With only 5 gratuitous days in Miami from the atrociously frigid NJ, a house the Keys sounded like heaven. I’d met the homie, Didi, a few months prior in her hometown of M I A while I was working an event for the Foundation I was employed with. She was the right-hand woman to the volunteer event director there and it took all of about…five minutes for us to attach at the hip. What else is new with me right?! New year, same V!
She and I talked about our entire lives in the lightspeed of 2 days, when she stumbled into inviting me to her family’s’ home in the Keys. She knew I was a traveler…was she serious, or doing the slightly obligatory? I was still pondering when she decided to come up to my tri-state neck of the woods the following week for another event. She mentioned the Keys, AGAIN, so I thought maybe she was serious. No problemo, bought my RT tickets with rewards points from my BOA credit card 🙂
As the date of departure loomed ever so near, I realized that “the keys” were much more than really Key Largo and Key West. Interesting. Didi told me her house was at mm90 (uhhh?) So they speak in mile markers … also interesting. Without much of a plan, we hopped in her new Lexus and effortlessly made our way to the land of mile markers. Four lanes turned into two, opposing each other, so if we were stuck behind Grandma in her new Mustang, such was life. We zipped past Key Largo and settled on Plantation Key, bopping between the towns of Tavernier and Islamorada.
Here’s what 2 days will get ya:
We ordered the usual fare from Craig’s while Didi’s mom lowered the boat into the water. The food was ordered and on the boat within 15mins on a beauteous, cloudless day. What more can you ask for? Probably sweet potato fries, no?
Silently, we made our way through everyone’s backyards and into open waters. Passing the toilet highway, where people put toilet seats for some reason that I’m sure had a point initially, now it’s just random and hilarious. We rode the placid waters to a mangrove and dropped anchor in the shallows to eat the goodies and get that vitamin D.
Have friends – will bonfire. If you head to the Keys on your own and know no one down there, you may not have this experience and for that I am deeply saddened. Too bad for you! IF in fact you do have homies down there, this would be when beer is aplenty and freshly caught fish are grilling on the BBQ. This is the stuff life is made of! People sitting, laughing, teasing, and canoodling around the fire after stuffed, yet healthily greased bellies. Boats have been cleaned and not a worry rests on your soul. #Amen.
There are no other words than Made 2 Order. You’re welcome and that is all.
THIS is the Keys, or so I found out. Similar to every American holiday being spent at the shores in Jersey, Floridians (more specifically, South Floridians) flock to the Keys in order to get in the boats they’ve all been able to captain since they were 3 and anchor at the sandbar. Coolers get their fair share of being absolutely handled while groups of 5 to infinity take their pleasures into the shallow water. The Sun made the mighty effort of pushing through the clouds just to spray us with its greatness – we were happiness embodied.
Naturally, a friend of Didi’s anchored near us and joined our little party. We hitchhiked to their boat for the return and since I was the newbie to Keys life, they took a detour and brought me to the honestly terrifying lighthouse. It was just basically in the middle of the ocean, possibly sinking from tonnes of bird poop, and the water was at least forty feet. Deep enough to jump off the lighthouse. I really don’t know how I finagled my way out of that one – the Coast Guard was hanging around like halitosis, so I’ll blame it on them and not my limitations of fear. (But let’s face it…)
Birds, Lots of Them
Last but not least was the bird sanctuary. It’s a rehabilitation center for any and all birds that runs on grants and donations (I donated, get off my back!). The sanctuary sits on quite a bit of acreage and didn’t have much in the way of fencing, which I liked, because WE are in the birds’ habitats. Not vice versa. So, if you walked through the place and made it to the end, you’d find yourself on the banks of the ocean looking out into stunningly vast expanse (probably obvious as it’s all an archipelago, how far can you really go without touching water?)
If you ever get a chance, I’d highly recommend a pop into the Keys! Haven’t made it to Key West just yet, but it shall come in due time!