My husband always finds a way to make an unintended but yet unusual catch when he goes fishing. This past weekend, he hooked two eels, but only threw one back in the water. We catch and release all fish unless we plan to eat them, so eels are no exception to this rule. However, one of the eels managed to suffocate itself with the fish line, so by the time my husband untangled the line, it was dead. Knowing my husband and his incredible love for all animals, had it been possible and had the eel not had such big teeth, my husband might have even considered mouth to mouth resuscitation to save it.
Before heading to the keys, we first made our way over to Jack's, a common stop for us on our way down US 1. As the guys bought bait, it began to rain and I feared the day would be ruined. Luckily for us 30 minutes later the skies cleared, and we continued our trip singing to our favorite Pearl Jam, Guns n' Roses and Creed songs. Finally, we arrived at "our usual spot." However, we discovered that it was inhabited by a few individuals who had failed to formally request the spot and had now usurped what my youngest considered his and only his. Much to my young son's dislike, we therefore had to find another location nearby. Woody, our dog, usually circles an area, sniffs it and then decides it's acceptable before he sits or sleeps. Well, we do the same thing, except for the sniffing part, when it comes to a fishing spot on the ocean or on shore. The "spot" on shore must meet several requirements . First, we require trees, for the mangroves shelter us from the sun and if we want to do some bird watching, a tree serves as a great perch. We need a clear area to throw the rods without interference, and of course we need a place to tie Woody so he won't run away never to be found again. We spend the day fishing, eating and occasionally napping under the trees, but we know it is time to vacate the premises once the mosquitoes arrive and announce, "we're here!" No amount of repellent or clothing can protect our skin from their menacing bites. With the mosquitoes comes the darkness, and unless there is a full moon or plenty of lanterns and flashlights, it is pitch dark. The rocks along the shore become very dangerous traps for the inexperienced rock traveler. Chances are one of us will trip and fall; just look at our knees and elbows for the traces of those unforeseen mishaps. As we pack up our gear and try to wash off the distinct fishy smell from our hands, we sit in the truck tired, sun burned, sticky and stinky.
During the voyage home, we play trivia games, discuss the solar system or American history until my youngest falls asleep. Because the oldest never falls asleep, at some point during the two hour trip my husband or I kindly change the subject; otherwise he would ask question after question or give us a whole lesson on the difference between protons, neutrons and electrons. After much insistence, he quiets down and allows us to hear a little Elton John music as we see the light at the end of the tunnel. For us, the light is a big green sign that points to the Florida Turnpike and will take us north. The dog sits next to my husband and sighs because he knows we are going home.