As I mentioned last month, I’ve decided to call it a career as a charter fisherman. Geez, 12 years!! I guess that I just never stopped to realize that this was a career or that it would work as out as perfectly as it did. Everything just fit into place. I can’t imagine having not done this.
It all started the first month I was here. When I was considering buying the older boat, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to live. I had never lived in Key West before and didn’t know the “lay of the land”. I told the old owner, Keith Cohen, and the old Dockmaster, Don Martin, that I wanted to live on the boat for about a month, just until I got familiar with the area and scoped it out. At first, Don said no but, when I said I wouldn’t buy if that was the case, he reluctantly agreed. Then, during that first month, a couple of alarms went off overnight in the marina and I was able to contact Don and take care of the issues. Afterwards, Don advised me that he realized that I was sort of like night-time security and that they appreciated me being there.
Twelve years later, I’m still there. I can’t tell you the profound impact that has had on me personally. My life has been so convenient. Our old boat had a TV on board when I bought it, but the cable was “fried”. I was so busy the first few weeks, I didn’t have time to consider fixing it. Then, after a couple of weeks, I realized I didn’t miss it and just decided to see how long I could do without one. Five years later, there were initially two working TVs on the new boat when I bought it. Shortly afterward, they changed the system on the dock and the TVs required converter boxes for them to work. I simply decided not to get the boxes. I can’t believe what a revelation that was. I’ve only had TV for a couple of weeks in the last 12 years. I’ve been spending time with friends instead of in front of a “boob tube”. I’ve also gotten a lot more sleep because I’m not camped in front of the TV at 2 a.m. watching some movie or ballgame that I really didn’t care about in the first place. Also, because I’ve been out with people a lot, and not sitting home, I’ve met a lot of folks that I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and that has translated to some of the best friends and greatest customers you could ever imagine.
Another thing is that, because I was less than a block from six different bars/clubs, I got to know everyone in those clubs, got to be friends with just about all of them, and that transferred to constant business. Also, the Conch Republic has music at Happy Hour and on weekends; I’ve gotten to know most of the musicians. That’s a big source of “shout-outs” and endorsement. And that never hurts.
The other big revelation was how little you need a car. I’ve gone days--and even weeks--without using my truck. As with TV, that opens up a lot of your daily calendar for more productive activity. Also, you unconsciously burn a ton of calories because you are walking or biking everywhere, not driving.
The other thing that this “job” gave me is a great perspective on life. Working and sitting around the boat, I would see people come by every day whose best day was way worse than my worst will ever be – people with severe disabilities who are just struggling to make it through life. It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself at a time like that.
Probably the best reason that I’ve loved my “job”, however, is that I have woken almost every morning with a big old smile because I am going fishing on, what many consider to be, the nicest charter fishing boat in Key West, with some of the nicest people in the world, for some of the best fish in the world. I have then been able to come back to the best place I’ve ever lived, and spend time “hanging around” with the best friends I’ve ever had.
People ask me all the time if I have ever regretted giving up my legal career. I tell them I do – I wish I had done so ten years earlier. Of all the conscious decisions that I’ve made in my life, that is probably one that I would do over again in a heartbeat.
I thought it appropriate to close my career here with some of my favorite photos from the last twelve years. Hope you will enjoy as much as I do!
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