I'll take a double espresso ...hold the rattlesnake.
I had a wonderful four days in the wild. The most adventurous part happened on day one. After making the long drive to Flamingo and then paddling six miles down the coast I was ready to set up camp for the night. I found a nice "high and dry" spot under the shade of some Black Mangrove trees and quickly set up my tent and organized my gear. I then made a quick espresso and was just relaxing, listening to the sounds of nature and watching the sunlight dance across Florida Bay.
Slurp. " Ahhh, it's good to be out of the city" I thought to myself.
"What was that sound?" Slurp. "It almost sounded like a rattlesnake" Slurp. ... (long pause) RATTLESNAKE!
I locked eye on a massive pile of snake about 12 feet away. "Holy Expletive" I said.
It was an Eastern Diamondback. America's largest and (arguably) most dangerous snake. She was beautiful.
I took a few steps backward. She didn't seem particularly agitated or aggressive. She didn't seem the least bit scared of me either. I got the distinct feeling she had been watching me for awhile and had finally taken the time to warn me of her presence.
Thus began an hour long stand off. I spent most of my time talking gently to her. Saying things like, " your going to have to go hun". "this campsite ain't big enough for the both of us".
For her part she just continued to give me that look that said, "you're obviously feeble minded and out of your element, This is my home and I ain't goin anywhere".
Finally, I relented. For safety I slid my canoe between her and my gear and then dragged everything down to the waters edge. I then went back and grabbed my boat. I got the feeling she would have been okay with my camping there, but it sounded like a long sleepless night for this "city boy".
Once she saw I was leaving she finally slithered off into the bush. It's hard to imagine her being less than seven feet long. Magnificent animal.
I found another campsite a hundred yards down the beach.