Searching for sunset
Naples Pier ended up being my choice for sunset pictures that evening. We had spent a lot of time hunting down a place closer to camp, but after some poor advice, a couple of dead ends and time quickly running out it became clear Naples Pier was the best bet. I was honestly surprised at the lack of access to the coast in the area near the campground. There was 40 minutes till sunset when we started the 10 mile jaunt to the pier. It took all of that and more to get there.
Downtown Naples is truly beautiful, the architecture and the vibe is vintage Florida mixed with trendy stores and restaurants. As the cars slowly rolled – foot by foot – we listened to the sounds of the street. A woman walked the sidewalk playing the bagpipes, the music drifting along with the sounds of laughter and traffic.
Because of the congestion on the roads, I missed the main event… as we approached I got out of the car, left him to go park and walked on the pier alone. On either side of the pier the beach was lined with hundreds of people there to see that evenings sunset. Couples were kissing and getting their portraits done and everyone else had both arms in the air clutching their cameras, fixated on the horizon. I almost cried. It was my birthday, it was supposed to work out and there I was by myself and missing it! As I walked the length of the pier the sun drifted out of sight and the people that had been crowding the end came rushing toward me in a mass exodus. I felt like a salmon struggling to make it upstream.
My feelings of frustration and sadness melted away as I stood at the end of the pier and took my first picture. The clouds were on fire. Had it been a perfectly clear evening I would have missed this spectacular sight. I shook off the melancholy and thought about the crowd that had been right where I was standing just a few moments before. Maybe it worked out for the better. It was relatively quiet, I wasn’t fighting for a chance to share the view… and I was in Naples exploring after all! I could have been sitting on my couch, but I was here looking at my first Gulf sunset. It’s all about perspective.
Finally, my sweetheart joined me, he gave me a big hug and said “happy birthday.” We stood together and watched the light wane as the Gulf breezes picked up.