Naples Florida - Aug 2017 - My Annual Southern Pilgrimage Begins – Chapter 1

As has been for the past three years, in August I house/pet sit in Naples Florida for a couple weeks, return to my home, repack, and make my way to Vieques Puerto Rico.  This year is no different.

Arriving late in the evening, I joined Jim and Cynthia for dinner.  We renewed our friendship, and enjoyed reminiscing our significant events of the past year.  While much had changed in our lives, many things remained the same, and we shared most of it.

So without further adduce, let’s GO!!!

Places in and around Naples that I've visited over the past few years

Jim and Cynthia departed mid-morning, while I remained at the house to get reacquainted with Tuffy the dog, and acquainted with Kiwi and Frosty, the new feathered members of the family.  From my experiences, it’s less stressing on the pets to see their owners out the door with me, the pet sitter remaining behind, so normally, I dedicate my first day to bonding with the pets.
Sanibel fishing pier

The first week of this house/pet sitting expedition got started, and so did the rain.  I had planned on visiting a few new places and revisit some of my favorites from years past, but the prediction of bad weather hindered these plans. Looking at the forecast for the next couple days, there was a break in the morning which would allow enough time to take-in my first new place; Sanibel Island Lighthouse.

As some of you know, I’m on a journey to visit Florida’s lighthouses; the Sanibel light is my 9th.  Marking the channel to San Carlos Bay, this light was originally lit in 1884 atop a 98 foot tall, iron, skeleton tower.

A view from the beach
Looking up from the base

From the water
Just a cool shot from the beach

Sea turtle nesting area - DO NOT DISTURB

Well, as predicted the rain continued and at times it fell devastating amounts.  Many areas in and around Naples were and still are flooded (been here for 7 days), but the forecast is for less rainfall in the next few days.

Rolls reversed; vehicles off the road

and gators in the yard

Finally we got a break in the rain, and I made the trip to the Coral Castle in Homestead.  The last time I was in this area was in 1992, when after the massive devastation of Hurricane Andrew, I deployed with the Air Force to survey the damage to Homestead Air Force Base.

The story of the Coral Castle revolves around a cancelled wedding and the construction of a monument to a lost love.  The structures revolve around love, family, nature, and astronomy. While the castle is small, it still takes about an hour for the tour which includes a live tour guide.  These guides are knowledgeable and willing accept and answer questions from guests.

Overall view of Coral Castle
Living quarters

Symbol of love; a heart table made of coral
Umbrella table

This journey will continue and with any luck the rain will stop.  The ground will remain saturated and without a doubt, the mosquitoes and other insects will be abundant, I hope to get out and revisit some of my favorites from previous visits.

Until next time, safe travels

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