We were supposed to travel down to Key West last week, but hurricane Irma decided to come through and leave a trail of destruction. I’m not so out of touch that I think losing out on a vacation is the most horrible thing that could have happened. Obviously, the people whose homes and businesses and lost their lives are victims. They have lost so much, and some will never get back what they have lost. So, me losing out on a vacation is hardly suffering. 

Still, I got to endure a week of watching it approach, begging it to go back to the ocean and disappear, turning on all my fans to point in the direction of Irma, threatening it with weapons, etc, etc, desperate for it to just go away and leave the beautiful Carribean in peace. Instead, it did the exact opposite and became a record-breaking hurricane. Of course, it did… never ask me to wish for anything for you because my positive vibes will somehow poison the water and ruin everything in your life. 

After the hurricane hit Key West, there were two days of “OMG how bad is it?! Will we still be able to go?!” The obvious answer is no, obviously not. I was holding out hope that since there were no pictures showing the Key West damage, there must not be much. Instead, the pictures were delayed because they had no internet, power, or cell service and had to revert back to the stone age method of communications, pony express, or maybe 4-wheeler express, nowadays.

We finally determined we couldn’t go when they announced that the island was closed to visitors. There were no utilities on the island, and there is damage, although really it’s a best-case scenario for the damage level, all things considered. We did have a clue of non-entry coming when they wouldn’t even let in residents. I saw they literally just started letting in residents Monday. 

I called the airline to get my money back, and the first thing they told me is that my flight wasn’t canceled. I actually had to argue with them that Key West isn’t letting in visitors, there was a giant hurricane, did you not notice?! But eventually, I got my refund, so that’s fine. I still need to make sure I get my refunds for the other aspects, but I’m confident I’ll get my money back, which I will later use to rebook the exact same services once Key West is up and running again. 

But, in the meantime, I now had planned vacation days with literally no idea what to do. We tossed around some ideas, and finally, we had the idea of asking my parents to take us sailing. Luckily, my parents graciously agreed. 


Arrival at the docks

As I was preparing for this different trip, I had the thought that it would be hilarious to make a video log of me pretending to be in Key West, doing things I would have done in Key West. But, I didn’t pack until the last minute and forgot my supplies, including my snokel mask and fins, which would have been essential to create the illusion. I guess next failed vacation I’ll try it again! 

In the meantime, here are some pictures in Key West!

Lounging on the ferry to Dry Tortuga!

We had planned to take a day trip to Dry Tortuga, operated by the park service, but in addition to not being in Key West to begin with, Dry Tortuga took damage and closed down the ferry until further notice. Instead, we sailed across the Chesapeake Bay from Annapolis to St. Micheals, Md, on the eastern shore. 

Chesapeake bay
Wow! The Carribean sure has dark blue water!

I grew up sailing, thanks to my dad. I used to hate it because it scared me. The boats we had before were smaller and tipped over easily, and I was scared of the water. The Chesapeake Bay water is dark and has low visibility. What if there were sharks in there?! (Sidenote, there totally are – Bull Sharks have been found in the Potomac River, which was our primarily sailing area growing up.)

I took sailing lessons, and one lesson was actually to force the boat to tip over, to show that it wasn’t so bad. Tipping the boat over turned out to be way more fun than I realized. Those sailing classes made sailing much less scary and enjoyable.

Eventually, my dad upgraded to yachts, and they do not tip over. It took a few times to grow comfortable with the heeling, and sometimes it still makes me nervous, but mostly it’s okay. I can appreciate sailing much more now. Plus, a lot of the time we run the engine and become a motorboat anyway. 

dachshund rafting
Here I am kayaking with a stray dog I found!


Since I don’t sail regularly anymore, I’m basically a sailing idiot. I know some of the basic terms and can follow instructions, but I would not be able to sail a big boat by myself. I might be able to figure out a little laser style sailboat, but bigger than that is much too complicated for me. There are way too many lines, and I am not good at reading the wind. Maybe if I had more practice I could relearn/learn how to sail. 

So our sailing trips basically amount to my dad saying things that don’t sound like words, and we try to figure out what he’s saying by trial and error of pulling on random ropes. I think we’ve really mastered this system.

Chesapeake Bay shore
Key West sure has a lot of sand grass, driftwood and stray dogs!

It was so much fun to be back out on the water again, and one of the highlights is always looking for wildlife. There were lots of fish boils, and lots of fishing boats out. I’m always looking for sharks, but I have yet to see any. I KNOW YOU’RE THERE SHARKS, REVEAL YOURSELF! But in the realm of things that did actually happen, I saw a turtle and a stingray. And hundreds upon hundreds of jellyfish. 

harbor water
I got a (terrible) picture of the local fauna! One time, I accidentally pushed my friend into the water on top of one. She got stung but luckily she didn’t hold a grudge against me!

I really want to understand how and why these things exist because they seem to have no purpose in the ecosystem. Ask me in 6 months, and I’ll be a jellyfish expert by then, but for now, what do they do!? Sometimes they are in huge swarms, seemingly everywhere, and sometimes there are none. There were a bunch in the docks and just occasional ones where we anchored. They get stuck on each other, on seaweed, on sticks, and they just pulse around, doing seemingly nothing. What is your purpose?!

It seems like their main purpose is to annoy me and make me scared of the water because there is no way I’m going in the water with jellyfish ready to sting. In the past when I’ve gone in the water, I jump in, and then swim like my life depends on it to the ladder to escape. So far, this system seems to work because I haven’t been stung yet. I guess I’ve outsmarted those brainless jellyfish. 

We did spend time on land, but I ended up taking so many photos, I will leave that to the next post. 

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  1. gosh i love the chesapeake tho! obvi quite different from key west lol, but still just such a beautiful body of water and surrounding environs. glad you enjoyed the trip with family 🙂

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