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It’s Gonna Get Rough

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…but there was no red sky in morning.

You’ve heard that saying…” Red sky at night, sailor delight. Red sky in morning, sailor take warning.”

This shot was taken at 10:30AM, 60 miles west of Key West.

What happened the two hours after this ominous shot was nothing less then a miracle.

Trust me when I say, been through a lot of open water moments. And while I like an adventure, I am deeply respectful of Mother Nature and the water, and avoid “stupid stuff”.

We just didn’t see this one coming. Not Captain Nick, not on radar, none of us saw it until it just whipped up in minutes.

As many know, we enjoy the Florida Keys and the great vast waters surrounding them. This particular day we left the docks about 5:00AM and headed west into the Gulf. Primary goal was tuna and a few other pelagic fish.

The day started great.

A little bouncy, but overall an easy run about 60 miles out. Catching some nice black fins, cobia and assorted others that got tossed back. We had porpoises playing with us, and an overall solid level of activity. (…just a quick note. We don’t drink any alcohol when we’re out fishing. Stuff happens on the open water and we have a rule to keep all of our senses sharp until the fishing is done. There’s just too much risk.)

Actually, we were hitting on some beautiful cobia and tuna.

The seas started to chop-up, the wind picked up, then this ominous sky started to develop. Guy was pressing hard on fish when in the course of a few minutes the sky started changing form.

Then…the horizon just blew up. That fish became the very least of our concerns.

Sixty miles out…uh-oh.

Open console, and a long way to run.

It seems that the song from Gilligan’s Island should be playing…”…the weather started getting rough…”

Those lines were up in a heartbeat and we started to high tail it out.

The wind was on us like a rampage, and the rain pounding us in seconds. Seas were easily 5+ and the boat was just smashing into every wave.

To truly get the visual…we were standing (no place to go) in the open and hanging onto the rails that flank the captain’s seat and the console.

There were many moments the seas were so high we were airborne.

You had to lift yourself each time the boat went up and bring your weight down the same time the boat smashed back into the water. It was the only way for your body to absorb the pounding. It was a non-stop thrashing from the heavy seas, wind and rain….and quickly becoming “flyboys” when cresting the waves.

On one of the airborne moments my white-knuckle grip on the railing slips, lost my balance and an arm reaches out and snags me. Thank goodness for great friends…

My friend Guy Ward described it as a two-hour car wreck. It was a genuine miracle that none of us got tossed over…there were many close moments.

By the time we made it back to Key West waters, beyond being drowned rats, our bodies were just hammered. And very, very grateful all in safe…believe me…it was too close.

Of course by the time we’re sliding into the docks, the sun reappears and a gorgeous Key West day emerges. Didn’t matter, we were chilled to the bones.

The hand dryers in the marina’s mens room never were never more appreciated…nor repurposed.

We changed into dry clothes and snapped a photo to preserve the day.

And of course, an adult beverage and…enjoyed the catch that was just not quite worth the “price of admission” that particular day.






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