Yesterday afternoon I had an unexpected treat: a friend has acquired a sailboat (and just as importantly, a good place to keep it) and we took it out to the reef.
There were four of us, and three of us had lived in the Keys for periods of time in the past. We realized that, as you settle down and get busy with just living, you don't often get the chance to experience the finer things of life here. We'd all shared many an hour kayaking and canoeing in the back country, but we realized that none of us had been to the reef for years.
We sailed out into the blue water, saw a turtle and flying fish, then turned around and hooked up to a mooring near Marker 32. There were a couple of sharks in the water, but two of the guys snorkeled anyway. I stayed board, just to make sure the boat didn't break loose or anything.
Anyway, the reef looked good and the water looked clean. The weather was beautiful, and that thin strip of islands we call home seemed far away, along with it's problems and hassles.
It was good to see that which 99% of the tourists never get to see, and to remember why we came here, and to be reminded just how wonderful this small part of God's great creation really is.