Sunday, August 2, 2009

On The Water - Exploring At Home

Kayaking has become one of my favorite things to do. Especially with Chris since he knows so much about all the shells, plants and wildlife in this area, as well as has great stories from his youth in Portland, OR.

Sunday morning was the third time we tried to get on the water. The first time was years ago and we had a flat so we couldn’t get there, second was last week and it started to storm and this morning it was perfect. We spent 3 hours out and only about a half hour not actually rowing.

We dropped the kayaks in just inside
Fort DeSoto Park near Tampa Bay Watch. Note: if you haven’t been to Fort DeSoto you are missing out. We skirted around little islands, through canopies of mangroves and watched the littler fish hop and skip above the water as they ran from the bigger fish predators. The water was so clean, we could see the sea grass on the bottom most of the time as we made our way to Shell Key.

It was like out of Lost as we beached on one side of the key and made our way through the sea oats and other interesting plants (my favorites:
railroad vine and beach sunflowers) to the other side. It was lovely with no human footprints but our own. I thought about rolling around in the waves, but was immediately entranced by all the shells. Now being a semi-native, I have always been around sea shells, but it has only be recently that I have started to really appreciate them. I can spend quite a bit of time traipsing along the surf finding just the right uninhabited shell. Some are broken into interesting fragments, others are delightful colors and some are just there to be picked up.

Chris knows all the names of the shells and this inspired me to get to know this area even more deeply since it is where I live and love. Every time I go to the beach, or kayaking or wandering along the water I recall that to many this is a vacation destination that they save to come visit and yet all this beauty is right outside my door.

On our return we cooled off in the pool and replenished ourselves with the most delicious smoothies. Chris is definitely the Smoothie King with a mixture of berries, banana and yogurt in a thick delicious pool waiting to be eaten. This actually tied me over for a few hours as I went home to nap and instead ended up trying to get some of my house clean (which is getting more and more difficult as of late).

But the feeling of salty breezes didn’t stop there. I had such a strong urge for seafood and something very fresh and light, that I made my own Ceviche with tuna and seaweed salad. In fact, when it was all marinated and ready to eat, I realized I could have eaten the whole pound of tuna. However, with all the veggies and salad, I saved a touch for tomorrow’s lunch (only saving it for less than 24 hours – never more).

Tuna Ceviche and Seaweed Salad

½ pound of tuna cut into chunky cubes
1 lemon – zest and juice
1 lime – zest and juice
1 TBSP of chopped capers
¼ cup roasted read pepper chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
¼ cup onion finely chopped
¼ cup tomatoes chopped
1tsp minced hot pepper
Dab of olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Put it all together in a glass or ceramic bowl, cover and refrigerate for one hour. Layer with store-bought seaweed salad in a nice cocktail glass and serve with chopsticks.

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