Vacationing With Alberto:  A Whirlwind Adventure

Florida, Orlando, Tampa – we’re the destination for many Americans, arguably the tourist capital of the world. So, where do Floridians go on their vacation? We experienced this firsthand recently with our friends, the Bennett family, who makes a summer trek to the Florida Keys.

It’s a boating trip to Islamorada, a fishing Mecca where sportsmen the world over descend for some of the best game fishing there is. My husband, Mark, and Craig Bennett traded e-mail, web links and phone calls about the place, building anticipation and excitement.

I don’t know about other Floridians, but the summer heat, dripping humidity and stench of human sweat really strengthen the appeal of a northern escape for me, think crisp mountain air. My husband, the angler, angling the various aspects of this trip to his advantage, became the Bennett’s best advocate.

They’re good friends and it’s just a long weekend, so I gave in. Even someone like me who sweats the heat could manage four days.

The guys booked a fishing expedition with a local guide and had grand plans.

We started early Friday, June 9 with trucks loaded and six young kids in tow. The leg to Miami was uneventful. As we approached Florida’s Turnpike heading south to Highway 1, we hit a wall of rain, the Bennett’s boat barely visible ahead of us.

Tiny point of note: Summer means the hurricane season. Not a good omen.

Before leaving peninsular Florida, we saw the devastation last year’s hurricanes had on the local vegetation: fallen trunks and dead trees for acres.

In Islamorada, we settled in and monitored the weather channels, hoping for the best.

The next couple days we woke to whipping winds and pelting rain. Tropical Storm Alberto continued the Shattan curse, yet another in a series of failed water adventures. We apologized to our friends. Like Pigpen in Peanuts, storm clouds hover over us wherever we go. The fishing captain canceled the trip and we found ourselves watching the new movie, “Cars,” at a local theater.

Committed to their mission, Craig and Mark returned to the marina and booked another guide who was willing to risk the weather the following morning.

Doped up on motion sickness patches and pills the guys and our two oldest kids braved the seas in questionable weather. The captain took his boat, Man O’ Man, out 13 miles, trolled in six to eight foot swells and returned five hours later.  My girlfriend and I stood in the marina watching the big grins on our husbands’ faces. I noticed fins sticking out of the hold. My daughter looked a little shaky, holding her doll tightly against her.

The captain took out the mahi mahi and black fin tuna. Considering the rate for the charter, these were the world’s most expensive fish, but Mark couldn’t look happier. That night, we ate tuna sushi, pan seared tuna, fried mahi and baked mahi. It was delicious.

Something strange happened the next morning. Waking up after a restful slumber, I squinted from the bright walls. The Florida sun had returned and the streak of gray days was broken. Great timing — it was checkout.

We stayed an extra day and enjoyed a family boat ride, swimming at the sandbar and a ride on the Seadoo. Life was good.

Vacationing in Florida, it’s hard to outrun the weather but sometimes the payoff’s big.

Jul 18, 2006

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

About the Author

Mylinh Shattan is a writer who has lived on three continents, served in the Army, worked in corporate America, and taught in college. She loves adventures, in the world and in the mind. Literature is relevant and learning is a lifelong pursuit, so you might as well have a bit of fun along the way.

Stay Up to Date

Become a better reader and writer today and try the TreeHouseLetter for free. Always learning with a bit of fun.

Latest Posts

Most Underused Punctuation Mark in American Writing*

Short take Writer's Toolbox Em-dash Book recs So says the lexicographer and usage genius Bryan Garner. My desk copy of the 4th edition of Garner's Modern English Usage states on page 750, "The em-dash is perhaps the most underused punctuation mark in American...

Books for Mothers and Daughters

Short Take, 2 min read Mother's Day Book recs, ages 9 to 99 AVAILABLE ON PODCAST CLICK HERE It's a gray day full of drizzle in Connecticut though it's not as cold as it has been. The yellow lilies in the porch planters are in full bloom and they remind me of my...

What Makes a Speech Great? An Admiral Tells 3 Stories

6 min read Writer’s Toolbox Public speaking AVAILABLE ON PODCAST HERE Admiral McRaven commemorates the 11th Anniversary of Operation Neptune's Spear What makes a speech great? There are a lot of good speeches and good speakers. But a great speech is one you remember....

Exercises in Style: a Writing Tribute

3 min read Book rec Writing Toolbox Wordplay Ages 9 to 99 AVAILABLE IN PODCAST HERE Titles begin with letters as human forms Narrative One day at about midday in the food line, behind the checkout of a more or less busy Costco, I observed a person with a very big...

1000 Push-ups? Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

6 min read Memoir rec Work-outs, push-ups and running AVAILABLE ON PODCAST CLICK HERE Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s the short take on Living with a SEAL*, 31 Days Training With the Toughest Man on the Planet. Jesse Itzler, the author, is fit by most...

Bedside Counselor on Parenting in Anger, in Two Translations

6 min read Book rec Prose for emergencies Writing feature AVAILABLE IN PODCAST, CLICK HERE For solace and for counsel, I have several books I find myself returning to again and again, and to this one, most recently, as my third child prepares to leave home.* For...

What I Learned Walking With a Friend

8 min read True Story Military service Road walking, trail notes AVAILABLE IN PODCAST - CLICK HERE Not 30 miles as the crow flies, that’s how far I was from my childhood home. It was gray and threatening rain, the time in spring that’s cool, tree buds just coming in,...

Topics

Become a better reader and writer today and try the TreeHouseLetter for free. Always learning with a bit of fun.