A Short Trip to the Florida Keys and Anaphylactic Shock

The weather finally cleared and on November 14 I headed out into the Atlantic to explore the Upper Florida Keys. Here’s a short video of me leaving Miami.

I did get to Fowey Light that day but disappointingly, the water visibility was very poor so I was not able to enjoy the reef. I was tied up to a mooring buoy and decided to stay the night, hoping the visibility would be better in the morning. Here’s a pic of Fowey Light.

The night was rough. The wind and waves picked up and tossed me around all night. I hardly slept at all. Plus it started raining. So in the morning, being in a bad mood, I just unhooked from the buoy and headed further south to Caesars Creek on Elliot key to get an anchorage. The water was murky there too, so not much to do but sleep.

I decided to return north and make another trip to the Bahamas rather than hang around the Keys. The snorkeling there is much better. Returning to Miami, my anchorage was near the port and I had a nice view of the skyline.

When the Bee Stings

The next day when I got to my anchorage in Hollywood I had a terrible experience. I had just anchored and was getting things sorted out when a bee stung me on the back of the neck. I’ve been stung before so other than a little pain and swelling I did not think much of it. But within minutes I started itching all over. I sat down and realized I was overheating, my head was throbbing and my face started to swell up. A few minutes after that I began to see spots. I’ve passed out a couple times before so I know the feeling (Note to Paula–remember Debbie’s wedding and the escalator?). When I see spots and the color disappears I know I am going to faint. I got up to go lie down in my bed but didn’t make it. I passed out and collapsed. The next thing I know I regain consciousness laying on the floor of my boat. I crawled into bed and lay there, my body covered with hives and itching like crazy. I also felt nauseous and had a pounding headache.

I stayed in bed for 12 hours recovering from this episode. I’ve never had such a reaction before to a bee sting and wondered if it might be one of those murder hornets, but no, it was just an ordinary honeybee.

So I did some research and discovered epi pen injectors. When I can settle somewhere I’ll get venom injections. Anaphylactic shock is no joke. It can be fatal.

Here’s a photo of my swelled up face while laying in bed.

The next day I did a video call with a doctor and got a prescription for epinephrine injectors, which stop anaphylaxis before it becomes fatal. If I go into shock I twist the cap off and stick the needle into my thigh. I feel better with these around.

The culprit.

After that trauma it was wait wait wait again for good weather. Here is a nice sunset at my anchorage in Hollywood.

Here is Orion at anchor. This is in South Lake, Hollywood.

Goodbye Bike

I’m afraid I’ll have to say goodbye to my trusty Fuji Touring Design bicycle. It has been ravaged by the salt air and has rusted all over. The brakes don’t work, the head tube is stuck, the seat is moldy and the frame looks like it will corrode away any day. I took it on shore the other day and did some maintenance but it looks trashed. I knew this day would come so I am shopping around for a new, aluminum folding bicycle that is made for a marine environment.

But it’s tough to toss away my old friend. I bought that bike in 2002 for my European tour and it has served me well over 18 years, 50 countries and 35,000 miles. I think I will give it a burial at sea.

Here’s the bike in happier times. This is outside Warsaw, Poland in August, 2002.

Well that’s just a quick update. The weather finally looks good so I will leave tomorrow for the Bahamas. Stay tuned and have a safe Thanksgiving holiday!