Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boating in the Keys…part Two

 

Ohio Key, Florida  (high 86, low 75)

 

After having to be towed in by Sea Tow on our previous outing in the boat, we weren’t too eager to get back out until we had the motor looked at.

Fortunately, we met a boat mechanic who lived across the canal from the people that we bought the boat from, and he came to Sunshine Key on Sunday morning.   He checked things over well and did a few maintenance things.  The motor was running strong and starting well. We decided to replace the starter and coils as a preventative maintenance thing, and do some sort of cleaning in the carburetors.

Monday morning, we drove down to the marine store and got the starter, 4 coils, and a few other things Andy recommended.  Now all we have to do is find a time when Andy can work on the boat.  We’re leaving here Saturday so it needs to be done fast.  We also picked up a new battery, so now we have one brand new battery and one that’s a year old. 

On the way back from picking up the parts we stopped at our snorkeling spot we called horseshoe.  It’s a popular spot because you can get there by land as well as by sea.

view of horseshoe from land

When we saw how calm and clear the water was, it made us eager to get out in the boat.

 

We were pretty confident the boat was running better and it had been starting quickly every time.

We packed up our lunch, snorkel gear and all our stuff and headed over to Bahia Honda Marina to launch.

We headed under the old Bahia Honda bridge out towards the Atlantic side.  Note the left side of the span is where we stand later in the day taking sunset pictures.

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We puttered around a while and came across a pretty little island  right offshore from the state park.  Apparently some people that had rental kayaks from the  park had kayaked all the way out there.  It was pretty choppy and those kayaks aren’t real good ocean kayaks. They were pretty far offshore. I hope they made it back safely.

Note all those nice white bodies.  I bet they were pretty sunburned when they got back.

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Once we saw how choppy it was on the Atlantic side, we headed back to the bay side where it was much calmer.

 

This is the snorkeling boat that leaves from Bahia Honda Marina.  They charge $29.95 to take you snorkeling at Looe Key reef.

snorkeling boat leaving from Bahia Honda

We head back under the old Bahia Honda bridge.  Just wait until you see how pretty it was later in the evening when we were up on the bridge looking down!

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We ended up going back to horseshoe and we both snorkeled around for a while.  The water temp was 84, so I worked up the courage to get wet. It wasn’t the greatest snorkeling I’d ever done, but I saw a school of parrotfish, lots of beautiful red and black sea urchins, and many many conch.

Here are a few of the conch we saw.   You can’t legally harvest them if they are alive.  These were, so we returned them to their home in the water.  Weren’t they pretty?

 

Al with two Conch shells

This next photo is a view of the pretty cloud formation from the back of the boat.  The red flag is a “divers down” flag that is mandatory when you’re diving or snorkeling.

clouds

The boat motor had been starting and running pretty well, but I wasn’t feeling complete trusting of it yesterday, so we stayed very close to shore…..just in case.

I kept an eye on the radar (thanks to my trusty Weatherbug App) and noticed some fast moving rain showers popping up.

After snorkeling at horseshoe for a while, we moved to another spot but never found anything interesting.  There is supposed to be a sunken ambulance in the lagoon, but we never found it.  Not sure how it got there, but any kind of “wreck” makes a good artificial reef.  By this time the water was murky, so we gave up looking for it.  Maybe another time.

We decided to run the engine a while.  I thought the wake from the boat and the clouds made for some beautiful pictures.

clouds in wake from boat

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I kept an eye on the radar and noticed more and larger patches of rain popping up, so we decided to head back to shore and call it a day.

The motor started fine every time (thank goodness) and we made it safely back to shore.

 our Proline boat at marina

We launched about 10 am and didn’t get back until after 5pm.   It’s amazing how fast time flies when you’re on the water.

After coming home, cleaning the boat and showering, we headed back to Bahia Honda State Park to watch the sunset.

The park is especially beautiful in the late afternoon light.

Bahia Honda Beaches

This Reddish Egret was dancing in the shallows.  Unfortunately, he stopped dancing when he saw my camera!

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I don’t recall ever seeing one with white on them, but when I looked them up in my bird book, I found they go from white to red/gray.   I did not know that.  I assume they start out white and turn dark???

Reddish Egret dancing bird

We walked up on the old Bahia Honda bridge.  It is no longer used but makes for a great place to view beautiful Bahia Honda State park.

This picture shows the swimming beach.  Off to the left of the swimming beach is the inlet leading into the marina.  Further left of the marina is the waterfront campground.

Bahia Honda SP view from bridge

The water is calm and clear.  The little island I showed you earlier is in the background.  See how far of a paddle it was for those kayakers?

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There was a lot going on under the bridge.  We think these were Snook.

snook View from Old Bahia Honda Bridge

We saw sharks and rays and then we came across a huge school of Tarpon.

View from Old Bahia Honda Bridge     tarpon

They were swimming in a large circle. These are not small fish.  They were easily 2-4 feet long.

school of large tarpon from old bahia honda bridge

The green and turquoise colors of the water makes it a wonderful place to photograph.

View from Old Bahia Honda Bridge

A sailboat looking for a safe harbor. The “new” Bahia Honda bridge is in the background.

View from Old Bahia Honda Bridge

View from Old Bahia Honda Bridge

  View from Old Bahia Honda Bridge

I am standing at the end of the span of the old bridge.  What you’re looking at here is where the old bridge picks up. 

 

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The next pictures looks like a lollipop to me.

sunset view from old bahia honda bridge

sunset view from old bahia honda bridge

It was another very good day in the Florida Keys.  We only have a few days left and we’re both wishing we could stay longer.  Next year, we’ll probably stay through May.

We were sure surprised when we got back to shore and learned about the tragedy in Boston.  While we were out having such a wonderful time, people were getting killed.

Our prayers to the victims and their families.

9 comments:

  1. No apologies necessary, you can't take enough pictures of the Key's wonders and beauty!

    Good move getting the boat checked out, no fun having a cranky (or is it an uncranky?) motor. ;c)

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  2. I loved the wake and cloud pictures. Love those clouds. But the one of the lollipop is just incredible.

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  3. Another beautiful day in paradise :)

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  4. Beautiful photos, Karen...we don't blame you for wanting to stay longer i the Keys! Lovely to see it again through your eyes...

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  5. Glad to see you making the most of your last few days there. It looked like a great day to be on the water in your new boat. Those conch shells are amazing. I have never seen any that big except in a shell store.

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  6. loooove the keys, thanks for sharing some of it with us...

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  7. More fun on the water and great photos again, thanks for sharing.

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