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2011 - Bahamas
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2009-2011 - Florida Keys
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Conch Life
The Florida Keys
2009 – 2011
Genevieve Snorkeling
~ Genevieve Snorkeling ~
Key Colony
Revenge of the Jelly Fish
"What is that purple thing floating over there? It looks like a balloon or one of those little foam footballs."

On a sweltering midsummer day our kind and generous friend, Captain Curt (Crusty) with his fearless dog Tingum, had offered to take us and our visiting family out for a refreshing sail on his Corsair Trimaran 'Windrider.' It was relaxing to sit back and have someone else take charge, and with roller furling main and jib, Capt'n Crusty effortlessly navigated through Sister's Creek and got us underway in no time. The only thing I was responsible for was tending my drink and my tan.

Even with a mild 8 knot breeze, Windrider sailed at a swift speed on our easterly heading and the trimaran's shallow draft allowed us to just skim along the coastline on comfortably calm seas. We all soon discovered the best place to be on the boat was sprawled on one of the trampolines between the main hull and the outrigger amas, where the water could splash up between the netting cooling our sun soaked bodies.

Snorkeling a Sandbar
By early afternoon we were anchored in 3 feet of water on a secluded sandbar just off of Key Colony. We all hopped into the warm Atlantic and snorkeled around in the clear emerald current. There were few ocean treasures to be found on that soft, sandy bottom and only small bait fish to chase around. My daughter Genevieve and I amused ourselves by diving along the grassy ledge while Don dug up sand dollars and small sea shells. We were all laid-back, happily enjoying the simple pleasures of a dip in the tranquil ocean.
Doing a Model Pose
~ Doing a Model Pose ~
Moon Jelly Invasion
After a few hours the tide shifted and a mass of moon jellyfish started to make their migration across our little oasis. These pink translucent organisms pulse their bell shaped bodies to remain near the surface of the water, but with a little vigilance it is easy to avoid the mild sting their short tentacles deliver. Immersed in our placid mood, Gen and I decided we didn't want to exert that much effort and climbed onto the trampoline of the boat.

However Don and Crusty opted to stir things up a bit, and entertained themselves by bopping the tops of the jellies. Eventually emboldened by the rum and completely ignoring my motherly pleas to stop touching the venomous sea creatures, they began grasping the innocuous saucers and tossing them toward each other in a boyish game of tag. Gen and I just shook our heads, bewildered by the risky things that males do for amusement.

Ahh, but nature has her own special way of getting revenge.

Capt. Curt, Don, and Tingem
~ Capt. Curt, Don, and Tingem ~
Tummy Target
The first victim was Crusty. His attention was drawn toward the Cuban Hip-Hop music blasting from a powerboat just anchoring on the edge of the shoal. As the female occupants jumped into the water and then quickly retreated back to the safety of their boat, Curt began to laughingly mock them in a high, girlish voice.

"Ohhh – save me from the jellies! How do you say jellyfish in Spanish? Medusa? Ayye – the medusas are attacking! Ha! Look at them scramble up onto their boat!"

Then, just as he turned back toward us he SCREAMED like a little girl. A moon jelly the size of a dinner plate had planted its stingers right on Crusty's stomach. It was the women's turn to laugh. I offered up Don to provide a viable first aid treatment for just such a injury – urine, but Crusty opted for a dose of rum, taken orally and before long the boys returned to their antics. Then I mentioned the purple blob I'd spotted floating in the water nearby.

Portuguese Man of War
~ Portuguese Man of War ~
Conservationist Casualty
Don believed it to be some kind of litter and ever the environmentalist, waded over to retrieve it for proper disposal. But first, according to the rules of their game, the garbage had to be thrown at someone. Don grasped the top of the purple ball and in a stunning millisecond realized he was holding a Portuguese Man of War.

Unlike the innocuous moon jellies, this organism's venom was virulent! He was able to fling it away just as its painfully venomous tentacles started to wrap around his wrist. Suffering only minor injury, he too sought Curt's bottle of first aid rum.

No Pity for the Pained
I must confess that, given the circumstances, I was less than compassionate about the pain these two endured. My female intuition predicted that pestering poisonous critters was bound to lead to some regrettable conclusion. Ah, but the power of the male ego intervened and the guys just compared their welts, teased each other mercilessly, and laughed the whole thing off. Gen and I concluded that some things about men will continue to perplex us.

We spent the remainder of the day relaxing on Windrider, enjoying the sunshine and each other's company. Curt eased back into the role of responsible captain, and brought us all back in one piece – some of us a little buzzed, some of us a little wounded, none of us a little wiser, but safely none the less.

Thank You Curt for the Fabulous Cruise and the Unforgettable Fun!
NOTE: No hurricanes were brought to the Florida Keys during the 2009 season, but on the eve of Thanksgiving, at 3:10 AM Boot Key Harbor experienced a microburst with winds clocked at 125 knots. I guess mother nature wanted us to know she hadn't forgotten about us. Windrider was literally lifted up and flipped over, a very difficult thing for a moored trimaran to do. Friends helped Captain Curt right the boat and the event was caught on YouTube.
How to Right a Trimaran