Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving in the Keys

My vacation to Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys was very tropical, very relaxing, and very, very beautiful.

I went with Bryce, his family, his granny Kay (who invited me), his aunt, uncle & 3-yr-old cousin from New York City (that I had dinner with while I was there), and Kay's cousin Jack and his wife Donna (whose son Scott lived on Duck Key Island, where we were staying). It was a big group, and they were all a ton of fun.

Our events included jet-skiing (I saw a six-armed starfish), off-shore fishing (I caught six or seven large fish, including the second largest edible fish), and a sunset cruise (more like a sunset speedboat ride-- my hair was destroyed).

The off-shore fishing excursion was especially fun. Scott, Jack's son-in-law, owned the fishing boat and took us out for the day. He and his shipmate Bill were extremely knowledgeable about how to catch fish, and it probably took us an hour to catch over twenty fish. We then spent the next three or four hours trolling for sailfish (giant "sport" fish). We only saw one the entire time, and it refused to bite. So right before we went in, we had some fun and caught one large kingfish and two giant barracuda (which are inedible because they carry some sort of disease).

During the downtime, I took two naps, read a little, went below deck to make everyone sandwiches (below deck, there were three bedrooms that can sleep up to six people, a bathroom, a washer and dryer, a kitchen/living area, and a giant TV-- talk about traveling in comfort!), and went up to the "tuna tower," a deck at least twenty feet above the upper deck, in which there was an incredible view of the sea all around and a great view all the way down to the bottom of the sea. It wasn't very deep in most areas (never more than 45 ft) and the water was so clear we could see the bigger fish swim around in the depth. And not only was it clear, but it was the most beautiful shade of bright aquamarine blue I've ever seen.

Thanksgiving dinner was at Scott (our boat captain) and his wife's home on the island where we were staying (Duck Key). All the traditional food was there-- turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes-- but the location was anything but normal. We ate outside on the patio and from there we could see the sea (from the empty lot across the street). The weather could not have been more pleasant as well, and later when the sun set, we lit a small fire in one of those little metal fire pits and sat around chatting for another couple hours before heading back to the villa.

And the villa...! The villa was a two-story little condo, with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a large back porch (and upper deck porch). Our backyard was a little grass and then the bay. To our left was the marina, directly across was the long highway (that stretches from mainland Florida all the way down to Key West, the southernmost island), and to our right was the open sea. A long, gorgeous expanse of open sea, which I could stare at for hours. Unfortunately, I never woke up early enough to see the sunrise from there (our back porch faced east), but I'm sure the view would have been breath-taking.

The sunset that we saw from the sunset "cruise" sure was spectacular. But it was most amazing after the sun had already set. There weren't many clouds overhead to reflect the light during the sun's descent, but on the horizon all around were low-lying clouds that kept their pink and blue hues after the sun dipped below the water. With the sun gone, the sea became a icy silver blue-- the most beautiful part of the entire picture.

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