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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Marathon Key Beach Harbor - Last Paddle and Starfish Snorkeling

Marathon Key Beach Harbor.                                             1.7 miles.                714 miles total
Put in at 8:00, paddled for 55 minutes

As we're thinking of going out snorkeling later today, we thought we'd get in a short paddle right from the harbor where we're staying.  The boat ramp is easily accessible, but very, very slippery - covered with algae.  The water was choppy, maybe the roughest we have seen, if you can call these 2 foot waves choppy.  We paddled out to the island right I front of the harbor.  Another woman had previously told me that somebody had bought this island for 1/2 million dollars and paddles into work every day from there.  There's a sign on the island,         We paddled  northwest and stayed along the shore.  Of course, more beautiful homes along the shore.  After 30 minutes, we turned around and headed back to our harbor.   We loaded up the boats and upon our arrival at the condo, we laid everything out to dry for the sad ride home to Tennessee.

1.7 miles in 55:46, Avg Speed 1.8, Max Speed 4.9

Marathon Key Beach Harbor

The 1/2 million dollar key.

Close up photo of the mangroves.  The branches extend out over the water,
then new roots reach down into the water and they spread out.  The root system is amazing.

On the boat 'Starfish Adventures' leaving the marina, we saw these birds.

This guy wanted a close-up, he looks good!

There were other fish, but these were everywhere and easy to photograph!

At the bottom were some beautiful fish that reminded me of the book "Rainbow Fish".

Dinner at Castaway was amazing.  These dishes are from their lunch menu.  Fried MahiMahi on the left
for Scotty, and steamed shrimp with sweet potato fries on the right for me.  The appetizer was honeybuns -
they tasted like fried doughnut balls that we then dipped in honey.   Yum!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Indian Key and Lignumvitae Key

Indian Key.                                            3 miles.                       708.5 miles total
(and 1/2 mile walking on the island)
Put in at 9:30, took out at 11:30 for lunch

We launched from a roadside stop, which had some parking spots and a small, sandy beach.  It's across the bridge from Robbie's Marina.  It's only 1/2 mile out to Indian Key.  We paddled  on the north side the island and then doubled back to go to the dock which is on the southwest side of the key.  We tied up to the dock and walked around the island.  Donations are requested to 'tour' the island and there is a box at the end of the dock.  Island Key was inhabited by some residents in the 1800s.  Jacob Housman started the small village.  Excavations have revealed the homesite of the Housmans, the town square, warehouse, cistern and streets.  We walked the well marked paths and climbed up the observation tower.  There is no fresh water on the island, and therefore no bugs or Mosquitos.  We paddled back to the north side of the island which had a rocky coast, thinking we'd see more fish there.  We tied our boats to trees and were able to hop out in the water which was 2-3 feet deep.  We snorkeled around for a bit, but the water was too murky to see much so we jumped back into our kayaks and headed back across the channel.  This channel never seemed to get very deep.  We paddled across lots of grass.  We had our lunch back in the parking lot where the small beach now had several more people.

This was our route out to the island.
1.53 miles in 1:07, Avg Speed 1.4, Max Speed 5.1

This was our route coming back into land.
1.12 miles in 33:15, Avg Speed 2.0, Max Speed 4.3

It's a small beach, but nice; empty when we left the parking lot.

Off to the island.

There's a great dock here.  We tied our boats up here and it's not always easy getting
out at a dock.  When we left, we saw the beach for landing kayaks just off to the
left of this photo.

Pretty cool island - all the streets are marked.

Site of the warehouse.

One of the cisterns still there.

From the observation deck, we could see over the island out to the ocean.

Untying the kayaks.

We snorkeled on one side of the island, but as we swam we
kicked up dirt/sand and it made for harder viewing.

Lignumvitae Key                                                     4 miles.                      711.5 miles total
Total paddling time 1:55
High 80s and sunny

We paddled from the same parking lot to the north of  the small key where we had parked and across the gulf side channel, past Bobbies Marina.  This water was a bit more choppy, and again the water  never got very deep.  A few boats and jetskis passed us as we traveled across.  We got close to Lignumvitae  Key and paddled near the mangroves.  We were a few feet from the trees when we were both swarmed by small, biting mosquitoes.   We paddled back into the water and covered ourselves with bugspray.  As we paddled around this island, we did see lots of minnows, fish, a few horseshoe crabs and Scotty saw 2 small sharks! We paddled towards the dock which is on the east side of this island.  Along the way, we saw 2 rangers docking their state park boat and talked awhile with them.   They were wearing net coverings and told us that the mosquitoes on the island were really, really bad and we definitely believed them from our short encounter.  They were interesting to talk to, and told us they had lived on the island for 6 years.  The man had retired from a diving tour operation to now work here, and the woman had moved down from northern Florida.  The island was closed today so we weren't able to go ashore.  I can't say I was disappointed because the mosquitoes were not an enticement.  Apparently there is a botanical garden ashore and many orchids, although the woman said there weren't many blooming now.  So back across the channel to our small parking lot.  On the way back to the condo, we stopped at Fish Tales Market and had an early dinner as we were both quite hungry.  Scotty had dolphin with a German mustard sauce and I had a fish sandwich with cheese and cole slaw on rye bread.  It was an excellent lunch.  We split a piece of chocolate cheesecake with a German chocolate cake topping.  Yum!

**We didn't get any photos of this key!  A first!

4.1 miles in 1:55, Avg Speed 2.1, Max Speed 5.0

Dinner at Fish Tales Market.

Sunset view from Marathon Key Harbor.