Friday, December 30, 2011

Sea Kayaking

Sunshine Key
The weather yesterday was beautiful with temps in the mid 7o’s.  The seas were calm, the water and sky was clear.  It looked to be a perfect day to kayak.
We walked over to the old bridge that is now used as a fishing or  walking bridge.  It runs along side the main bridge.  Here in the Keys they don’t destroy old bridges, they just use them for recreation.  To the right of this old bridge is the main bridge.
walking bridge near Sunshine Key Rv resort
The view was beautiful.  Our campground can be seen from the bridge.
sunshine key from bridgeview from walking bridge in am
Right under the bridge there is a little beach area in the rv park that would make a great kayak launch point.
After we watched the sunrise, we decided to kayak this area later in the day.

We put the kayaks in here.

right after launch
If you go right and under the bridge, you’re in the Atlantic ocean.  If you go left you are in the bay.
We went right.
al kayaking under bridge by sunshine key
The water was shallow and clear….and beautiful.

Notice the 3 little stars in front of my kayak?  I don’t know where they came from.  click on the picture to see them better.
3 stars on kayak trip
We went offshore a bit looking for some rocky areas that may harbor some of the elusive Florida lobsters.  We never did find the right spot.
We stayed near shore and circled around the island.  The tide was coming in and pushing us right along, making for easy paddling.
We expected to see some tropical fish, but we didn’t see any fish at all until we got over to the other side, near the mangrove islands.
Mangrove islands get their start when a pod from a mangrove bush drops off and floats around until it finds a place to root.  Here is the start of a  brand new mangrove island.
mangrove sprout
This is what it will look like soon.
and then this.
Mangroves are very important because that’s where fish lay eggs and their young stay until they are old enough to be out in the ocean.
We finally saw the familiar American flag that’s at our campground.  We had to cross under the other side of the bridge to get back home.


I thought it was kind interesting looking underneath the bridge.
It reminded me of some ancient buildings.
al kayaking under bridge
bridge and walking bridge in keys
This big guy was waiting for us when we came out.
Here we are back at the campground, on the other side.  The campground and marina take up the entire  island.  These are some sites on the water on the bayside.

sunshine key rv resort
Finally, we got back to our starting point.   We just had to load the kayaks and drive a block to our campsite.
al and two kayaks at bridge by sunshine key rv resort
It was a nice trip, even though we didn’t see many fish.
We went back home, had lunch, a short nap and then we decided to take a drive to Bahia Honda State Park.  Its only  about a mile down the highway.
We enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the water.   That’s a great day when you watch the sun rise and set over the ocean.
Now, to the untrained eye, it might look like the sunset is the same as the sunrise, you can only see the sun melt into the ocean in the evening.
These people were all heading to the best spot to watch the sun “melt” into the water.
There were a lot of tourists,  We saw Japanese and some people we thought were speaking Russian.
Are you ready for it?
There it goes.  It’s melting into the water.
Almost gone.  Another wonderful day in paradise.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Trip to Key Largo

Sunshine Key, Florida
Yesterday, we decided we needed to make a drive  to Key Largo to visit a dive shop called Divers Direct.  They had the shorty front zipper wetsuits we had been looking for, but couldn’t find in Tampa.  I would have ordered them online, but we didn’t know what size we needed.
They had a shop in Key Largo, and Key West.  Key Largo was further away, but we thought the traffic was worse heading towards Key West.
We ended up finding wetsuits for both of us and also got a $15 coupon.  It was a good deal…but oh that traffic was bad!  There are a lot of snowbirds here, but right now a lot of vacationers with kids.  I hope the traffic gets better when they go back to work and school.
I saw a sign at a local veterinarian yesterday.  It said
“welcome back snowpets”  I thought it was cute.
We stopped at a few campgrounds along the way and did some sightseeing.
We had never been to Curry Hammock State Park and we loved it.  It’s one of the newer state parks and they really do them right.
The campsites were on the beach, but behind the dune line.  You would have a little view of the water, but not a lot.  They were very, very nice though with lots of privacy and room between sites.
The picture below shows the top of a motorhome.  I was standing on the beach looking towards the campground.  They could probably see the ocean in the distance, but not the beach.
A few pictures of the campsites…all raked up nicely and a sign telling you not to walk on the campsite.  You don’t want to mess up the gravel, I guess.
  On the site below you can see the Atlantic in the left corner.  I’ll take it!
The Keys isn’t known for beautiful white sandy beaches.  In fact there are very few real beaches in the Keys, and most of them are man made.
Curry Hammock State Park has a beautiful beach.

And a nice kayak launch.  Notice that clear water.
It’s a beautiful park and we would love to spend some time there one day.
Along the drive to Key Largo, I spotted this beautiful Bougainville flowering bush.  I remember taking a picture of this same thing the last time we were in they Keys.  Isn’t it beautiful?

We stopped at Robbies Marina in Islamorada for the famous Tarpon feeding.  It’s one of those special things that got loved to death.  It’s way too crowded now and it has lost the charm of what it used to be.  As soon as we got there and saw all the cars, I didn’t even want to go.
We paid $1 each to be able to even walk out on the dock.  Some Tarpon feeding was going on but the tarpon were so overfed they barely even took the fish that were offered. 
I found the hungry Pelicans much more interesting.
We finally arrived back home just in time for a few sunset pictures from around the campground.  Before the sun started to set, I got some pictures of some of the beautiful tropical flowers that are all over the campground.
There is a marina at the campground and several campsites overlooking the marina.

This morning we got up early and walked the bridge for some sunrise pictures!  There isn’t too many places where you can watch the sunrise and sunset all from the same campground.
After the sun rose, we came home, had breakfast and made preparations for a kayak trip.   More later.