It was a beautiful sunny day, cruising down to the Florida Keys. As always; the sun is brightly radiant and the weather is perfect, not a single cloud in the sky. The sky itself had its usual royal blue hue to it, almost only discernible to the Florida Keys and seen nowhere else. As I coasted down the bridge down to the Largo island, that familiar island vibe began to emanate throughout me, reminding me of: seagulls, sunscreen, and shallow sand dollars, “home” I thought to myself. As a drove down the island passing palm trees and the distinct one-of-a-kind Mrs. Macs Kitchen, I came by the all familiar colored fence with a toy sailboat attached to it, which is the sailing symbol of Key Lime Sailing Club: a 22’ Catalina.
I’m greeted by the friendliest and most wholesome crew, volunteers that hail from all over the world, searching for sailing knowledge and desperately looking to share their adventuring stories. In addition, I’m greeted by an all too familiar mechanic that towers over all who come by, despite his daunting size and his gorilla like hands (possibly from turning nuts and bolts for a lifetime); he is one of the kindest people I have met, and his stories of distant lands and far off places could keep you enchanted for a lifetime. Equally as adventurous, I meet the owner of it all, Paul Keever. At first glance it is as if he has fully committed himself to the life of pirating; his beard and long ponytail hair is uncanny, yet fitting to the lifestyle. The only thing that could complete his look would be a parrot, a peg leg, and a name tag saying Pauly the Pirate. Despite his pirating lifestyle, his kindness and humor reaches out to as many people as he possibly can, and to each one of his guests. If he does not laugh at least once in the first couple times you meet him we will personally provide you with a complimentary nights stay. His laugh is truly unavoidable and completely contagious.
As I travel further down the driveway, in my windshield I see the truly distinct sight of Key Lime: the tiki-hut. It has an unmistakably unique look about it; the palm trees seem to grow away from the tiki almost as if they somehow know the tiki-hut is there, preventing their coconuts from falling onto the hut itself. The tiki-hut has a discernible wooden aesthetic to it with very tropical feeling within it. The function of the tiki itself is to be the gathering ground for all the sailors after the days sail, a place to tell about their days adventures out on the buttonwood bay.
I check into my cottage and by this time, it’s about half past 5’ o’clock somewhere, and the sun is just beginning to set. As I set my things down in the Captains Cottage, I look out the sliding glass door to see the watermark of the keys, a sunset. As the yellow sun descended towards the horizon, it washed a vibrant hue over the ocean surface, illuminating a quivering path across the water. Radiating a light across a meek sailboat sailing horizontally from the sunset, and illuminating the buoyant buoys with an enlightening yellow.
As I lay back in my bed, staring at the beautiful sight I think about all the things that make this wondrous place so distinct: the beautiful sights, the radiant sun, the birds chirping and the sandy sand dollars. I realize what truly makes this place distinct, is the people, the people I have decided to call friends, family, my community and my extended family. I think back and think about how lucky I am to call this place home, and how lucky I am to feel so loved, down here; in paradise.