Cudjoe Key, Florida
We decided to shoot for leaving here on Thursday. The nice thing about owning your own Rv lot is that you can come and go when you like. The bad thing about owning your own Rv lot is that you can come and go when you like and there is nothing to give you the kick in the butt to actually leave. Packing up and moving is one of our least favorite things and when we’re here, we have the additional chore of “summerizing” the boat.
The winds have died down some, but are coming out of the east so it makes a trip to Looe Key Reef a bit choppier than we would like. Our plan yesterday was to head out the Atlantic side to Looe Key and the lost anchor spot if it wasn’t too choppy. It was choppier than we like, so we decided to go to “plan b,” which is to go the bay side or “back country” as the locals call it.
Here, in the lower Keys, the waters offshore are very shallow. You can’t just jump in the boat and go. You have to very carefully navigate channels through some very shallow water. You have to be extremely careful not to run aground. There are some coral heads around, and you really don’t want to hit one of them.
We cruised through the back country through the Kemp channel for several miles. There are islands all around and quite a few shallow shoals that can come out of nowhere. Fortunately, with the new technology on the marine GPS, the chart shows you exactly where these shallow areas are located.
Kemp channel is not a marked channel, but more of a pathway between islands that leads out to open waters. It’s pretty wide, but there are a lot of places to run aground. As we go through the channel, we cruise by the place that houses the blimp. It’s a good landmark to be able to look up in the sky and see the blimp. With all the islands, you could easily get lost.
We cruised out to where the islands end at the edge of deeper waters. We stayed in the shallower waters so that Al could snorkel. I could see without getting wet that the snorkeling wasn’t going to be very good, so I stayed nice and dry in the boat. If he found something interesting, then I’d get in. He’s kind of like my crash test dummy. :)
After a few minutes snorkeling, he gave up and decided to try fishing.
He caught 5 fish, one of which was a three foot hammerhead shark. None of them were keepers.
The problem with catching a shark, is that you really don’t want to bring them back into the boat to get the hook out of their mouth. Al asked me to hold the rod for a minute while he grabbed the clippers to cut the line. Wow, was that shark strong. I could barely hold onto the rod. I can’t imagine catching something really big. You could feel his muscles right through the rod. It was an amazing feeling that I guess I’ve never had before since I don’t fish.
We felt bad that we couldn’t take out the hook, but it was on the side of his mouth and didn’t appear to be in a place that will interfere with his eating. Hopefully it will rust soon and he’ll be free of it.
We came back in and sat out on the patio for a few hours enjoying one of our last nights here in the Keys. We plan on leaving Thursday barring any problems. We may have an issue with the right rear leveler. It won’t seem to hold and the coach is leaning to the right. We have decided to live with it until we get back to Tampa. Hopefully they will all retract when we’re ready to go.
We’re planning on another boating day today, but I’ll end this with a few photos from around the park.
We’ll miss the beautiful sunrise over the Atlantic.
Cloudy days make for much better sunrise photos.
This was a frigate bird we saw right from our campsite. He was flying too fast for me so this is the best I could do.
Interesting facts I found about this bird.
“This species feeds mainly on fish, and attacks other seabirds to force them to disgorge their meals. Frigatebirds never land on water, and always take their food items in flight.
It spends days and nights on the wing, with an average ground speed of 6.2 mph, covering up to 139 miles before landing. They alternately climb in thermals, to altitudes occasionally as high as 8,200 ft.”