Last Friday we took a Custom Charter on a boat captained by Eric Cline and for six hours we cruised what are called the Mud Keys and some of Florida’s beautiful coral reefs. It’s hard to put into words what a phenomenal time we all had.
The sky was so blue, the trees were so green and the water was crystal clear and did I mention the temperature was in the mid-eighties with a nice breeze.
We landed on what Eric said was the only island in the Mud Keys with sand (all the rest are mud thus Mud Keys). He said it takes hundreds of years for sand to form on these islands.
Dana and I wading amongst the mangrove trees.
Most of the views were breathtaking ! It’s hard to believe there would be a more beautiful place in the world than this.
Passing by one of the Mud Key Islands with the mangrove trees. Mangrove trees offer shelter to juvenile fish, turtles and crustaceans and help protect the coastline from serious erosion during the storm season.
Heading off to the coral reefs for snorkeling.
It was my first time snorkeling so breathing through my mouth took some getting used to, but I came across this molted crab shell, saw many schools of beauty fish and brought back a live star fish to the boat for everyone to see (we threw it back in). Some of the sponge growths were truly amazing !
The water in some areas along the coral reef is very shallow and at times the shoreline extends a good distance into the water so it was quite easy for boats to get stuck in the sand and need help being pushed out to deeper water.
Florida is the only state with extensive shallow coral reef formations near its coastline and they were formed approximately 5,000 to 7,000 years ago during the last Ice Age. Reef growth is slow from one half inch to seven inches per year. Dana let me borrow her underwater camera for pictures and when she gets them developed I will post some of them in the near future.
On the way back to Key West Captain Eric had some crab traps he had dropped six weeks ago and he had us hoist them up to see what he had caught. Check out the claws on this baby ! Speaking of claws – he would remove one of the crab claws on the big ones and throw the crab back in as they regenerate a new claw after several moltings.
I would highly recommend this one day trip if you go to Key West – Custom Charters – Eric J Cline. Eric’s relaxed demeanor made for a truly wonderful time and something none of the five of us will ever forget ! Thanks Eric.