OK, so I can’t say enough about Key West. Between the food, activities and the beauty, you can’t beat this place! Did I mention the activities? I know…I did. But I thought they were worth mentioning again. After finding myself heading out to the ocean at night, in a kayak, I was telling myself that was all the exciting adventure I needed. I admit it, my racing heart that time, was all in my head. That was an amazing, and amazingly relaxing excursion which is covered in depth in another post.
So, moving along from relaxing, to a bit more action packed…was jet skiing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico withBarefoot Billy’s.The real twist to this unexpected activity is the lingering fact that I can’t swim. Again, I had no intentions of getting on a Jet ski and racing across two oceans. And even more so with my daughter as the driver. But if I didn’t go, either my daughter or my non experienced son would have to go alone. So once again, I was struck with the usual arm twisting. But hey, the kayaking turned out to be a peaceful memory that I would do again in a heartbeat. So how bad could a little ride on a jet ski be? Well, from the viewpoint of most people it would be a piece of cake. But for me, a non-swimming grandmother, it was quite an experience.
We were fitted with our life jackets. So far, so good…and secure. The drivers were the ones that had to take the test and remember all of the instructions. All I had to do was sit back and enjoy the ride, right? Ummmmmm… I was expecting the jet skis to be basically pulled up to the sandy part of the beach and we would just hop right on. That was my first missed assumption.
So here I go, this non-swimmer that barely gets my toes in the ocean, trudging out in water up to my shoulders. That went well until I got to the jet ski itself. As I looked around, everyone else was hopping right on, without thinking twice. But I was way past thinking twice. I had already thought a dozen times…how in the world am I supposed to get up on that thing? Then the panic started to creep in. Everyone else is basically ready to take off and I was still trying to figure out how to get on. Thankfully, my sweet, thoughtful daughter had already mentioned to the guides that I was a little apprehensive because I could not swim a stroke. They were very attentive and as they helped me on, assured me they would keep an eye out and everything would be fine. They kept their word.
We started out a little slower than most, but these guys would loop around and come up behind us to make sure we were okay, and still on path. The sense of protection that I felt through them allowed me to take a deep breath and relax. The water did get a bit choppy at times, which gave my daughter the thought that I might fly off of the backseat, since I was usually off of the seat more than I was on it! Thankfully I didn’t know what was going on in her mind.
I held tight to the loops on her life vest as we skimmed across the beautiful blue water of the Atlantic Ocean; once again, being glad that I pushed beyond my normal comfort zone. In doing so, I saw an amazing sight that I would have never seen otherwise. I actually saw where the beautiful Atlantic transformed into the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. And it happened right under us !
The ride was not just about bouncing through the sprays of salt water. The tour guides stopped twice to let everyone that wanted to, take a dip in the ocean, or just putter around for a few minutes. They also were very knowledgeable as they told their ocean stories.
On the ride back, we had pretty much settled in and knew what to expect. I’m not sure if our nerves or the water had calmed down. Maybe it was both. But as the sea mist sprayed away the heat of the sun… it was just another magical adventure that I had experienced nowhere… except in Key West, Florida.
Photo Credit: Barefoot Billy’s
Written By: Pam Tyson Yasinski