Biscayne National Park

Thursday 23 March, 2018

Biscayne National Park is mostly underwater, and includes the northern section of the Florida Keys. Unlike the more famous southern section of the Keys, there is no bridge, so most of the park must be visited by boat. There is a small area accessible by road, but most of the points of interest require private transportation through the Biscayne National Park Institute. Trips start at $39, which is more expensive than visiting a national park should cost, but very reasonable for a boat ride out to islands.

We had planned a diving excursion out on the outer, eastern side of the Keys, but the trip was canceled because of high swell. This was sad, as we hadn't been on a tropical dive since 2008, and I had been planning to get in my 100th dive in Biscayne. But I was able to book us a sail and snorkel trip to little-visited Adams Key as an alternative. The trip was limited to six passengers, and there were only four. The two of us were joined by Afghan-war veterans Heather and Wayne, who were on an RV trip to all 59 national parks. We were led by the affable, story-telling Pirate Captain Ron.

As always, Eric took a picture of the entrance sign.

Eric also took a picture of our sailboat, the Morning Dance.

My wrist injury prevented me from pulling on the lines, but Captain Ron let me help out by taking the helm and steering the boat as he and Wayne raised the sails. I felt the boat become much more responsive to the helm as the sails went up and the diesel engine became unnecessary.

Sailing! You can literally sail indefinitely, powered only by the wind. Eric enjoyed sitting in the stern as Captain Ron sailed us from the mainland to the Keys.

Eric took a picture of the sails pushing us along.

Eric took a turn at the helm, employing the compass and onboard GPS.

After a couple of hours of peaceful sailing, we arrived at Adams Key. Photo by Eric.

Lonely Adams Key. There were plumbed bathrooms, housing for the rangers, and, until we were packing up to leave, no other visitors.

The water was spectacularly clear.

Captain Ron had snorkeling equipment, stand-up paddleboards, and an inflatable kayak. I didn't feel up for any paddling, so Heather and Wayne took the kayak out into the lagoon, where they saw several small sharks and a barracuda. Both the water temperature and the air temperature were chillier than I had expected, but I determinedly snorkeled along the mangroves for about 40 minutes, seeing a few small fish.

Corals beneath the mangroves.

Bivalves beneath the mangroves.

Eric did some snorkeling as well, and tried out one of the paddleboards. He did see a small shark.

Eric peeked under the mangroves.

Shadows on sandy bottom. Photo by Eric.

Fish swimming in mangrove roots. Photo by Eric.

As we departed the island, Eric saw a pelican flying by.

After the gentle sail back to the mainland, we had an excellent Italian dinner at Capri's to celebrate 29 years of our relationship.

On to Florida Keys.

Last updated: 4 April, 2018 by Eric and Beth Zuckerman