We had started the day with fresh strawberry crepes for breakfast, coupled with a cranberry juice/coconut rum cocktail (something invented in desperate moment a few weeks ago which has become a favorite). We then packed a simple picnic of pbj’s and fruit along with jugs of iced tea and lemonade, loaded our bikes in the dinghy and headed to the dock.
On the way over, a small fishing boat hailed us for help. They were stranded on the beach and asked for a tow. Seems the current had pushed them to shore more quickly than they had planned. It took a few minutes of pushing (by hand) and pulling (by dinghy) but we got them off the bank and on their way again.
Caya Costa State Park has a small dock and a place to tie up dinghies. The ranger met us at the dock, asked if we’d been there before and then gave us a few tips on where to go. We had to pay a $2 per person entry fee. The trailor/park office had trail maps and few goodies too. We loaded up our bikes with our stuff and headed down the ¾ mile trail to the Gulf beach. The trail was mostly hard packed broken shells and most of covered by a canopy of tree branches dripping with Spanish moss. Abundant varieties of wild flowers were tucked in among the woods. At the end of the trail we found a campground – which was in such an amazingly remote and beautiful setting I actually longed for my tent (which I sold in a garage sale this summer). They also had a few camping cabins (no power) and bathrooms with running water, flush toilets and outdoor cold showers. We stopped to cool off in the showers as both Coleen and I were very hot, before heading further down the trail to the beach. We pushed our bikes across the sand and spread out our stuff near the shore. We’re down to using an old plastic shower curtain for a beach blanket as we’ve lost both our picnic cloth and our beach blanket recently.
Coleen and I had a fun playing in the water, walking along the shore searching for shells, playing tic tac toe with shells, and she practiced writing her spelling words in the sand too. We sat in the surf for a long time just letting the water splash on us. I tried my hand at snorkeling – just a little. The only downside was the beach seemed to be a haven for sea urchins – a regular mine field!
After enjoying our picnic and feeding a few shore birds, we loaded our bikes. We decided to stop at the showers, wash our hair & rinse out our clothes before heading down the trail. An icy cold shower with lots of water was wonderful! I even rinsed out my t-shirt and wore it damp to help me stay cool.
We followed a couple of trails. The first led all the way to the northern end of the island and stopped at the beach. In the distance, we could see the pass that we had traversed on Saturday. The second path was through the forest – sprinkled with palms, cedars and pine trees and led past an old cemetery.
A storm was brewing in the distance over the harbor where the boats were anchored so we decided to head back. We stopped at the ranger station to re-fill our water jugs, then loaded the dinghy and took the long ride back to the boat. The storm was still a little ways out, so I let out more scope on the anchor, put on the chafe gear, and set up my rain catcher – just in time. We had some very strong gusts, but the anchor held well, and I managed to gather almost 6 gallons of water – in addition to giving myself another shower!
Finally I went inside to make Coleen’s favorite dinner – bean burritos, which we followed with strawberry shortcake – minus the strawberries. We watched the movie Captain Ron while listening to the rain. It was a rocky rolling night at anchor and a bit hard to sleep – but I guess it was worth it given the day we’d had….. wouldn’t change a thing!