We’ve always been pretty compatible, and now – on this trip – we spend all of our time together. So far, so good. It helps to emphasize those things we both like doing, and one of those things is photography. Cedar Key provides some perfect places for photography. The wide variety of subject material encouraged the shutterbug in us. On a very nice day we dashed out a few minutes before sunset and found one beautiful scene after another perfectly composed for a to-die-for photo. We walked along the water’s edge, by a marsh, by the Gulf shore where pelicans swooped in front of us into the sea, by the wharf, and finally on to the pier.
BUT – there’s always a but – somethings we don’t do well together. We’ll admit it now, we just don’t do well with two activities: playing Monopoly and paddling in the same kayak. We nearly separated over the former and the latter can put us off speaking terms for some time. So it may surprise you that we actually chose to kayak while we were at Cedar Key. It was just too tempting, and we couldn’t resist.
We’d been observing the nearby island, Atsena Otie, on the horizon about a half mile offshore into the Gulf. We learned that the island had been booming in the late 1800’s with a population of about 5,000. Red cedars were harvested for pencil manufacturing by Eberhard Faber. Cedar slats were cut and then shipped to New York to make pencils with graphite imported from Siberia. Eagle Pencil Coby also used the red cedars from the area.
Development on the island included hotels, factory, and a wharf. Then, in 1896, a hurricane and storm surge devastated the island. Within the next year all residents had left Atsena Otie. Birds and animals are all that remain living there.
These days, boaters can land on the sandy beach and walk through woods to the old cemetery. Some brickwork from the Eberhard Faber pencil factory lie broken near what remains of the old wharf.
As we learned about its history, we knew we had to kayak out to see it. Lucky for us that kayaks were available for guests at the Faraway Inn. Would our interest in the island and the free kayaks get us through our inability to kayak well together? We had a lot going for us – the day was beautiful and the water calm. The distance was really not that far. Still, we don’t naturally paddle in sync. Confusion ruled as we paddled out to the island. Then, when we started back, we looked for our point of origin on the faraway shore, and that’s when insecurity took over. Where were we heading? We couldn’t agree. We’ll leave it at that, as the details get ugly.
Our Cedar Key to Atsena Otie kayak trip worked, so we now know that we can kayak together with enough inducement, but we need no inducement to pull out our cameras.