Power & Motoryacht

A Conch’s Life

My ongoing fascination with the Florida Keys in general, and the town of Islamorada in particular, began early. My father, a lifelong, diehard angler, began traveling to Islamorada from his central Florida home to fish in the early 1950s, before I was born. When I showed up some years later, his only son, he naturally brought me along.

On one of those early trips, I took my first steps as a toddler beneath a coconut tree while a babysitter looked on. Dad and mom missed the event because they were off shore, trolling for dolphin. The resort where this all went down is still there and looks exactly the same as when I was a kid. Back in the late 1950s and early ’60s, the resort owner used to chain a monkey to that tree, and I would play with the monkey while mom and dad fished. (This wouldn’t fly today for any number of reasons.) My wife, Poppy, swears that says a lot about how my personality developed, and she may be right.

Those were different times, and the Keys were a different kind of place. As I grew up, the Keys seemed like a freewheeling, exotic land where people were freer than those of us forced by circumstance to live elsewhere. Mainly that

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