Ohio Key, Florida (high 83, low 77)
It was a very, very good day. I mean a REALLY good day. Of course every day in the Florida Keys is a good day, but Friday was one of those that we especially enjoyed.
The winds had finally died down, so we jumped at the chance to take the boat out.
We launched at Bahia Honda State Park around 9:30 am.
There were three Florida Law Enforcement guys in a nice big boat, docked in the water at the marina right by the ramp.
We got the boat into the water. It started up and everything was good.
We crossed under the Bahia Honda bridge and decided to go to the bay/gulf side since it was a bit choppy on the Atlantic side.
The water was a bit cloudy from all the wind and we couldn’t see the bottom. Very unusual.
The Bahia Honda channel is the deepest channel in the Keys and the fishing is supposed to be really good. We found that out for sure later in the day. :)
This old fashion sailboat was across the bridge and I think it was interesting looking with the bridge framing it.
We got underway and decided to head back to the place we called Horseshoe. It was the place where we had to call for the bird rescue.
We hadn’t been away from the dock 10 minutes when those same three law enforcement guys were following right behind us and motioned for us to pull over.
We did as we were told, they tied up right beside us and proceeded to ask for registration and safety equipment.
I asked them if they would mind if I took their picture for my blog and they agreed.
We had all the required safety gear so we were okay. They asked the name of my blog, so hopefully they will find it and see their picture! My only question guys is…..why didn’t you just check us at the dock? Wouldn’t it have been easier? They were all nice guys and had a sense of humor…..unlike the customs guys who are all business and definitely don’t have a sense of humor!
The next exciting thing to happen was to see what was probably a pretty large shark. We saw what looked to be a big white fin skimming the water. It was probably more of a grey, but it sure looked white at the time. We assumed it was a shark and by the size of the fin, probably a large one.
Right after that, we saw two dolphin feeding. It was the first dolphin I can remember seeing in they Keys. We dropped anchor and watched as they put on a show.
Our next stop was over to horseshoe where we anchored so that the anchor was in deep water (30 feet) and the back swung into about 2-3 feet of water.
This little guy always seems to be sitting on the channel marker by horseshoe.
Al decided he was going to be brave and get wet. The water temperature (according to our depth recorder) was 82 degrees, so it’s not too cool.
I let him check out the water and if it looks good, I’ll go in as well.
He found some pretty shells…..which we didn’t keep since there were critters inside them.
When he came back from snorkeling and told me that he’d seen some parrotfish, damselfish and an angel fish, I decided after lunch I would get wet too.
He wanted to move to a different area, so we pulled the anchor and left.
We got under the Bahia Honda bridge and were heading over to the Atlantic side when I spotted some major dolphin activity.
This time it appeared there were several dolphin and they were aggressively working on catching some dinner.
Dolphin are very smart mammals and work together to hunt.
One time out in the gulf near Tampa, we saw several dolphin herding a school of fish. The dolphin swam very fast in a circle around this school of fish, effectively corralling them. They had them all corralled together and were picking them off. It was an incredible sight and one we will never forget.
I think this is what was happening here, but we were a good distance away and I had to really zoom in to see what was happening and take some pictures.
This isn’t the sharpest picture, but it was the best I could do and I was pretty happy with what I saw.
All I saw with my naked eye was a big brown blur off in the distance.
This what I saw after I zoomed in with my camera.
Incredible huh? Double click on the picture to enlarge it.
We got a few other shots of the dolphin. Under the Bahia Honda bridge appears to be a very good place to dolphin watch and we want to go back.
This next picture seems odd to me. It looks like him tail fin is backwards.
We puttered around under the bridge a while and then decided it was still pretty rough on the Atlantic side, so we went over the other side of horseshoe. There is often a boat there and the guys snorkel. The had left, so Al wanted to see for himself just what was so interesting.
He snorkeled around and came to the conclusion, they were either gathering small pieces of coral (illegal) or clams that were also abundant there.
Our next plan was to pull anchor and find somewhere else to snorkel.
Well that was the plan anyway.
I started the engine, Al was on the bow pulling the anchor. The engine, died which was unusual. I started it again and it died again. He immediately dropped the anchor back down and started to work on the boat but it ended up we had two dead batteries and needed a tow.
Long story short, this was our next visitor.
Remember in a previous blog where I said we joined Sea Tow? Well, we were sure glad we did. We had been members over the years but never needed their services.
Yesterday, we did. For a minimal membership fee, they will come get you and tow you in. Just like roadside assist, but in the water.
The Captain was very efficient in retrieving us from 2 feet of water and bringing us back to the dock at the marina.
If it hadn’t been such a darn good day, we might have felt bad, but we had such a great day, despite having to be towed in!
After he dropped us off at the dock, we loaded the boat onto the trailer and continued on home.
The beach at Bahia Honda was especially pretty during low tide, so I had to stop for some pictures.
So…….we didn’t take the boat out today! We have a mechanic coming over tomorrow (hopefully) but in the meantime, Al changed the water separator, bought a new battery and did a few other things. It’s starting right up and running good, but we want the mechanic to see if he thinks we need a new starter. It’s an older motor, and we knew there could be problems, and that’s okay….as long as Sea Tow comes to get us!
Despite being stopped by the cops and needing a tow back to port……it was a REALLY GOOD DAY!