We learned a lot of new things over the course of our 10-day, 120-mile paddle. (If you’re just tuning in, we invite you to visit our previous Keys posts.) Today’s eureka:
#7: It’s possible to paddle in the shade.
The sun’s strong here. Luckily, mangrove forests are everywhere (but they’re tight quarters….just remember to take your paddle apart and maneuver with one half).
Short cut! Mangroves line more than 1,800 miles of shoreline within Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
The dense tangle of prop roots make the trees appear to be standing on stilts above the water. This tangle helps the trees handle the daily rise and fall of tides. Most mangroves get flooded at least twice per day.
The red mangrove produces a spear-shaped seed that is up to 10 inches long and will float until it implants into soil.
Seeking relief (ahem) on a black mangrove island
Or you can paddle in the shadows of the Long Key Viaduct (1907) and modern-day Long Key Bridge.
The Long Key Viaduct was part of Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad; today, it’s a bike and pedestrian path/fishing pier
Long Key Bridge was built to replace the Long Key Viaduct (1907), which still stands parallel to the bridge.
Sometimes you just have to make your own shade. (2G3K Gear Recommendation: the versatile UV Buff)…
Jean, is that you?
Hen at SPF 1,000
…Or you can simply take advantage of passing clouds.
Next up: Wildlife takes vacations too. 🙂
As per Part 1, our kayak-camping trip spanned 10 days in early February. Now, more of the Top 10 Things We Learned about the southernmost point of the U.S. (not counting that last fact).
#3: “The Sunshine State” (Florida) isn’t always in a sunny state.You may think you’re escaping to a warm tropical paradise. Then, this (click for video):
Well, at least our clothes dried. But it’s a water sport, right? And unlike back home in New York, the stuff falling from the sky was rain, not snow/sleet/hail/wintry mix.
35-mph clothes dryer: Bahia Honda
Gear geek Henrietta
Nothing left to do but listen to the wind howl and plan for tomorrow
Shuffleboard in the rain: Rock Harbor
Popps Motel, prepping boats in the drizzle at Rock Harbor
Bill Burnham leaves Rock Harbor
Great thing about bad weather: clouds!
Betsy remains cheerful and colorful
Kokatat storm cag is worth every penny!
The view from our “hotel” in Bahia Honda