Happy Holidays 2020!

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
Eleven Ibises Wading

Ten Mangrove snappers, nine egrets nesting, eight Key deer grazing,
seven turtles hatching, six dolphins playing, five coral heads,
four parrotfish, three Key West hens, two manatees

...and a pelican in a palm tree.

Merry Christmas to all

We would be remiss if we did not begin this note with remembrance of those lost to Covid 19. It has been terrible to society at large, but irreparable to far too many families. Our hearts go out to them. May we be kinder to our fellow wo/man going forward; family love, good deeds, do what we can – all of it. The words: appreciate. forgive. love. and help. come to mind.

It was another busy year for us. Two new books were brought to life. The first being, Boat Fish Live, and the second, our first children’s book, Once Upon A Time-bomb. Boat Fish Live consists of three lessons: boating, sailing, and fishing. Once Upon A Time-bomb is about global warming.

March 2020 started with a bang, lot’s of charters and some “us time” fishing. We caught our first and second black fin tunas, and some dolphinfish too. And then – Covid. And then, lock down. The FL Keys closed for two months. Conch Republic redux.

So, we got into projects and biking and the like. We completely spruced up our bay boat: new paint, new sea deck, bottom paint, and more recently - all new wiring. It is officially Captain Allison’s boat but I often steal it, as it is a great backcountry boat too. Otherwise, we only gave a handful of boat lessons to locals. It helped.

We thoroughly enjoyed a budding family of red bellied woodpeckers and a chick who picked a dead palm tree in our yard to nest.

The month of May brought both happy and sad news. Happy news: Allison’s mom, Esther turned a youthful 85! Sad news: George Floyd. As if Covid weren’t enough. Our upcoming children’s book working title is: Look At It This Way / Black Lives Matter (currently in the illustration phase with Allison).

June: The Keys reopened. Yay! We think. The baby woodpecker flew the coop, and work started picking up. Captain Allison also had her first solo charter. We became Bluestar captains – a cooperation with the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary to help educate fishing and diving customers.

What else? The cacti in our yard went crazy with numerous flowers and fruit. And, one grew higher and higher reaching the current height of 18' straight up. Then, it flowered again. Then, again. So beautiful to wake up to – the little things.

July: Keys Boat Tours kept a surprisingly busy schedule. Brian’s mom celebrated a landmark birthday. And, we met Shelly. Shelly is a South American red footed tortoise who just happened to walk into our yard one day. She is about 14" in diameter and now lives in our yard, though we bring her inside at night during cold fronts.

The months kept us busy, then a pseudo mid life crisis – too much stuff. Time to sell as much as possible: a cargo trailer, travel trailer, sailboat, kayaks, paddle boards, bicycles and more. But, we still have the sailboat (currently in bottom paint mode) and soon to sail again, a first sail since before Irma. We still have too much stuff but it was a cathartic and profitable weekend.

We have yet to find Shelly a companion of her same species. But, we did discover some Florida box turtles who live in our yard. We created a portal for them to come and go freely from the enclosed back yard to the front yard. They continue to stick around. We do feed them occasionally but they are free to go if they so choose.

Then came the election, and the Divided States of America, but let’s hope for United again. Work continues at a steady pace, a pretty great year considering all we’ve been through. And, we are still a #1 rated charter boat business closing in on 500 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor.

This just in: It looks like we will be getting our Fed-Ex like (all aluminum) box truck back after a motor transplant nine months in the making. We will likely redesign the interior to something fun.

November: We had a nice quiet Thanksgiving with enough turkey to stuff ourselves for a week. Allison always makes it nice, table setting, home cooking - the works. Allison’s grandma Lee turned an enviable 99. We so look forward to seeing Lee, Laura and family on birthday #100.

Update: The proof copy of Once Upon A Time-bomb got printed in hard and soft cover alike. It looks good.

Of course the Covid vaccine is making its debut, and none too soon, but pretty impressive. Let’s pray that it works as planned, and asap.

Other good news: A Florida program for hurricane Irma victims called, Rebuild Florida, gave final approval on our two plus year application.

Meaning: They are to offering to demolish our mobile home of ten plus years in the coming months, and replace it with a new elevated two bedroom home – free of charge. We will actually believe it when we actually see it, but the grant arrived and the documents are signed. So, that is something potentially crazy good to cheer about. A definite positive way to close out an otherwise conflicted year.

We only wish the same good fortune comes your way. In the meantime, we hope to offer a nice private bedroom for you to come visit this time next year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Here is hoping that 2021 is the polar opposite of 2020 in many ways. We miss you all and hope to see you soon.

Brian and Allison

Barney the cat
Red bellied woodpecker family
Cactus - front yard
Boat Fish Live
Brian with dolphin and tuna
Manatee drinking fresh water from engine
Shelly the red footed tortoise
Little boy box turtle
Allison's first tuna

Happy Holidays 2020 •  Art by Allison • Words by Brian • IslandDesign.us