Momma Wanted a Vacation

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So the wife tells me she’s planning a vacation.  Oh yeah! “Where are we going and when?” I asked.  She tells me she wants to do something while the kids are out of school.  At first I’m told she’s considering places we will fly to.  “Blah” I say.  I remind her of the huge tent she bought years ago with the intent of taking the kids to the Dry Tortugas.  Bam “That’s it!” she says and grabs my charter calendar and blocks out a week a month in advance.  I didn’t think much of it at the time but every day after that, a delivery truck dropped off packages from who knows where at our house like it was Christmas. I got busy fixing little things on the boat like getting the fresh water tank operational, a couple new fuel filters installed and went through my onboard tool box.  I started to notice large Tupperware totes piling in the carport. I reminded her it’s a 30 foot boat and we are only going for 3 days and 2 nights. As the date gets closer I start thinking about all the bad stuff that could happen on an 80 mile trip with my wife and kids on the boat. You can’t pull over and ask for help if something goes wrong. I actually got a knot in my stomach thinking about it the closer to shove off we got. I finally decided it wouldn’t do any good to worry her with my concerns, however I did put a limit on how much stuff she wanted to take. Six cases of water and three cases of Capri Suns seemed excessive to me.  After a bunch of give and take about what we “needed” the boat was loaded, full of fuel, kids were in their bean bags and we were off. The first leg from Sugarloaf to Key West Harbor to top off the fuel didn’t take long. We shoved off and I ran west through the Lakes past Boca Grande Island. As we ran around the north side of the Marquesas’ my anxious anticipation grew but everything went fine as we lost sight of land behind us. We got super lucky to hit a great weather window and the seas where almost becalmed which made for a fairly quick crossing. I really thought the kids would fall asleep but the anticipation was too much for any of that. I showed them the distance to destination on the gps which solved the how much longer questions. One of them would get up look and make the report to everyone how far away we were. At the 10 mile mark both of them went to the bow, like forward look outs wanting to be the first one to see our destination. They both saw it and pointed to let me know where to go. When I was a couple miles out I called the harbor master to report in. He reported back all the docks where open and to take our pick. As we came into the harbor the kids got to see one of the seaplanes exiting which was a first for both of them. We tied up and off loaded all our camping stuff. We put the tents up in a hurry because the water was calling. I went into the ranger’s office and got all our check in stuff straight. Well.... I got left behind. I notice the only fins and mask left at the tent were mine. My detective skills were working well as I found everybody in the water at the south beach. I’m pretty sure my kids tried to wear out their snorkel gear in a couple days as we had a hard time getting them out of the water. We did the full tour of Fort Jefferson itself noting how cool the inner passages and stairwells were. We spent some time looking for the crocodile that lives in the mote but never did find him. We cooked over charcoal at night and mom brought s’mores. On day two, the highlight of the trip we loaded up in the boat and rode over to the west side of Loggerhead key to snorkel the reef Little Africa. The kids found tons of cool stuff and big red grouper they could almost touch. Day three rolled around and we made the trip home without incident. I can say it was a lonely trip for me at the wheel because this go around the bean bags did their magic and when I looked back behind me everyone was out. My daughter woke up about the time we were passing Key West and helped me navigate home from there. After a night home, we jumped in the wife’s SUV and drove to Islamorada to spend the night at a beachside resort. We did the tourist thing at Theater by the Sea too. I kind of liked the poolside bar and the air-conditioning, but I’m betting that if I asked the kids about our “In the Keys” vacation, they won’t remember that part of it. [gallery columns="4" link="file" ids="4202,4201,4200,4199,4198,4197,4196,4195,4194"]


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