Living on an island can ultimately impact how you decide to live your life. As a result, most year-round Key's residents are more than willing to endure oppressive humidity, mosquitoes, as well as an occasional destructive and lethal hurricane, just for the opportunity to continue living the “island life in paradise.” In fact, most locals can't even imagine living anywhere else in the world because of the Key's diverse blend of tropical flora and fauna, which is surrounded by a spectacular marine ecosystem.

When the reality of this virulent virus began to threaten our paradise, locals trusted their hurricane survival skills and quickly scurried about, accumulating the necessary provisions required to “hunker down” and persevere (once again) through the “storm.”

Those of us who survived the direct hit by Hurricane Irma are well aware of how the community's rallying together played a dramatic role in tempering the impact chaos. In fact, locals helping locals became one of our most vital support systems. However, this time the interpersonal support typically provided by the community has been superseded by a need for social isolation as our health experts realized social distancing was one of the best methods of reducing person to person spread of the disease.

Of course, one of the best ways to practice social “isolation” on an island is to get in the boat and head out on the ocean. So, at the first opportunity we loaded up the boat and hopefully left the virus behind us. As we cruised along, the salt air flowing around the windshield was more refreshing than ever, and the warmth of the sun quickly assisted in healing the spirit. We eventually caught enough fresh fish for dinner and the meal that night went a long way in renewing our sense of paradise, even if it was for just a short time.

I have always been amazed how Keys residents are able to adapt ... overcome ... and survive, especially when faced with a dire situation. Simple things like watching one of our spectacular sunsets often serves to enhance the soul and revitalize our spirit, allowing Conchs to carry on for another day. However, without a doubt, one of a Conch's most coveted coping mechanisms has to be their sense of humor, especially when faced with an “impending storm.” Since I am confident most people have reached their limit concerning the constant news reporting on this deadly virus, I decided to include a few of my favorite “island pictures” and add a few captions that will hopefully assist everyone in getting a little break from this unprecedented calamity!

Stay safe!

Capt. Pete Peterson welcomes comments and suggestions sent to petersonventures@aol.com.

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