Thursday, March 11, 2010
Alan and I had been vacationing in Key Largo, Florida for exactly one day. It was our first trip to the Keys, and both of us were looking forward to a full week of doing absolutely NOTHING! We'd been feeling a little over-worked and greatly fatigued, so the plan was to sip margaritas poolside and immerse ourselves in a couple of good books. That's it.
But the islands in the Keys are tiny ones, and everywhere you turn you can see pristine, windex-blue ocean. It was calling to us. We decided we really wanted to get out on that gorgeous water!
We found a brochure in the hotel lobby for a charter boat that had day snorkeling trips. The name of the company was Morning Star Charters, and the boat pictured was that of a beautiful, fifty foot sailing yacht. We decided it was too good to be true but dialed the number anyway, when we heard Cap'n (NOT captain, "cap'n!") Rick's cheerful greeting. He told us he had an opening the next day, and to pack a cooler and meet him at his slip in the morning.
He helped us onboard and showed us around, clearly proud of his rig which he kept in pristine condition (That's us onboard in the picture on the left. Check out how I'm sucking it in!!). Soon, two other couples arrived and after exchanging a few pleasantries, Cap'n Rick cast off and slowly maneuvered his gorgeous ship out onto the open water.
The only way I can adequately describe what we saw on the other side of that water is to reference the classic Disney film, "The Little Mermaid." You know that song, "Under the Sea," where all the colorful cartoon sea creatures dance around and have a party? Well, I SWEAR I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that is EXACTLY how it appeared!! These are actual pictures of it on the left and below! There's no QUESTION in my mind that EVERY one of Disney's artists must have visited Pickles Reef before animating that number!!
Much too quickly, it was announced that it was time to go, and we reluctantly climbed back onboard. Cap'n Rick hosed the salt water off us and simultaneously handed us each a beer. I've got to tell you, on the deck of that boat, with the saltwater still clinging to my lips, and the Florida sunshine warming my face, that Coors Light tasted better than ANY other I've had before or since!
His friends and coworkers told him he was a crazy dreamer, that he had a good, solid union job with decent pay, health benefits and a pension. Better stay put, they advised. Still, Rick couldn't shake the longing for his own business in paradise. He saved his money over the years, did some research, and was finally able to put a down-payment on his beautiful boat. On his last day with his fellow ironworkers, they all wished him luck, but told him they bet he'd be back before long.
Following his dream wasn't always easy for Cap'n Rick. For the first several years he lived in the cramped quarters of his boat. There were some lean times in the beginning, until word got out and paying customers slowly began to arrive. But hard work, determination, and a deep love of the ocean on which he daily sailed soon paid-off, and I'm happy to report business is booming!
I think about Cap'n Rick all the time. Along with the amazing surroundings in which he lives and works, I so envy his GUTS. He had no idea how things were going to turn out when he initially packed-up his entire Philadelphia life and relocated to a place where he knew exactly NO ONE. But he knew he loved the ocean, he loved to sail, and he was determined to work hard and give it his best shot. Anyone who's spent two minutes onboard his boat can tell you, without hesitation, that he made the right choice.
Thanks for Reading!!
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- Welcome to my blog! I'm Joan, a former actress attempting to reconnect with my first love of writing. Join me as I ponder my Irish dad, sweet grandma, GPS dependency, hatred of the Hallmark channel, and other insightful topics that make you go, "Hmmm..."
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