A Week on the Florida Keys

Samantha Rands

The Charter Features

A five acre island in the Florida keys, surrounded by warm turquoise water filled with sharks and vibrant fish. The beach is made up of millions of tiny snail shells. A lush green forest inhabited with friendly “dog sized deer.” Glittering stars like diamonds in the humid sky.

This is how Jill Mohr, the Assistant Director and teacher helper at ACA, described the island of Munson.

The Island of Munson, in the Florida Keys, was given to the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America in 1982, according to the boy scouts website. The uninhabited tropical island has been used to host boy scout troops every year.

Jill Mohr was a parent to one of the boy scout troops to spend a week on the Munson  island eight years ago. Jill, her son Patrick Mohr, and the rest of the troop kayaked five miles to the five acre island. The island had no electricity or modern conveniences.

Patrick Mohr claimed, “I have camped my whole life and this seemed like the ultimate camping experience.”

Jill and Patrick Mohr brought their own food to the island but it wasn’t cooked. They used their survival skills to start a fire.

The ocean along the beach had dozens of friendly stingrays. To avoid stepping on a stinger, they had to shuffle their feet under the sand. Jill Mohr called it the “stingray shuffle.”

At night, millions of stars shone in the sky. Due to the lack of overpowering city lights, they could see the stars more clearly. I have never seen so many stars in my life.” Jill Mohr said, “Living in the city, you forget what a dark sky looks like.”

One of Jill and Patrick Mohr’s favorite things to do on the island was snorkeling. Jill Mohr narrated, “One of the most fun [things to do] was the snorkeling among the thousands of fish around the reefs.  The water was warm and clear.  It felt like I was in a different world.” They swam with the Nurse Sharks.

Nurse sharks are tropical bottom dwelling sharks. They have a rounder nose and a splotchy brown coloring. “One night we went out on the dock and walked out in the water among the nurse sharks. They are large sharks, but mostly harmless.” Jill Mohr said.

Jill Mohr said what she took away from the trip was: ​That we think we need lots of ‘things’ to be happy. Living a simpler life is less stressful and gives me more time to read or just to quietly think. ​After being there a week, I realized that I didn’t miss so many of the modern conveniences I thought I would. I also was reminded of the importance of sitting down, face to face, with other people to just share stories and enjoy their company. So many times we correspond by email and social media instead of face to face. We are missing out on a depth to our friendships when that is our primary means of communication.”

To others wanting to live a week on Munson island, Jill Mohr said: “Do it!  But don’t do it for just a day, give yourself enough time to get into the rhythm of a new lifestyle.  It will be an experience you will never forget.​”

When asked if Jill Mohr would do it again, she replied, “Yes, in a heartbeat!​”

Sources:

Mohr, Jill. Personal Interview. Feb 16, 20, 2017.

Mohr, Patrick. Personal Interview. Mar 21, 2017.

http://www.bsaseabase.org/About/BigMunsonIsland.aspx Accessed April 19, 2017.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nurse_shark Accessed April 19, 2017.

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