As we approached the ramp, we noticed that the kayak guide was still there trying to keep control of his group. He gave us the impression that they would've been long gone by now. Uh....not so much! All three of us did our best to get the yaks and gear unloaded in a hurry. I had a quick chat with the guide and he wasn't concerned about our arrival, just made a suggestion to paddle in a different direction once we were on the water. Our plan was to follow Capt. Swartz's recommendation from the day before so we hoped that there would be no conflict of interest. We'd just have to play it by ear once we were paddling out. I jumped back in the truck and was lucky enough to pull into one of the last remaining parking spots left that morning. Whew - that was a close one ! Props to Marilee for looking out!
I checked to make sure my truck was locked when a park official pulled up behind me. He wanted to make sure I was aware there was a $10.00 parking fee for the day (which I was). We ladies had noticed that on Friday when we were on our little "walk-about" of the island. He was very nice and kindly warned me that there was a strict policy of ticketing any vehicle who failed to pay and he didn't want to see that happen. He knew about the LLGF seminar and that the park would be full of visitors today who may not be aware of the parking fee. Not only did he tell me about it, he offered to make the $10.00 transaction and gave me my parking pass right then and there so I wouldn't have to walk all the way to the other side of the park to put it in the drop-box. I was appreciative. That would save me some time. So far things were going splendidly! We were just lovin' our little Matlacha visit.
Marilee and Liz were busy organizing their stuff and I began doing the same. It was in the middle of that set-up routine when Liz had a bit of a paddle malfunction. She had two sets of paddles at home and accidentally brought two left side paddles instead of a left and right, with no way to join them together. We spent the next few minutes channeling McGyver but just couldn't quite figure how to make it work. Liz finally gave up and decided she would just load her yak back in the trailer and walk back to the hotel. She didn't want to hold me and Marilee up any longer. But that solution presented a new problem. There was no way for me to hold my parking spot until I got back. It would surely be taken by then which would put us back at square one. Now what?
Olde Fish House Marina. She had been eyeing that place since we arrived so that's where we went. It was still early by Island Time so there were only a few other folks there. We had worked up quite an appetite, though, and our eyes were bigger than our stomachs so while we waited for our meals to arrive, we ordered a beer and made a "wish-you-were-here" toast to Dot and then we chowed down!!!