So I discovered Burnham Guides, LLC, a husband and wife team - Bill and Mary, that lead trips in the Florida Keys. They hail from the Eastern Shores of Virginia (and also lead trips there in the Summer), but spend the Winters leading trips in the warmer weather of the Florida Keys. They originally are from Upstate NY and are just plain GOOD people. What does that mean....you just got to meet them...and their dog Cocoa too! So I signed up for a 3 day/2 night paddling/primitive camping tour of some remote islands off the Lower Keys. Loaded my boat and headed South!
WHAT an incredible experience! If you think you've seen the most beautiful sunset, try viewing it standing in blue-green Caribbean-like waters off a white sandy beach with not a sole around (except for 5 other kayaking pals who are in awe as well). No city lights, no traffic noise, no distractions. Might I add that a delicious dinner of grouper and hogfish with mango salsa topped with cilantro was served just after sunset by kayaker Dave, founder of SouthEast Expeditions in Eastern Virginia. The other two tourists, Andrea and Hamilton (Mother/Daughter paddling team) brought wine for the occasion. Mary and Bill had real smores for us. YES...all this in a kayak. I ate better on this trip than I do at home! And after dinner as darkness fell upon us....just on queue, the stars emerged uninhibited. The brightest and most stars I've ever seen. To top our evening off, a shooting star spit across the midnight sky. I made a wish....think we all did.
Now that I have your attention, I'll share more of the trip details below. And more pictures.
Put in/take out: Sugarloaf Marina
Paddled Great White Heron Wildlife National Refuge
Overnight 1: Snipe Key
Overnight 2: Marvin Key
~6 mile one-way paddle out
Sunny most of trip
High 70's during day/high 60's at night
|Whelk shell? with live critter|
|Hermit Crab hiding in shell|
|Red Coral left by the tide|
|Reddish Egret fishing|
....you can probably see why I did not want to return to the mainland!
|Picture of me paddling...taken by Dave!|
|The Paddling Gang....awesome picture Dave!|