Southwest Florida On-line – Sunday Morning Information: Florida Keys’ watercolor capers by Bob Crane
The brown pelican (part 2, excerpt 24)
In this new story, a Brown Pelican talks about the history of the Florida Keys and how the Brown Pelican was there when it all happened.
The brown pelican
Our next visitors came much later, sometime in the fifteen hundred years. They were supposedly much more educated and advanced. But they were a ruthless group of explorers.
Now we see a three-masted ship, a galleon. It has two raised decks above the main deck both fore and aft. It is about a hundred and forty feet long and thirty-five feet wide. Somehow it found a way through the reef. It is now at anchor in the Hawk Channel just off the shore of the same beach where our Indian visitors landed at least six hundred years ago.
You have launched the ship’s two long boats and are rowing to the coast. There are at least twelve to fourteen men in each. They too are tossed up on the beach in the same waves that helped our ancient Native Americans.
They climb out and drag the boats into the sand. You are not as graceful as our Indian friends. There seems to be a leader. He goes into the country and plants a yellow and red flag on the sand. He is dressed in ornate clothes. Flowing pantaloons hang around his waist and upper knees, and tights cover his legs. His followers gather around him. They wear fancy hats and clothes. Some wear metal breastplates, and some have thunderbusses, * some have pikes, and all have straight style swords.
These are the conquerors or explorers who conquered Mexico. What are you here for? You will claim this land for the King and Queen of Spain. Basically, however, they are here for gold, silver, and jewels. You won’t find any here. Let’s listen to them for a moment.
The guide: “I, Don Juan Diego de Escanpar, claim this whole land in the name of their royal majesties, the king and queen of Spain, for all eternity. Men look around and see what’s here. I would like gold, but if you can catch some natives we can bring them back to Cuba to work our sugar plantations. “
One of the men: “Look, Don Diego, at the very large mahogany trees.”
Don Diego says: “Very nice. When we return we will cut these trees down and send the wood back to Spain. Her Majesties will be very proud and bring us fame, favor and good fortune. “
Now we pelicans had to be a little careful with these men. They would have shot us and invited us to dinner.
From the author
My second full-length book, Florida Keys’ Watercolor Kapers, is 336 pages. There are 12 stories from 6 pages up to 72 pages. It is fully illustrated with 88 watercolors and sketches. The watercolors I did while roaming Key West after finishing my 750 mile hike from Georgia to Key West. (See the book or Don Browne’s SouthWest Florida Online News, A Walk Across Florida.) Reading these stories will bring you to Key West, the Keys, and the Caribbean. These stories span the early 19th century through 1969. bkranich.wixsite.com/bobkranich