Friday, October 1, 2010

The Last Blog Entry. Wayyy late but hey I've been busy

ok so here it is. yes its about a month late. but this has been a jammed packed month despite still being out of work. and i typed this blog up on the train ride home on my cell phone. and had issues transferring it so now im just going to retype it here. so while its late, its even more sad its the last blog from our adventure down in the keys. ok here it goes.

-Coming back to the "Real World"-

so that's all folks. our time in the keys is now over. it was to short and ever so sweet. i wouldn't even know where to start on describing the summer we had. for one its hard to describe the summer t everyone, one might not be as impressed as i or we were with everything the keys has to offer. but i beg to differ that we are heading back to the "real world" I have found there is nothing more real than the florida keys. yeah the economy down there is based majority on the business derived from tourism so maybe at first glace it seems like another tourist trap... but none the less it is one of the realist places I've ever been. the so called real world people tell us we are home to is nothing but a rat race with a few things actually "real". everyone at home has their head up their ass or head in the clouds. now this doesn't mean there aren't those people in the keys because yes there are some of those people. a simple trip to walmart will demonstrate this. but i feel that is more from the non english speaking people. they seem to have their own way of doing things. and while this is nothing other than shitty and annoying a simple day in the water or a few casts with a rod and reel will make you forget about them. for me life has never been more real than when i was living in the keys.
-so you're not catching my drift or getting my flow?? how about this? how about sunsets that are made up of so many colors that it would even be hard to paint a picture let alone take it all in in person what's real is feeding a 5 or 6ft tarpon by hand. no night out at the movies could ever compare to feeding the tarpon. no matter how great the CGI or how 3-d it is. Besides movies are fake and expensive anyway. taking your fresh catch out to dinner for a hook and cook, that's real. to eat fresh fish you caught; well for me it doesn't get any more real. to look in the water from above or by snorkeling and seeing how the complex ecosystems that lie just under the surface operate, that's real. at times it seems the only realness at home is work we dont want to be doing or some kind of construction taking place. yeah sure, there is construction in the keys but even that i will tell you is real. the building of condominiums across from Robbie's, that's real. and no not cause you can touch it, but more for what it encompass's even just the amazing sunsets that will be viewed from these condos and the wildlife that swims, glides, climbs, or flies out the back prove to make it real. the condos are going up across from Robbie's where if you take a walk across the street you can feed the amazing tarpon, go out fishing, grab a damn good bite to eat and socialize with some of the coolest people i've ever met. yeah some people you encounter will come off as rude but now i think it's cause they don't want outsiders coming in to spoil the paradise that makes up their "real world"

-while living in the keys i for the first time had lizards running around in my backyard. not to mention iguanas. those for which after they shed are made up from the most beautiful colors or green you will ever see. we had birds, hermit crabs, fish, and mantatees (those of which we did not see :(. the fish were amazing from mino type fish that are really cool green color, pin fish, needle fish, tarpons, and sharks.... yes sharks. i mean sharks people, do you get anymore real that seeing 5ft sharks swimming just below your toes. or when swimming and snorkeling realizing your in the sharks world and maybe for the first time ever your start to feel your not quite at the top of the food chain (ask Dani how this feels)! and lastly when you meet people such as the one mate tony, a true local who makes you feel privileged and welcomes you into the world within this paradise. that's when the realness of the keys starts to hit you. for instance when you tell tony your leaving to go back home and you see and feel the deflation within him. Where he repeats out loud to himself more than a few times, "bro your going home, your leaving??? @$%*", that's when you know you have something truly real. fairly quite the opposite of home where you feel leaving just helps to lower the companies payroll. and instead of deflation you get a sense of relief when you tell your boss your leaving.

-so were coming home to the real world you say..... na i beg to differ. in fact im riding on the train taking me rurther away from what "real" truly is. to another world that without some minor details (friends, family, inlaws, new apt, and occasional friday night dinners at the grill) i would rather have not be there. this all is what i consider real. Dani might have a different feeling towards what or where real is. but even for her, she was let into the world within paradise so im sure she could tell you a real thing to two.

-that's all for now folks, but god willing it surly won't be the last you hear of us and our time in the keys!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Islamorada: where a kid can be a kid

~ok so maybe not quite fully a kid but being down here brings me back to a time where things in life were so easy i guess. soon our adventure will come to an end so i keep thinking of all the awesome things that i might never get to experience again. tonight for instance, the boat did not have enough ppl for a 2 mate trip at work so i got to come home early. but i came home to go fishing in the marina at night. and while fishing i just thought to myself how great this is. it felt like i was a little kid fishing in a pond. but better yet i was fishing in salt water with the possibility of catching mangrove snappers, tarpon, barracuda, and shark. and just walking around down here seeing the lizards makes me smile. every night when i work late as im clocking out i see the same 2 geckos hanging out by a spot light that lights up the ticket booth. and each time i see them my heart hurts a bit because i know when i/we go home there will be no lizards, geckos, tarpons, palm trees, sunshine, or a bass pro shop.!! today i was suppose to work the afternoon trip as well and it ended up being a one mater so i went out fishing, and man im gonna miss having that ability. all the mates talk to me like i will be here in the fall so they tell me what will happen come fall. things like what fish will bite, what rigs/set ups to use. and again my heart hurts cause i will not be here. we have made a few friends, a few of them great, and another few i wish we could get closer to but we are leaving so it makes it harder. for me there is a mate that i work at night a lot with, his name is tony. and he is a pretty cool guy, older than me but we seem to have a similar work ethic so we connect real well.. this guy has a commercial fishing license for yellow tail snapper and stone crab. so he keeps mentioning how he wants me to come out and help him when the seasons start. and again it sucks cause i wont be here. if you havent figured it out its going to be hard to leave this place. and yeah anyone can say oh well you can just move back here. and well yeah thats true but ehh i dont feel like it will be the same. its so surreal to have moved down here and accomplished all our goals. being a mate is def a dream come true. so would that ever happen again, nor will it ever really pay all the bills once we are completely on our own? while being a mate is not as fun as i thought it would always be, shittt it beats stocking produce or being a part of the rat race back home. danielle and i are getting along well, and living together and making it happen is a feat in its own and an adventure all in itself. and lets not forget while dani had no major goals but to live it up our 3 months down here, she too found a job and actually seems to be enjoying it, not that i ever doubted that she wouldnt. she has a job as a waitress serving tables in the marina where i work. and the tips for her are often way better than my tips. she has been doing such a great job that she even made the website where ppl go and review robbies or the resturant, and they mentioned her by name for her great service... "what a great experience" click there and scroll down to about the 4th comment and it mentions danielle. although it says daniela, but there is no daniela therefor we know its my very own dani...

with all that said i dont want it to make it sound like there isnt anything to come home for, cause there is, from family, friends, and pets. but i have been thinking what i will do when i/we get home. and man the snow better hit hard and early. the snow is the only thing that might keep my mind from wandering back to this amazing place called the florida keys. where in room 311 of summer seas i lived life to the fullest. where i was a mate on a fishing boat, and got to go fishing all but everyday of my life. better yet where me and the girl of my dreams got to fish every day and make memories that will no doubt last a lifetime....

ohh the "keys disease"!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Turtle Rehab Center

~on our way home from key west we planned on visiting the turtle rehab center we heard about. the 4 of us are all adventurous and love creatures of all kinds so we were excited to get the opportunity to check out some turtles. it was definately a neat experience but wasnt quite everything we thought it would be. in visiting the facility we thought we would get to touch and hold some turtles, but after the introductory speech we learned how fragile the turtles at the facility can be. so its better we left the touching to the people that had to care for the turtle. on a side note: it was upsetting to learn the impact humans can have on wildlife. obviously we are aware of the impact as oils spills and such but to see the images of turtles with something as simple as fishing line wrapped around its leg, getting wound so tight it eventually cuts off their flipper was hard to look at. and one thing i learned is how much trash/waste turtles will eat. in the speech you see pictures of fishing hooks and numerous other things trapped in the turtles intestines causing stomach gases to build up. they build up so bad that it prevents the turtles from being able to dive down under the water, thus leaving them sitting ducks for predators such as sharks or once again the impact of humans and their motor boats. in learning of what turtles are able to swallow we also learned that due to the shell it is almost impossible to surgically remove the items they ingest. so that means the vet staff has to give the turtles stuff such as Maalox and vegetable oil to help pass the items. and they save some of the stuff turtles have passed and its painful to think of these items having to come out the rear of hooks so big they would barely even fit in your mouth let alone down your intestines, and the fishing line thats thicker than weed whacker line. and the fishing line info hit home since ive been fishing for years and now being a mate i have thrown plenty of fishing line over board. yet after the speech i learned it takes fishing line around 600 years to biodegrade in the ocean. so i will no longer be doing that. besides my own impact or the impact of humans its hard to learn what some people in this world thinks is "cool". meaning... while on our visit we saw a turtle that is permanently scarred from some ass-whole that thought it would be cool to use a spear gun on a turtle. the bastard put a complete hole in the shell just missing the spinal cord and leaving a hole that you can completely see through, (its the turtle in the last pic, look towards the back of his shell) that will never heal and cover over. the turtle is doing well and should recover but that does not justify what some bonehead tried doing. on an upside we got to see baby turtles up close, which for me was a first. we still could not touch them but they sure were the cutest things ever. they do this survival tactic where they tuck their flippers up on their shell and just drift with the current and its so cute to watch. oh and i forgot to mention with our visit we got a tour of the operating room, so we got to see when they perform surgeries and take the x-rays of the turtles. it was so cool see how high tech they were. it was a pleasant thought to think after all we do im harming these animals that we at least have good equipment to help save a few of them. most of the machines used like the anesthesia machine are actually ones that are used on humans. it was a little disappointing not getting to touch a turtle, but seeming how some of my habits could have negatively effected a turtle..... i guess its better i just left them alone.

Key West with Aj and Jamie

~so on tuesday we tried our luck in key west again while my friends aj and jamie were down. we decided to get a room for the night so we could do key west the right way. the room we scored was pretty sweet and made the adventure tons more fun. key west itself is just an amazing place. once your there a few times it might get redundant. but being able to walk around a town with beer in hand is amazing. we did a little bar hoping and even grabbed a few brews to go while we walked around duval street. there are a lot of sights to see from the bars, shops, street performers, and weirdos. having aj around made for a lot of laughs. our first stop was at a neat bar on the southern most part of the US which had a decent happy hour. we ordered this appetizer sampler that had some meat, fish, and veggies that you cooked over your own flame grilled burner. so it made for a neat happy hour and then we hit a few bars and shops while making our way to sloppy joes. we decided to hit sloppy joes because its a pretty hopping place and the food is reasonable. they also had a live band that we listened to while we ate. after dinner we trekked to Hog's Breath Saloon to get a shirt for jamie to bring back for her dad. we pretty much covered all of duval street so after Hogs Breath we headed back to the room and kinda called it a night. jamie and aj kinda crapped out on us so we just headed to bed. but never the less we went to bed with our sides split from all the laughing we did.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

fishing with captain joey

so sometimes the social networks such as facebook serve a better purpose than just keeping tabs on what ppl are doing. they can help remind you of peoples birthday, help family stay connect with pictures, or in the best case scenario help reconnect with old friends. back in may once we determined this trip was going to be possible i facebook messaged my old high school best bud joey letting him know we were moving to the keys for the summer. joey and i were real close in my last couple years of high school and grew apart once we went separate ways with college. not to mention the kid landed the dream job of his life and moved to florida to pursue it. which is where telling him i was going to be semi local came into play. but to my pleasant surprise joey contacted me while i was out training for robbies. he said he finally checked his facebook and got my message. anyways this dream job he landed is the dream job of every fisherman/woman out there. basically he is the captain of his boss's 48ft fishing yacht. a boss which in short version has to much money to know what to do with and decided he wanted a big toy to play with. so he hired joey and a first mate to run his new found toy. so joe has been a captain for somewhere around 4 years now. he lives on the boat full time, but is looking to save for a house. in more short version joey gets to travel around up and down the east coast captaining this boat for the boss and some of his clients. (i believe his boss is in the demolition business) and the boat enters yearly fishing tournaments with the hope of winning the first place. which joey has been able to come close to and actually place third. they caught a 501lbs swordfish or maybe marlin i forget now. but it is a very impressive fish that when you look at the photos, you wonder how they only got third place with this fish. but the third place prize money was $64,000 that gets split up by ppl involved with the boat; owner,captain,mate. joey ended up coming and staying in the keys for the 4th of july and invited us down to see his boat which is docked in ft lauderdale. and man am i glad we took the ride down there to see him. i also had a buddy from home come down and flew in and out of the ft lauderdale airport which made the trip so much more convenient. which also meant dan was able to join in on all the fun. there was so much great stuff during this trip that im not sure i could type it all. but basically it started like this. we went down thursday went out to dinner for the best hook and cook ive had yet. than we tried our luck for the "moon fish" that come out in the marina behind joes boat. we didnt spend much time but i was able to catch one (its the silver shinny fish) and than slept on the boat to get a bright and early start fishing friday. joey said we would go for king mackerel and some bonita. bonita are similar to tune except they have no eatable value, but joey needed them to use for bait when he comes up to NJ this summer for fishing tournaments. the style of fishing we did was of the sport fishing kind. and while it may of seem a tab boring at times, its the way you go for big game fish. basically we trolled around waiting for the fish to bite. we trolled with about 6 rods in the water at once, and the way it works is you have a rotation. one person gets the first fish, and another gets the second fish, and so on and so fourth. basically you never should be pulling in 2 fish back to back. for typical fisher people this style of fishing is a little boring, waiting around for the rob to bend than just winding the reel to retrieve the fish. but i dunno for me it was so exciting. watching for the rods to bend that pulling in a mystery fish was for me at least intense. especially the way you have to get them to the boat. the fish down here at soooo line shy. which means if you dont use leaders the fish wont bite because they can see the line attached to the bait... and a leader is long piece of clear fishing line that tends to be stronger than the line weight you are using but when in the water is practically invisible to the fish. but the leaders we used with this type of fishing were 60 ft long. so when you wind up to the leader line you have to BY HAND pull in the last 60ft. which means your going one on one hand in hand fighting the fish for the last 60 ft. definitely intense. joey wanted me to experience this so he had the first mate let me do it a few times. and to my luck dani caught a whooper of a king mackerel that required the gaff, so i even got to gaff a fish. which was good practice and a good gaff shot if i do say so myself. at the end of the day we ended up with 4 king mackerel, 3 bonitas, and 2 small blackfin tuna. which makes for a really good day on the water. after that we went back to the marina and tried our luck at tarpon fishing with the fresh catch we just brought back. we got some really nice tarpon to come in but we couldnt land any. we hooked into some but they take you right around the marina pilings and break your line off. dani hooked one and got it to jump out of the water though. than to top off the night we went to joes boss's house that was down the street and took his 23 ft boat out night fishing. the boss's house was sick. it was on the water much like danis shore house, but had thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of boats floating. and the house was something you would see in some home style magazine. the fishing trip at night was very successful in catching fishing but we didnt have to many keepers. only a few close yellow tails and a decent mangrove snapper. which was caught by my lovely girl friend. she killed it on the night fishing trip and had a lot of luck with her spiffy pink rod. all in all the weekend was amazing, we slept on a yacht, fished for 12 or so hours, and shared a few drinks with great company. after looking back i started thinking of all the fish species we caught, so we added them up. we came to about 18 DIFFERENT fish species we caught or hooked into over a 24 hour period. thats gotta be a record or something. thanks captain joey!

sorry for delay- Week of Jen/Chuck and Kids

~alright so i know this is a tad delayed but better late than never. So jen chuck and the kids came down to visit and we had an awesome time. the kids being here was great, i loved waking to hang out with them. the week they were here it seemed very hectic, due to having 6 ppl in a 4 person condo but we still had a great time. we started off by doing some things around here like going to the pool and going fishing over at ernie's place. the kids loved the pool, especially lex and asked every day if they could go swimming. lex also killed it in fishing over at ernie's and with a little help from dad she caught upwards of 20 fish (no lie). Sam had a more frustrating time but i still think she enjoyed it. dani and i got our founders park membership cards while they were down so we took everyone over to the pool at founders park one afternoon. the kids loved that pool too. they have a mini water park, water slide, and diving boards so the kids really enjoyed that. the other local thing we did around here was visiting anne's beach again. i thought sam would have a blast snorkeling around in the water finding things. and i was right, sam got really into the exploring and even took lex out with her and they ventured out into the water. chuck enjoyed seeing them get along like sisters. i personally was so excited to have jen and the kids down because it was great to see jen doing things with the kids she herself was never able to do. things her mom never had the heart or head to get them involved in. jen and chuck deserve a lot of credit for doing their best to make their kids lives meaningful. but with that said it was just great to see everyone laugh, smile and having a good time. now for the awesome part....
-So while they were down they wanted to visit key west, but there were too many of us to fit all in 1 car. and no one really wanted to commit on being the designated driver lol. so jen and chuck pleasantly/amazingly decided on getting cab to take us to key west. that way we could all fit and not have to worry about drinking and driving. well turns out the cabs were so expensive and rather than shell out that money for a cab, they decided on getting a limo. which by all accounts was the best idea. the limo really made the trip awesome. it came stocked with some adult beverages as well as soda and water. we were able to have more than a few drinks before we even got to key west. key west was really neat as well. the atmosphere is so upbeat and lively. plus being able to walk around with drinks in hand from store to store didnt hurt the situation either. from the get go chuck wanted to stop at sloppy joes restaurant, so that is where we ended our trip. we did get a chance to stop at guy harvey's and margaritaville, but ended with dinner at sloppy joe's. the trip was awesome and the week great. but no matter how much fun we have or what we do, we can never forget how we got here. and for that i give a thanks to the grandparents and our parents. i know grandmom was looking down with a big smile on her face seeing all of us together.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

just another day in paradise....

:::ok well it wont let me upload pictures at the they'll have to come later:::
welllllllllllllllllllllll here's another update...
while we were waiting for Ernie to arrive. we went to his marina and were fishing and this big pelican came and landed next to us and was very curious. he KNEW when the rod bent that a fish was coming up and he would have taken it off the hook for me if we let him. instead Ed took it off and tossed it to him. He actually came back another day too!!
Ernie arrived...sometime thurday...or friday... and took us out on the boat on monday morning. the week marine forecast SUCKED to say the least, and monday morning seemed to be our best shot. so we went out around 7 am to head off shore...anddd didnt make it. i took dramamine the night before and some in the morning, felt a little iffy for a few minutes but then took another half and was fine. Ed felt pretty crappy when he was trying to focus on the fishing line and tackle stuff. so all in all it was a monstrous waste of time. but it was enjoyable "inside the reef"...the seas were more like 2-3 feet. whereas outside was a good 4-6 ft. Ernie has a pretty sick ($100k) boat, twin hull, twin its pretty much the smoothest ride possible. i even got to drive it on the way speed.... mom & dad i drove a vehicle that cost more than my 4 years at college... :-P
oh yeah, on our way out we got a close-up view of US Coast Guard Station Islamorada so here's some pictures of that...

JOB UPDATE: i (danielle) got a call from Pier 1 Imports and went and had an "interview" (chat) on saturday with the store manager and it seemed promising. she said she was going to call her boss on monday to see if she could hire me...but monday came and went and i got no call. She had told me she was in again on thursday so i will give her a call and see what the deal is. On a more exciting note...Ed never got his call-back from the captain @ Robbies, so he called him yesterday (tuesday)& left voicemail and texted him today (wednesday). Captain finally got back to him this afternoon asking if Ed was still interested in training to get up to speed and working a couple nights a week. so this is AWESOME. he's pretty pumped and is pretty much on edge waiting for hear when he can start. "working nights" basically means he goes out for the night fishing trip which would mean he works like 5-1am? give or take. the trip is scheduled for 7-12 so he would have to be there to prep and then clean up/clean fish when the boat returns.
other than that, next on the agenda is waiting for Jen, Chuck & the kids to get down this weekend (sunday)... gotta clean the apartment and the fridge and kick back and wait!! we have been very lazy the past few days kind of bumming around the marina/pool. Did some cleaning and laundry today... so thats about it!!!
we'll keep ya'll posted.

oh yeah, we officially look like floridians. (don't hate)