Friday, July 28, 2017

The Fates Are Angry in South Florida

When I booked this trip, the highlight was meant to be snorkeling at the coral reef located off of Key Largo. Tranquil Adventures charters a boat with a pool lift built into it to lower disabled passengers into the water.

Upon arrival a couple of days ago, I called Captain Mick...owner of Tranquil let him know we were here and when we should go. We settled upon today.

Today dawns windy and cloudy. It's still warm to hot. I call the captain and he says we're still on. I ask him a few questions...does he provide towels, what kind of sandwich he'd like us to bring him, etc...and then he asks if we plan to go in the water.

"Well, yes...that's the whole reason we booked so we could go snorkeling," I tell him.

Every other month we will ship you (6) of our Classic Series wines (4) reds and (2) whites each chosen for the varietal and regional character. These wines are chosen from hundreds tasted each month delivered with a 20 page newsletter He tells me the weather and water is way to choppy to do that. All we'd be able to do, basically, is to take a boat ride.  We agree to forgo the trip. Accessible snorkeling will not be on the menu for our Keys trip as we'd hoped (we'll try to make up for it somewhat in the next post).

Now we've suddenly got a free day with absolutely no plans. I jump on the computer Googling "things to do in Southern Florida" and find the Everglades Alligator Farm about an hour's drive away near Homestead.

I see that they also have airboat rides through the Everglades. Sounds like fun so we load up the car and go.

It's still cloudy and starting to sprinkle when we arrive.  Letty heads inside while a gentleman  sitting in a rocking chair on the porch warns me "they don't let handicapped people ride the boats."

"Really?" I ask him.

"Yeah, I'm a amputee from the knee down and they won't let me on."

I go inside to get more information. The lady at the ticket counter tells me that's not true and that they have an accessible dock and the staff will help lift and transfer the rider into the boat. She offers to let me inside for free to inspect the dock and boats to make sure.

Yep, everything is as she says it is so I head back in to make our arrangements except when I do I see a video monitor above her head with what looks like a weather map.  It shows a system full of yellow and orange spiraling into an area of red and a blue dot. I ask the lady what the blue dot is.

"That's us," she tells me.

"So you mean that red, orange, and yellow system is heading right towards us?"


(Not the actual map we saw but similar)

This does not look even remotely good, thankfully we found that out before buying tickets.

We start to head back towards the Keys when we spot a produce shack called Robert is Here. Yes, that is a strange name for a fruit stand but Florida...

Letty wants to stop and buy some fresh fruit for later (check out the size of the guava she found). I pull in but while she's inside, I figure out this corner spot will be very hard to get out of so when I get a lucky break in traffic, I move to another parking spot about fifty feet away.

Oh, the hands of fate dealt with us then...that red and orange spot? It arrived while my wife was inside.  A deluge of Biblical proportions hit and hit hard. Visibility dropped down to about 100 feet.  The awning over the entrance funneled the rain into a water wall rivaling the majesty of Niagara.

Tim and I were waiting in the car. My options were to leave him alone and go find Letty to tell her we moved or to wait inside and try to spot her when she came out. I went for plan B.

A few minutes later, I see here come out, getting absolutely soaked, looking the other way.  I honk. Nothing. I honk again, a little more intensely. She walks the other way.

Only one thing left to do..."I'm sorry Tim, you'll just have to wait it out here for a minute while I get your mom."

I dash through the rain and find Letty knocking on the window of a similar looking van.  I grab her arm..."that's not our car," and run her back to ours trying futilely to get inside ours before we get too wet.

It's not happening, we're both soaked to the bone. The driver's seat of our rental van is mildly flooded but at least Tim's still dry and happy in the passenger seat.

When we hit Key Largo, the rain has gone. It was more focused on the Everglades than the Keys.

We call the day a wash and spend some time at the Happy Hour at our hotel's beachside Tiki bar before retiring to the room for the night.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2017 - All Rights Reserved

Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2017 - All Rights Reserved

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