Sunshine Key Rv Resort, Florida Keys
WOW….what an amazing day we had on Wednesday!
The winds, currents, and tides cooperated and finally gave us a perfect day.
We started our day early and walked up along the fishing bridge. The Spotted Leopard Rays were swimming all around.
They are amazing creatures and we felt very lucky to be able to see them so clearly. We’ve seen a few while scuba diving, but this was by far the best view.
I have a video on You Tube that I will post at a later date when I have more time. Right now, we’re trying to get going and go back out kayaking. We’re hoping for another day just like yesterday.
We got the kayaks into the water about 10:30 am. It was a perfect day. We headed out under the bridge to search for Rays. I love the view from under the bridge.
We did see the Leopard Rays briefly and here you can see one right under my kayak.
My pictures from the bridge were much better.
The tide was coming in, but it wasn’t so strong that you had difficulty paddling.
I tried to capture the sparkling water. It was amazingly beautiful.
We stayed in this area for a while. It was fairly shallow so Al decided to get out and walk. Our neighbors John and Janet were out as well looking for shells.
Al found a lot of live Conch Shells. We didn’t keep them.
When he got ready to get back in the kayak, he realized his paddle was missing (can you say up a creek without a paddle?)
We both went on a paddle search. We have spares…but they were back in the motor home.
He found it, but not before another paddler pulled it out of the water. A nice find for him? These paddles cost well over $100. He got his paddle back, thankfully! Lesson learned!
We went back to the same area and met up with John and Janet. They have a unique kayaking style. They start out together in the boat, then John gets out and pulls the kayak (with Janet inside) around looking for shells. It’s a good gig if you can get it!
We found a lot of pretty conch shells, but if they had a critter inside they got thrown back in.
I spotted a large Horse Conch, a crab and a conch shell.
Here is John with the Horse Conch.
and the regular Conch with the crab inside.
A pretty empty conch shell
John and Janet continued their trek around the island and Al and I headed a little further offshore, looking for interesting things.
A few minutes later Al called to me that he had a Loggerhead turtle with him. I paddled over as fast as I could and saw the turtle but didn’t get a very good picture of him. It had sat right under his kayak for about 5 minutes. The water was only 3-4 feet deep and it was a fairly large turtle.
We paddled around on the Atlantic side for several hours and then paddled back to the bay/gulf side.
We saw quite a few starfish on the bottom.
We found a nice little ledge, so Al got back in and did some snorkeling. The water was warm.
Before he got into the water we noticed about 3-4 small sharks swimming on the flats. Mostly all we saw were their dorsal fins (small ones) but I did get a good view of one shark. It was a baby. One dorsal fin we saw was a little larger though. We paddled over to try to get a better look at them but they must have gotten scared off.
(no, we’re not crazy or foolhardy, they were small sharks and more afraid of us then we are of them)
Soon, he came up with another pretty Starfish. (we threw him back)
He saw some pretty tropical fish and a few lobsters….that was enough for me. I decided to get in and do some snorkeling as well.
I hadn’t been scuba diving or snorkeling for years and once I got in, I was comfortable immediately, and I felt right at home.
I saw some juvenile, Goat fish, Rock Beauty, Sergeant Majors, and some Tangs. I also saw the lobster, but missed the large barracuda that Al had seen earlier. Neither of us saw the sharks again.
We joked that we were in “shark infested” waters. We always get a kick out of news reports saying people were in “shark infested waters.” They are always shark infested waters when some one’s boat capsizes, or something like that. However when they show beach go’ers at the beach swimming they never use that term. Hello…you are in the ocean…there are sharks out there.
We snorkeled for a while then decided to just swim the kayaks back in. When we snorkeled it was shallow and we could have touched bottom. We decided to just swim the boats back to shore (we have a rope that we hold on to so that we have our kayaks with us). We ended up in water over our heads and it was further to shore then we realized, so we decided to just get back into the boats and paddle to shore.
I didn’t know if I could get into the boat or not, but it was the day I was going to find out. With my swim fins on, I was able to get back into the kayak (without turning it over). It wasn’t pretty, but I “got her done.”
We finally gave up about 4:30 pm. It had been a long day and we were hungry and tired. We hit the sheets pretty early. 6 hours in the sun kayaking and snorkeling and we were exhausted!
Today is another day! It looks like it might be another nice day, so we’re going back again today!