If my friend Misty ever invites you to stay with her, say yes. Don’t question it, don’t hesitate, just pack your bags and go. It’s not just that she lives on a gorgeous sailboat in the heart of the Florida Keys, it’s that when it comes to playing hostess, my girl Misty is the bee’s knees. Or some other, less goofy way of saying she’s the best.
First of all, Misty met me at the airport with a fruity drink to welcome me to Florida, effectively ending my lifelong embargo on grapefruit juice. I thought Ruby Red was legitimate grapefruit juice; I was mistaken.
For a few days I got to see what’s it’s like to live on a sailboat, and I have to say I was surprised. One of my first questions to Misty was “so, what do you do all day?” She gets that a lot. Trust me, there is plenty to do when you live on a floating vessel, even when you don’t have a vacationing guest to take care of. Besides keeping the boat stocked with water, which involves hefting full tanks from the dinghy into the boat, meal planning and food storage is tricky business due to limited space. However, “limited space” doesn’t necessarily translate to “cramped.” I love all the nooks and crannies that are built in to boats, and even though there was an extra full-sized adult person on board in addition to Jeff, Misty, and Janus (my boyfriend for the weekend), we didn’t really step on each other’s toes very much.
This is Janus.
He’s a very attentive boyfriend.
In addition to running the boat like a streamlined little household (which is pretty much what it is) Misty is an indescribably good cook. In fact, it was eating her cooking in the early years of our friendship that inspired me to start cooking more often, and I will confess to copying more than one of her recipes. It was no surprise that she has managed to adapt to cooking in a tiny galley with minimal power … everything we ate was delicious, and I came home with a few new tricks to try. Lobster, however, is not going to be one of them. I will leave the lobster killing to other, more capable persons.
We toured the harbor, ate fabulous sushi, listened to great music, practiced yoga by the water, and scouted some local wildlife. We stayed busy, but it certainly still felt like vacation. Did I mention that I didn’t fix my hair or wear makeup for five days?
Misty DID make me walk down the most terrifying ramp I’ve ever seen on our walk to Pigeon Key. I was increasingly convinced that the rotting wood planks were going to give way under me, four ton weight limit or not. She calls it wusification; I call it a well developed sense of self-preservation.
While Jeff had to work for part of my visit, he was kind enough to indulge my desire to get out for a sail and photograph his little floating palace on a beautiful, if not terribly windy, Sunday afternoon. I showed uncharacteristic restraint and only took 300 photos of the Sailing Vessel “Exposure.” It was nearly impossible to narrow down which to use here, because they all look like something out of a dream.
This is Karen.
Karen is h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s, especially when she’s a little sleep deprived. She was my pilot for the afternoon, since operating a camera and a dinghy at the same time is beyond my expertise. I was only a little nervous when the dinghy ran out of gas and Karen said “what plastic thingy?” in response to Misty’s instruction to “use the plastic thingy” to pump the gas from the can to the tank.
This is the funny little dragon boat that belongs to one of the other locals. He had a little too much fun that afternoon, so it’s probably best that we woke him and suggested he head back to the harbor. I only took 150 photos of his homemade boat … obvious restraint, again.
I seem to have caught what Misty calls “Keys Disease” during my stay. No, that’s not a rash. I simply fell in love with the ease of living and the abundance of sunshine, so it has become my new goal in life to own and live on my very own sailboat. I’d have turned around and gone right back (after coming home to 17-degree temperatures) but Kory wouldn’t let me. Fear not; the kid’s gotta leave for college some day, and then you can all come visit me on my very own floating palace.
One at a time, please.