Hey, It's NOT Snowing...

By Rick Ropelewski

For the first time since visiting family in Tampa about 20 years ago, we decided to head to a warmer part of the world than Boston for the holidays.  It snowed that time in Tampa, so we decided to hedge our bets and go further south to Key West.  It was definitely what the doctor ordered, but it still felt strange to get off the plane with sunny, 80 degree weather in December.

This is the first time we have been to the Keys and we had a great time.  Someone described Key West as having an atmosphere similar to New Orleans.  They were right as we were there for New Year’s and it did feel like Mardi Gras, but fortunately the PG-17 version.

A couple of the highlights were a jet ski tour and a fishing charter.  For the jet ski, one option was to rent the ski and go out on your own in an area the size of two football fields (they didn’t want you visiting Cuba I guess).  The second option was to be part of a tour.  We opted for option two because while we figured it would just be a leisurely ride on the jet skis seeing some local wild life, we thought they might let us do some faster riding for a few minutes (our son Peter’s only priority).  Wrong!  The tour gave us about five minutes of instruction and we were off at 40 miles per hour for the next 90 minutes with one or two stops to make sure no one fell off and went for a swim.

Peter loves to fish so one day while my wife and daughter went for a bike ride Pete and I did our best impersonation of Quint and Chief Brody from the movie ‘Jaws’.  I figured if we were lucky we would catch some local fish that would put up more of a challenge than what Pete catches in our local lake.  We did catch some 8-12 inch fish and we were having a lot of fun.  Our guide said these would be good bait, but I could tell Pete was hoping for something a little more exciting.  A short while later we caught a six-foot lemon shark.  We got the shark close to the boat for some pictures and then sent it on its way.  While I don’t love to fish like Peter it was an incredible experience.

Overall we highly recommend Key West and I’m happy to ‘play’ travel agent if you are considering the trip.