2018 Annual Keys Tarpon Trip
For a long time now, I have been posting about our annual tarpon fishing trip to the Keys. Last year, we could not make the trip due to my wife being scheduled for spine surgery in Cleveland (um, Cleveland vs. Key West) the week we normally go. It was the first time we had not gone in 17 years (she missed one year due to recovering from hip surgery, but I went with an outdoor writer friend).
As March rolled around, we were sitting on the patio discussing that it was probably time to book the flights, hotels, and rental car (the guide was booked already). I had been checking off and on to see hotel rates, etc. and had discovered that the hotel where we normally stay was still not accepting reservations following Hurricane Irma. A check of several of our favorite eateries showed no updates since before the storm, which meant they were not yet open, if they ever were going to re-open at all. It was clear that this wasn't going to be the same trip we have enjoyed for a very long time.
In addtion, my M-I-L has lived with us for 20 years and has had some health issues as of early this year. She could not be left alone as she could in the past, so we were confined to a time frame when she could be cared for by my S-I-L, B-I-L, or a combination of both (something neither of them ever volunteered to do in the past). As all this unfolded, it became clear that the annual Keys trip was not going to happen.
With this being our 25th Wedding Anniversary as well, we opened up the realm of possibilites, knowing that there were some time frame constraints that would need to be negotiated. We looked at cruises (have done most of the Carribean and unless there is fishing involved somewhere, a beach is a beach is a beach to me). We looked at one of those all inclusives that have the bungalow out over the water (ladies go on vacation to do nothing, guys go on vacation to do something). We looked at driving to historical spots (Gettysburg, for instance, since neither of us had been there since we were kids). We looked at fly fishing the English chalk streams (a fly fishing bucket list item for sure). But in the end, none of those seemed to work for the occaission or the constraints placed upon us. Then we came up with a wild idea.
About a decade ago, my father had offered to pay for a vacation for us and we had looked at going to South Africa on a safari (rifle kind, not camera kind). He was a dedicated hunter and was pretty excited about the idea. But life got in the way and the trip never materialized, although a lot of research had been done. My father died in 2015 with the trip never having taken place.
So I dug out the research materials (you never know when you are going to need this stuff, you know). I figured it was a long shot at best -- it was late March and we needed to go and return before June 25th, which meant the safari had to have an opening; there had to be flights available (at a reasonable cost); and the S-I-L or B-I-L had to be available to take care of my M-I-L while we were gone. Miraculously, the safari had an opening; there were flights avaiable (at a cost just slightly higher than going to the Keys, if you can figure that one out); and the relatives agreed to tag team my M-I-L. So we booked the trip to the Eastern Cape for the end of May.
So as to not clog up the Erie forum, I will post about the trip in the Big Game Hunting forum. Because the trip was 12 days -- 7 hunting days, a trip to Addo Elephant National Park, travel, etc., I'll break up the trip in separate posts, so that they load quicker than if they were included in one long post with photos.
The sad note is that I am unsure when or even if we will return to the Keys, a place that we have enjoyed immensely for a long, long time.
The poster formally known as Duncsdad
Everything I say can be fully substantiated by my own opinion.