FL - Florida Keys - 2004/03/09 - Bahia Honda day trip



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Heavy winds, strong currents - who needs it! Paddle sapphire waters over sparkling white sand in protected waters at Bahia Honda in the Florida Keys. Now that's paradise.




After our long trip to Looe Key we were tired. The wind was blowing hard again today, so a quiet trip around Bahia Honda Key seemed just the thing. We launched from the yacht basin at the east end of the key and started to paddle under the highway bridge north into the oncoming wind. It was blowing a stiff 20 knots. Our bows danced in the short chop coming over the shallow flats as we battled the current flowing out off the interior out the channel to the open water south of Bahia Honda. After 20 minutes of heavy paddling we agreed that this was not what we were looking for this day and we turned out boats around for a swift exhilarating surf back under the bridge to the protected lee of the other side of the island.




We paddled about half way up the island were we located the narrow and very shallow entrance to the lagoon between the campground and the highway. Only passable at half tide or better, we ducked under the low bridge of the campground road and were immediately in a tight mangrove channel. The red mangrove branches arched overhead as we paddled from side to side in the narrow channel, seeking enough water to float even our shallow boats.



Under the overarching branches of the bobbing mangrove leaves, we startled egrets and heron. They leapt into the air with a squawk to settle nearby on another wind tossed perch. Beneath the thick cover of the glossy leaves, all was quiet. We emerged from the tunnel into an ultra shallow long lagoon. On the marl bottom, sharks and jellyfish lay quietly in the clear water.
We paddled to the end of the lagoon, grounding eventually a little short of the farthest shore. Not wanting to be trapped in the lagoon by the shallow entrance, we stroked steadily back to the only exit for this nearly land locked water.

Out in the open once more we continued east along the south shore of the island. We passed the tenting area where our camp was set back into the sea grapes, gumbo limbo trees and sable palms. Only the fence was visible. All signs of campsites in the upper portion of the camp were invisible just a few yards off shore.




We paddled on to the beach at the east end of the island. Voted one year as one of the Ten Best Beaches, the colors of the water off the beach were magnificent. Out here I could see why it rated so well. The beach itself however didn't match up. It was small and filled with sea weed. Perhaps it is a summer beach. Winters storm could have shifted all the beach sand out here. The sparking white sand covered by a meter of crystal clear water was why we had come.
After a brief walk to stretch the legs on the end of the beach, we paddled leisurely back to the marina and then on to camp. It was a good relaxing day.



Arrival at Bahia Honda and circumnavigation

Day trip to Snipe Key

Rest day playing tourist on Islamorada and Bahia Honda Keys

Day trip to Content Keys

Day trip to Looe Key

1/2 Day trip at Bahia Honda

Day trip to Johnston Key

Day trip to Coupon Bight


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