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Just another day out on the water
Growing up in Florida has given me a great appreciation for the ocean. I really do think that salt water is pumping through my veins. This weekend nine of us went down to the Florida Keys. Michael, my boyfriend, has been redoing a flats boat with his brother Chris (owner of Mobile Marine Services of America) for a while now. This weekend was its début in the water and Michael was like a little kid on Christmas morning.
Mike's best friend, Chase, goes to Mass Maritime and was visiting this past week (the reason we decided to venture down to the keys this particular weekend). For Florida, it was extremely cold, getting down into the 40s at night and hovering in the mid-60s during the day. I know that with all of the snow the rest of the country has been getting, this sounds like a dream, but for us Floridians, we were freezing. Nevertheless, we put on our jeans and sweatshirts and decided to brave the cold on the boats.
The air was chilly and calm, full of salt that swept into my nostrils (it's one of my favorite smells in the world). Even though it was extremely overcast and we were a bit chilly, the water was glass. We could not have asked for calmer seas and we were loving life. Taking in a huge breath of ocean goodness, I stepped onto the Shipoke for the first time and settled onto the worn out bench seat in-between Mike and Chase. We all cracked a beer and toasted this maiden voyage. From the put in to the house was a nice little cruise with Mike showing off how fast his new baby could glide over the water and how well she corners. By the time we pulled up to the others at the dock behind the house, our grins were windswept onto our chilled faces.
Chris captained the Hydra-Sports with the majority of our group on it, while Mike, Chase and I stayed on the Shipoke. Even though there is a lot of work left on the flats boat, the paint job is gorgeous and she is purring fantastically. We cruised along laughing and joking about how great fishing this summer is going to be on the flats. Being out there riding around with the guys on either side of me, having a great time, made me forget about how cold the wind felt on my face or how badly I wished I had grabbed the foul weather gear from the house.
We even got a rare treat, a few bottle nose dolphins showed up behind the other boat right alongside us. One of our friends, Mary, had never even been to the Keys before and we were so happy that she was able to experience this. We cruised around for a little while longer on the Gulf side of Tavernier and started to head south for a restaurant when the wind started to kick up. Then splash! We all got salt water to the face. We laughed thinking it was a fluke. Suddenly, our glass turned into three foot white caps. Now usually, three-foot seas are nothing for us but in a low sitting flats boat we were a little more than uncomfortable. We became freezing and started to get tossed around, bumping up in the air and everything. Michael did an amazing job driving and we were never in too much danger other than being overly cold. We rode the rest of the way to the restaurant shivering and stiffly holding on, still trying to laugh at the situation.
When we docked, everyone from the other boat was laughing at our dripping clothing and our shivers as we made light of our rough ride. Even through it all we were just happy the boat was running well and that the weather was our only problem. Once we got some hot food in us and stripped off our dripping jackets the chill got out of our bones. On our way back, we decided to take the ocean side all the way back to the house and ride in the wake of the Hydra-Sports. It was calmer on the way home, even though we still got splashed a few times, but laugher and jokes came easier.
The sunset was breath taking as the skies started to clear a little. Sitting on this new-to-us 1982 Shipoke with two of the best guys I have ever met, I realized that there was nowhere else I would have rather spend my Saturday (even if it was chilly and damp). This memory might not seem too eventful or exciting to most, but to me it meant the world. It's funny how life is like that, one moment it is calm and seems insignificant and the next it is rough and hard to deal with. But, in the end it is how you look at the event that really means something. I could have looked at this glass as half empty of nasty, salty water, but instead I hope that I never forget how amazing that day was or how much fun we really had. In the words of Chase right before the water turned rough, "This is awesome!" and that is how I am planning on remembering it.
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