Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Gulf Coast Fish Camp Stilt Houses

So, if you happen to be surfing Google Maps and you look off the central gulf coast, you might notice several tiny islands way further out away from Harbor Isles, Martha's Vineyard (yes, Florida has its own Martha's Vineyard), etc. The biggest one? That's Durney Key. (The big green frothy line you see above it is the wake of a large yacht passing by.)

But if you squint closely, you'll see those tiny white specks above and below Durney Key. And scroll upwards from there and you'll see even more of them to the North, extending way out into isolated waters. What are they?

They're very old houses built up on immense stilts, sort of like rustic forerunners to oil-drilling platforms. These buildings were constructed as "fish camps" where hardcore fishermen boarded overnight. They're grandfathered in - they can't be torn down, but if a hurricane wipes them out, they can't be rebuilt. So enjoy these architectural fossils of yesteryear while you can. They're not touted as a tourist attraction or shown on most maps, and they can't be seen from the mainland shore. But they're there, waiting to host anyone willing to make the sojourn on a boat or even, as some have done, a paddleboard.

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