on Monday and went home to pick up the boat. Ultimately the weather Monday afternoon did not cooperate, so we found a new place to pick up some seafood. Eric got to use his culinary talents again. Poached local shrimp and grilled Grunt with bread crumbs was very delicious!

FINALLY……………Tuesday morning we could take the boat out into the Gulf. There was a bit of green (rain) we needed to keep an eye on, but it was worth the chance.

Gulf Coast June 2020

Man – there is no one on the water. Plus, no wind, the water is like a sheet of glass – smooth boating.

We had a good day catching fish. Eric caught this nice trout while apparently I had the knack for catching mangrove snapper. Fish caught (top to bottom): two sand perch, six mangrove snapper with Eric’s seatrout holding the bottom spot.

The snapper made a good meal that evening, along with rice. Lately, Eric has been cooking fish whole (for himself) while ensuring I had boneless fillets for my meals.

Day’s catch: grilled mangrove snapper. June 2020

Yeah! we are able to have another day of being on the water fishing until chased off by this storm mid-afternoon. Even though north of us, it was getting too close for comfort. Don’t want to ruin a birthday getting struck by lightening!

It didn’t prevent us from bringing in a nice haul of fish that day.

Five mangrove snapper and one sea perch.

When making birthday plans months ago, we had no inkling of the state of our world that was to come. However, you make the most of what you’re dealt. Take lemons and make lemonade.


Found on the dock of Pete’s Pier.

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