Vacation to the Keys(AKA Our Ghetto Vacation)

This was my first vacation with friends and no family, I was 16 and felt like I was finally getting some freedom to do my own thing. There were 6 of us going on this trip and none of us had much money so we had our friends Dad handling the budget and making the reservations for everything like the hotel, boat, food, etc. The trip there was not to long since we were traveling from West Palm Beach only about 6 hours north of the Keys. We arrived at our hotel excited to be in Key West which is supposed to be like Paradise in Florida. We get into the hotel and find out there are only 2 beds and no rollaways the tv is bolted to the ceiling inside of a steel cage like something you would see inside a prison.We decide that we are going to put the two mattresses on the floor and use the box springs and convert them into two extra sleeping spots. I look out the window to take in the view and I see bars are on the window I am starting to realize that we may not have made the best choice in hotels. Night comes and we are all laying down to go to sleep and the TV has Discovery or National Geographic channel on and this particular night at around 2AM they air an episode about blue whales and their mating habits. Around 3AM we hear gunshots outside. We have no way of changing the channel because this TV is in this cage and they gave us no remote so for at least and hour we listened to whales mating calls. The next day we go to get our reservation for our boat to go snorkeling, we get the boat and we are all very excited about this adventure we are about to go on the open seas! I had no idea what a pontoon boat was until this trip and that was the type of boat we rented because it had the best price. We start out towards Alligator Reef Lighthouse which is about 5 miles out. There are 6 of us so to keep the weight proportioned 3 of us are at the front of the boat and the other 3 are at the back. I am sitting in the middle with my feet dangling off the front of the boat water splashing on my legs it was a very beautiful site it was everything I imagined it would be. We arrive at the reef it is just a spectacular view. I rush to get all my snorkeling gear on and hop in. My friends are ahead of me. I see a sea turtle swimming around me it is astounding my my youth have dropped if it would not have made me swallow salt water. It looks as if it is flying the way it swims is so cool. Hundreds of little fish greet you when you jump in the experience is just overwhelming almost so much happening this part of the ocean we are in it was like a bustling city of sea life. I decide to catch up with my friends I have only been in the water for 5 minutes and they are swimming back to me as fast as they can screaming get out! I am SHOCKED! I AM THINKING SHARK! So I get out as quickly as I can! Turns out there is sea lice in the water and if you are not from florida you may not be familiar with sea lice. Sea lice is not like hair lice at all, Sea lice are actually the microscopic larvae of jellyfish. So my friends are cover in these stings from them. They have heard that one way to relieve the pain which I am not experiencing is to have someone who has not been afflicted by sea lice to pee on the wounds. So I am like no way and they are in excruciating pain and are begging me to but I would have nothing to do with peeing on anyone. So everyone gets out of the water and we are making our way back. We are taking pictures and laughing having a good time. We make a video on one of the cameras and we are singing the Gilligans Island theme song. The water starts getting rough so We decide we all need to do what we did on the way out there and evenly distribute the weight on the boat so I decide to go back to where I was before front and center. Enjoying the view yet again on the ride back I see a dolphin and some sting rays. This time the water is not really sprinkling my legs every a little this time my feet are dunking in the water with every wave we crash into. Next thing I know the water is up to my waist and we are still miles out at see we have just taken on a wave! THE BOAT IS SINKING! I stand up and RUN to the back of the pontoon boat the driver throws the boat into reverse and we survive! After a few moments of everyone regaining their composure we start back on our way back to the dock. We get into the channel and the waters are much calmer here we see some manatees aka sea cows that was nice. We turn in our boat we are all relieved to have our feet back on solid ground again we go a few other places then had back home from our vacation in the keys had a lot of laughs about the adventures and scares we had.


My take away from this trip is after getting back I researched the theory about peeing on jellyfish stings and turns out it is just an old wives tale and would have cause my friends much more pain causing the microscopics jelly fish to emit more venom. I was glad I did not pee on them and they were as well because also as it turned out I had also been attacked by sea lice and even if their theory was true it still would not have worked and they would have had stinky pee all over them for the rest of the 30 minute plus boat ride.


Grief and rage
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