Wednesday, July 5, 2017

#66 Visit The Southern Most Point In The USA

The Southernmost Point Buoy
The Southernmost Point Buoy
The Southernmost point of the USA, I just had to visit there. It was on my Bucket List. I mean hello, Chrissy's Bucket List is a very important list. Unfortunately for me, the Southernmost point of the US is actually a restricted Naval Air Base so Plan B had to be activated. It was a classified mission.

Careful planning and flawless precision were of the utmost importance if I were to successfully achieve this Bucket List goal. I had to call upon my deepest, darkest, ninja-like skills in order to execute Operation Plan B. And I don't like to call on the ninja part of me but, if necessary, I will in the blink of an eye. In this moment, the ninja was summoned.

Note: Before I go any further though you need to know one thing, I can get in a lot of trouble for speaking about this mission. But, it needs to be shared.

Nah, Just messing with youse. ( Youse: Translated from NEPA Slang to normal English = you.)

I am afraid of jail. I wouldn't last a day in prison. I know this. Sneaking onto a restricted Naval Air Station had only one guaranteed outcome for me, another road trip. Only this road trip would not be an enjoyable road trip. It would be a one way road trip to federal prison. A prison definitely not on the Southernmost point of the US. I might as well just walk into a Federal prison already handcuffed with a bright neon sign hanging from my neck saying "guilty" and the word "dumbass" tattooed in a bold, black, Playbill font across my forehead.

Me...being me.
I was well aware that the touristy Southernmost Point Buoy was not the actual Southernmost point of The US. I just found it to be really cool and colorful. I like colorful things. They are pretty. Also, and more importantly, this buoy is a part of the Key West culture and I am a when in Rome gal. Of course I wanted to experience as much Key West culture as possible. I wanted to experience Key West like a local. And while I am pretty sure locals do not take a bunch of photos and selfies by this huge tourist attraction, there are many locals who are aware of a more symbolic meaning behind this colorful buoy located 90 miles from Cuba.

Here is where I get deep. I am not gonna lie, I personally did not know there was so much symbolism behind this buoy until I began researching how to get to this buoy online. I knew it was not the exact southernmost point in the USA but I did believe it was a collective representation showcasing that the island of Key West is the southernmost part of the continental USA. And in a way, it does signify exactly that. But, when visiting this iconic buoy, if you take a moment to observe your surroundings, chances are you will never look at this buoy the same way again.

They say on a clear day you can see Cuba from this standpoint.

Rocky waters near the buoy. I can't see Cuba .
I peered across the vast water but I did not see Cuba in the distance. Cuba was definitely there though. It was 90 miles away. 90 miles. And what is 90 miles? 90 miles via automobile is about an hour and fifteen minutes. It's not the shortest car ride in the world but it is certainly not the longest. 90 miles is 475,200 feet. Depending on a boat's size and speed, 90 miles could be as little as a 3 hour jaunt or a 2 day sail. 90 miles on a flimsy raft in choppy seas, well, the outlook of surviving that journey is pretty slim. And attempts to swim 90 miles, unthinkable.

If you look to the left of the buoy you will notice a memorial plaque. If you read that plaque then turn your attention back to the sea, you may find yourself starting to wonder about a few things. You may wonder just how harsh and unbearable a country could possibly be that thousands upon thousands of human beings were willing to chance the risk of dying, or watching a loved one die, to cross the very water you were gazing upon.

You may begin to wonder what it could possibly be like to live in a country where free will is frowned upon and tyranny is the only way of life. You may begin to realize just how often you take your day to day rights and privileges for granted. We have the right to openly bitch about our country and it's politics. We have the right to make our own choices and decisions regarding our lives. We have the right to flourish and we have the right to wilt if we so choose. No, life is not always peachy and we have all had our fair share of hardships and disappointments but ultimately, we still have free will in this country.

Key West Cuban Memorial
Memorial dedicated to the many Cubans that lost their lives trying to flee Castro.

Thousands upon thousands of Cubans lost their lives trying to cross the Florida Straits in homemade rafts and flimsy sailing vessels in an attempt to flee the tyranny of their day to day lives. The chance for asylum in the land of the free was worth risking a watery death. Their brave journeys towards a better life were abruptly drowned by the temperamental seas they so eagerly fought to cross. How somber and devastating is it that they even had to make that choice? For many, when their feet stepped off the soils of their homeland of Cuba it would be the last time their feet ever touched the ground. They would never have the opportunity to step foot on United States soil.

Heather And Ricky posing for one of my gagillion pics.
It was all very heartbreaking for me to consume. I do not know many people of Cuban descent but the ones I do know are all wonderful human beings with big spirits, warm hearts and a strong sense of compassion. Their energy is very infectious, in a good way and I enjoy their company very much. I turned and snapped another picture of the buoy. I smiled. I found myself being very thankful. I was very thankful that I had the privilege and opportunity to take this vacation. I was very thankful that my children have many opportunities ahead of them. I was very thankful for this colorful buoy on this gorgeous island. I was very thankful to call the United States of America my home.

I was very thankful that on a clear day, I can see forever.


The Cable Hut
This structure protected the phone lines in the early 1900s.

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