South Florida Sunshine

Oil Spill, Key West, and My Personal Opinion

When it rains, it pours, especially in Key West! I’m not talking about our tropical rainy season, either.

This has already been a difficult year here. The tourism industry is our life blood. The first thing to hit us hard has been the economy. When money is tight, most people will cut back on things that aren’t totally necessary, and that usually means travel. Throw in an unusually COLD winter season and things really started getting a little dicey. Now we are faced with a near certainty that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will affect the waters around our little island paradise.

Let me take a moment to encourage both the traveling public and the people of Key West, that this is not the time to panic. This is the time to get educated. I noticed how easily we slipped into crazy nervousness when tar balls were discovered on the beach. The automatic assumption was that they were the first signs that the spill was beginning to reach our shore. What most people don’t realize is that tar balls are not something out of the ordinary. The leaking mess that is commercial shipping is a constant source of tar balls all over the world. We lack far to much information about what we are facing to make good decisions, yet.

The City of Key West has a Special Information Session scheduled for this Saturday. You can attend live at Old City Hall, watch it on cable, or view it live via video streaming at It’s a great place to start educating yourself on what’s REALLY going on out there.

Rather than panicking and whining for a hand out, this is the time to find opportunity. What will get us through this is innovation, creativity, and the willingness to come together as friends and neighbors. If we can weather hurricanes on a regular basis, we can turn this disaster into the opportunity of a lifetime.

For now, Key West is clean, beautiful, and OPEN FOR BUSINESS!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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  1. * Matt says:

    Great post! You couldn’t be more right when you said now is the time for education- not pressing panic buttons, as we saw this past week as the media descended upon Key West. Hopefully those who would be in the affected industries are taking the time to prepare and learn.

    I have no doubt that whatever happens with this oil slick, that the folks of Key West have the spirit to rebound much like those in New Orleans after Katrina and those in Nashville after the storms of two weeks ago. All three are great cities with great people who can battle through tough times.

    As far as tourism goes, if this oil does make its way to the Keys, well then at least you’ve highlighted a number of things on this blog that tourists can do on land!


    | Reply Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
  2. * Sunshine Michelle says:

    Thank you so much, Matt. I’m a Never-Say-Die kind of girl. The last thing I want to see are my friends rolling over and giving up before they ever start fighting. The sheer size of this spill is overwhelming, but we can’t let that shut us down and keep us from THINKING!

    Education is critical right now.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
  3. * Alex says:

    I’m hoping to get back to Key West later this year. Thanks Michelle for educating!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
    • * Sunshine Michelle says:

      So, Alex, going to celebrate the launch of the new book with us after all?

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
  4. Well said!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
  5. Great post! And can I tell you, the spill actually prompted my husband & I TO go to Key West (even if only for a day trip). I’m a native Nor-Eastern (from Jersey) but my heart is aching over what is happening in the Gulf. The economy situation has struck our household too, but my husband and I still wanted (and needed) to get away for our anniversary… A day trip to Key West was perfect for us and I’m so glad we did!

    The waters were a gorgeous turquoise, we enjoyed strolling Duval, and roaming Truman’s Annex… as well as celebrating with a toast at sunset and dinner at The Grand. The next day, we enjoyed wandering around Malory Square, shopped for shells at Clinton Square, saw the HUGE cruise ship at the port and enjoyed a delicious lunch, fresh brewed ice tea and KEYLIME PIE at a rooftop restaurant in Old Town… (BTW: the margaritas were crisp & refreshing too!) Hang tough! You’ve weathered hurricanes – you can weather this storm out too!


    | Reply Posted 8 years, 11 months ago

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