When I first saw Black Point Keys, I was……..unimpressed. A narrow spit of craggy land connected by six bridges to a string of rocks and stones, some with a tree or two, unlocatable by name on any map. Actually, the Black Point Keys have never been officially named by anyone, to my knowledge, other than me. Perhaps no one has ever cared enough to name them, owing to their small and scruffy character. And, you have to walk a ways to reach them.
Fortunately, I was with photographer friend John Creighton and, doubly fortunately, he decided to challenge me to “see what we could do here”. I think he won the competition with his “Sunrise“. Its in the Black Points album along with some of my own sunrise shots.
First impressions are sometimes erroneous. Despite its rough and ragged appearance, I quickly learned it is a friendly place, home to a unique custom calling upon guests to leave behind a chair to provide future visitors with a comfortable place to rest. Here is a picture of one such abandoned chair, and the view from it.
Not hard to make new friends at Black Point, just start talking and they talk back. English or Spanish, it doesn’t matter. Everybody does their best to communicate. Here is Juan Duran, talking about a fish that not only got away, it took his hook, line, reel and pole with him! Right here at Black Point.
It is also home to a well anchored piece of driftwood that serves as a park bench for some, a cutting board for others, and a picnic table for still others. Someone has taken the time to drive an old railroad stake, perhaps lost by Henry Flagler or his crews, through one end of the wood, preventing the tides from washing this valuable and very useful item out to sea.
Still, despite the hospitality, the hardness and the harshness of the place prevail. The range of the light is extreme, running from eyeball scorching bright white to dirty blue gray in the same cloud. The same little patch of ground runs from slippery, slimy yellow green moss and sea weed to leather cutting brown black coral. On the same day, one can see multiple shades of reds, blues, yellows and near blacks in the sky. There is a sign post with no sign remaining. It probably said ‘You are here’. It might have asked ‘Why?’. It might have warned about the presence of crocodiles.
And yet, plants grow, ants dig, birds fly, raccoons rummage, rats scurry, people walk and jog and fish.
And take pictures of……..
Empty chairs and crocodiles. Is that irony, or sarcasm, or simple coincidence. Not to worry, the sign about the crocodiles is on the other side over by the commercial shrimp boats and the old salts who live aboard. They seem fine. “Oh yes, the sign is for real”, says Captain Allan Carrington. “Big ones. You can see their eyes above the water when you come back in at night. Their eyes reflect the lights.”