Monday, April 24, 2006

Report from the Keys, Part 2: Being There

I'm not sure where the time is going, but I'd better wrap up this Spring Break mini-vacation report before next spring, or risk looking pretty silly.

The truth is, we didn't do a whole heck of a lot at Hawks Cay. We were there to sit in the sun, by the pool (or in the pool).
Some vacations should be active, physical challenges that jolt you out of your day-to-day and reintroduce you to the grit and exhilaration of real life. Other vacations, such as this one, are times to do nothing; to simply be alone with yourself and your family and rediscover the quiet center of your life.

Those activities that we did organize were largely meant as retreats from the hot sun and minor sun-burns we encountered. All four of us suffered minor sunscreen failures; each burning a small bit of ourselves. Mine was the upper left arm and shoulder. It starts about an inch above my forearm/farmer's tan, creating a paler band between tanned lower arm and burned upper. Very tribal.

We took one morning to visit the Theater of the Sea, in Islamorada. This place has dolphin and sea lion shows, exotic birds, sharks and sea turtles and a rich display of plant life. It was small, but well run, and offered lots to look at.

That was swell.

We also dipped lightly into the Spa offerings of the resort. I had a moderately deep-tissue massage and Karen got a facial. Colleen and Christina had their first massages, taking advantage of the resort's "Teen Spa" offerings, which were nicely and appropriately tuned to the younger set.

We also spent an hour paddling around the Duck Key coastline in a pair of kayaks. It would have been better if we had been able to book spaces in one of the resort's twice-weekly guided eco-kayak tours. We didn't really know where to go, and didn't want to risk going to far in waters that were not familiar to us.

That brings up a point to consider, should you plan a trip to a spot like this. Check a week or so ahead about reservations for things like special tours and activities. Things were book-up well in advance. Also note that all these activities cost extra. It adds up.

The best thing we did was also one of the least expensive; a two hour sunset sail on a catamaran. This was a small group of very nice folks, on a comfortable, stable sailing catamaran with sodas, beer, wine and champagne. We cruised out into a calm bit of the Atlantic and back again, watching the sunset, visiting with dolphins, and indulging in sedate, constructive conversation.

I particularly enjoyed chatting with the gentleman who captained the cruise. In his day job, he's food services manager for the local hospital. He and his teen-aged daughter run the evening cruise as an add-on job. We discussed the land use issues in the fast redeveloping Keys. I was curious to know what it was like to work and raise a family in such a high-rent area. This is the discussion that led me to think of the Keys as a condensed version of our own coastal resort area.

That was our last night. The next day, a big breakfast and a leisurely drive up to the Miami airport. A quick flight home and here we are.


Vickie said...

but what about chase????

Mike said...

... stay tuned...

Donviti said...

the keys are awesome...hope you had fun.

Nancy Willing said...

pics are great! Loved the cat's faces and the hermit crab.
no chase faces, huh?

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