Years ago, I went sea kayaking in Key West. It didn’t go well. I went on one of those outings with other first-time sea kayakers. The day was perfect. Warm. Light breeze. Gentle waters. I got into my kayak and started paddling in the manner the instructor had demonstrated. But my paddle must have been defective because while all the others followed the instructor along the coastline and into the mangrove canals like ducks trailing their mother, I drifted farther and farther away from the pack until I found myself out at sea. The previously gentle ocean suddenly looked to me like something out of The Perfect Storm. I figured I was on my way to Cuba. “Hey,” I called, looking back at the others. “Hey. Uh. Sorry. I, uh … .” The instructor eventually came out and saved me, averting what surely would have been an international incident.
So you see what I mean by the kayaks.
Nor do Key West’s perils end there. Should you go, avoid Duval Street. The famous strip of nightclubs, bars, and restaurants, while somewhat Disneyfied these days, nonetheless still retains the power to pull you into its maw and make you pretend you’re Hemingway. And that’s one thing you definitely don’t want to do. There are more Hemingway-drank-here signs on Duval Street than Washington-slept-here signs in the entire Northeast. And you’ll feel duty-bound to tip a couple in each one of them. And you’ll wake up feeling like Hemingway beat you up. And you’ll go sea kayaking anyway and end up floating to Cuba.
So be careful if you’re going to Key West.
If the partying doesn’t get you, the poultry will.