Biscayne National Park (Florida) 11-Feb-2018

Biscayne National Park Florida

Biscayne National Park, which starts some 10 miles due east of Homestead, Florida, is another one of those national parks in Florida that is mostly offshore and underwater. You can’t see very much of it from the Dante Fascell Visitor Center, so we scheduled a paddling/snorking day trip with the Biscayne National Park Institute to get a little closer look at this park.

What you can see from the visitor center are the shimmering white towers of Miami to the north,

Biscayne National Park Florida
Miami is visible on the horizon

and a long line of channel markers leading out into the Bay from Convoy Point.

Biscayne National Park Florida
Looking east toward Elliott Key

We met Judy, our boat captain and guide, boarded the Institute’s small (but sturdy) craft,

Biscayne National Park Florida
The Institute’s boat

and crept out along the channel past various seabirds. It was fun to see how the cormorants were using the channel marker signs as both perches and as shelter from the wind.

Biscayne National Park Florida
Seabird and sign

Once we were clear of the channel, Judy punched the throttle and we banged our way southeast across Biscayne Bay toward Adams Key.

Biscayne National Park Florida
Planing across the bay

Our first stop was Jones Lagoon, located between Totten Key and Old Rhodes Key,

Biscayne National Park Florida
Mooring near Jones Lagoon

where, under the watchful eye of one of the locals,

Biscayne National Park Florida
A pelican watches

we tried our hand at paddle boarding. The LovedOne was a quick study but I found it impossible to stay upright and take photographs at the same time. Fortunately it’s an underwater camera because that’s where I was more than a few times. More practice is needed.  Otherwise it was a great experience in that we got to see rays sweeping across the bottom of the very shallow lagoon. After paddling, we moved on to Adams Key for lunch.

Biscayne National Park Florida
Adams Key
Biscayne National Park Florida
A National Park Service building at Adams Key
Biscayne National Park Florida
A homemade Cuban refugee boat abandoned at Adams Key
Biscayne National Park Florida
Close-up of the Cuban refugee boat

After a post-lunch siesta,

Biscayne National Park Florida
Tough times at Adams Key

we moved on to a snorkeling spot near Billys Point. While not the brightly colored coral reef kind of snorkeling, it was nonetheless an interesting experience, enlivened with juvenile barricuda, sargent major fish, jack fish, and stunningly clear water.

Biscayne National Park Florida
Our snorkeling spot near Billys Point

After splashing around for an hour or so, our time was up and we banged our way back across the Bay to Convoy Point and the visitor center, passing the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant along the way.

Biscayne National Park Florida
Nuclear power on the horizon

The Institute provided us with a brief, but enlightening, visit to parts of this park that we weren’t going to see from the visitor center.  It was a great way to wrap-up our mid-winter trip to South Florida. Our thanks to Carl Hiaasen for inspiring us to experience the warm, moist, weirdness of Miami and the Keys!


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