It wasn’t that long ago that the Florida keys could only be reached by boat and were inhabited primarily by wildlife and pirates, and probably it is the feeling of life lived on the wild side that offers the islands their appeal. With the Atlantic on a single side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, the keys have a tropical climate mitigated by the sea breeze. The over 1700 islands are the remains of an age old coral reef, but surprisingly the landscape is not that of the standard tropical island. Most of the keys are covered in pine and oak trees, and even though you’ll see lots of palms, colorful bougainvillea, hibiscus and papaya, none of these are native to the islands, Bougainvillea, for instance is a native of South America, but almost anything will develop in the Key West climate.
Whilst it is perfectly possible to rent a property in or around Key West with it’s personal dock and devote your time pottering around with trips by boat to the neighborhood restaurants, there are many possible trips in and about the Florida keys. About 70 miles West of Key West you’ll discover the Dry Tortugas National Park which is renowned for its coral reefs, shipwrecks, and legends of abandoned treasure. You will also want to check out Fort Jefferson, said to be the biggest stone structure in the Western Hemisphere, even though it is unfinished.
Fort Jefferson was constructed as a outcome of the recommendation of Commodore John Rogers who visited the Dry Tortugas in 1829. He felt that the position of the islands was critical the security of the USA and that if they had been occupied by a foreign power, US shipping would be at threat. The fort was created to be enormous, with 420 guns and living quarters for each soldiers and officers as properly as a parade ground. At its peak, the Fort had about 2000 occupants, no mean feat on an island with no fresh water.
Dr Samuel Mudd, whose name gave us the saying ‘his name was Mudd’ was imprisoned at the fort after his conviction for conspiracy in the death of President Lincoln. He was later pardoned and released by President Andrew Johnson.
But if history isn’t your issue, you will still find plenty of motives to visit the Florida Keys in a boat. Sport fishing is common, specifically about the Marquesa Keys, 9 islands grouped close to one an additional in a rough circle around 30 miles to the west of Important West. Even little boats can run out from Crucial West along the ‘Lakes passage’ to Boca Grande Essential with its great white beach and then across the Boca Grande Channel to the Marquesas.
The Marquesa Keys are the only atoll in North America, a group of islands with a natural harbour in the center. The islands are covered with mangrove, even though there is a sandy beach on the northern edge. Protected below marine sanctuary law, the seas about the Marquesa Keys are exceptional, and the flats fishing is second to none. Tarpon, shark, snook and barracuda are effortless to locate, and you can also see stingrays, sea turtles and a wide variety of birds.
The Florida Keys attract several fishermen and those on holiday, but no matter how friendly the people and the waters, the sea can be harmful for the unprepared. Always be positive you know how to operate the equipment on your boat and test your radio before you set off. As extended as you take adequate precautions, a trip about the Florida Keys will be some thing you speak about and remember for years to come.