Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Curry Hammock State Park

A short, but diverse paddle Sunday, November 28, 2010 on the way home form Key West.  Curry Hammock State Park is at Mile Marker 56 on the Overseas Highway.  I was in the water at 9:30, paddling west, away from the Atlantic into a broad lagoon/lake.
 A residential canal is to the right/north, a mangrove stream to the south.
 I paddled under the new Park bridge, into the mangroves.

 Crab, one of many, scuttling up the prop roots.
The tunnel opens into another open area.

Out into the Atlantic where the pelicans in the first photo flew.

Nearby, cormorants and more pelicans roosted on Deer Key.

I paddled around Deer Key.

Back to the Ocean.

Back to the channel leading to the launch site.

Only other kayaker I saw.  Here's a tip.  A single in a 2 person kayak should sit in the middle.

I kayaked for just over an hour.  In small bays, a mangrove tunnel, around an island, and along the Atlantic shore.  Nice variety in 60 minutes.  The launch area from land
.A hawk on the drive out.

The rest of the 340 drive home wasn't too bad, considering the holiday.  Less traffic on Thanksgiving Sunday 2010, than on Memorial Day, 2010, and Labor Day, 2009.   I did take Card Sound, as the two lanes in Key Largo funneling into one for the "18 Mile Stretch", looked like it would create slow going.  In Palm Beach County, an overhead sign advised of an accident, 15 miles ahead, with a lane closure.  I figured it would be moved to the side.  Don't know if it was, as I did not see it.  In ten minutes or so, I hit the back up.  Exited the Turnpike, got on I-95, for a few miles, back to the Turnpike, past the delay.   I'm glad I wasn't driving south from Orlando.  Traffic backed up from the Three Lakes toll plaza to Osceola Parkway.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

No Name Key

Saturday, November 27, 2010.  Think I can sell this to the Big Pine/Bahia Honda Visitors Bureau?  I kayaked a place I had not visited before.  No Name Key.  That's the name. No Name.  It is off the beaten track of the Keys linked by the Overseas Highway.  A bridge, not part of Henry Flagler's original railroad, leads from Big Pine Key to No Name Key.   Most of the land is part of the National Key Deer Wildlife Refuge.   There are homes on No Name, but no electricity or water. 
Here is a good article about No Name Key   I saw three Key deer as I drove along the main road on the Key.  I had read it is possible to launch a kayak at ehe end of the road. The deer below was near the end of the road
Unlike Coupon Bight, no, No Trespassing, signs. Just, No Camping.

This is where I put in, pushing the yak across the seaweed to floatable depth.  Two or three posts in the water mark the spot.  This dock was to my left.  As 95% of the island is natural, I was glad for it so I would know how to find the launch site.
On my way at 8:30, headed right, south.  My intent to circumnavigate No Name Key.  And see more Key deer

.Five minutes later, four deer on shore.

I headed south as that is where the wind was coming from. Much calmer than Thanksgiving and Friday had been, but I wanted it at my back later as I circled the Key.

The old Bahia Honda bridge.
Two bridges. Utilitarian highway bridge in the foreground, Flagler's railroad span behind.

More bridge views.

A great egret caught my eye.

I had not noticed the buck behind it.  Until it stood up.

I was having a very nice morning.

The morning got better.  Looking at birds in the shallow water, I saw something else.
Those can't be deer way out there.

Yes they are.  I paddled out for a closer look.

It took about ten minutes to reach the deer, who were walking away from No Name Key.

 The bigger one just glared at me, while the little one high tailed it back towards No Name Key.

 Big guy, thought, fine, run away, I'll continue on my way.

I wonder if the big deer was able to walk all the way to Big Pine Key.

Back to what I'm used to seeing in shallow water.

I paddled 45 minutes without any photos.  Then, I thought I heard an exhale.  Then I saw the dolphin. And another, and another.  A pod of six or more.

Dolphins and deer.  Not bad.
Just to remind you, this was my first time paddling No Name Key.  I had no idea how large it was, or how long the voyage would take.  Had no map, no idea how the island was shaped.  But, if I kept close to shore, and kept turning right I had to eventually reach the bridge to Big Pine Key.  That would indicate I was on course.

I now know there are two large bays and a good sized island on the south end of No Name.  Here's a map

Reached the bridge at 10:55. More keys on the horizon.

Birds of No Name Key.

The final Key deer of the morning.
Last photo before landing at 11:55, just short of 3.5 hours to circle No Name Key.

I stopped at my nephew's Bike Shop on Stock Island.  The bike I bought Memorial Day weekend needed a few adjustments.  Another customer was there, his bike on the stand.  Evan came up to him, "John David, you need...."  I thought the guy looked familiar.  My niece's brother in law.  Even if you are not a relative, you will get good service at Re-Cycle.  Need a bike?  You do in Key West, they will deliver to your hotel.

My next stop, Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Beer and hotdog on the patio at the concession. I can think of just one other Florida State Park, Honeymoon Island, that serves beer. Nice view, above. After lunch I snorkeled. Three rock piles near shore offer interesting views. To bad the winds of the last few days made the water cloudy.

Bike ride outside the Fort.

A short ride, just a mile and a half.  Off the bike, into Fort Zak.

Views from the Fort.


Outside the walls.

Fort Zak has the shortest hammock trail I've seen.

Hard to have room on a small, urban, island. Two final views from the Fort area.

A small piece of the beach is set aside for kayaks.

Had to take a pic of these roosters as I drove to my sister's house.

Hoped on the bike and went to Daddy's Barbque on N. Roosevelt.

Then I biked to Duval St, to look for my brother.  Did not find him, although I saw where he works on Friday afternoon.  The Saturday night crowd just needs a tent to complete the circus
Back to Monica's for some pie and stone crab.  Nice end to a great day