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,
and a long line of channel markers leading out into the Bay from Convoy Point.
We met Judy, our boat captain and guide, boarded the Institute’s small (but sturdy) craft,
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.
Once we were clear of the channel, Judy punched the throttle and we banged our way southeast across Biscayne Bay toward Adams Key.
Our first stop was Jones Lagoon, located between Totten Key and Old Rhodes Key,
where, under the watchful eye of one of the locals,
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.
After a post-lunch siesta,
we moved on to a snorkling spot near Billys Point. While not the brightly colored coral reef kind of snorkling, it was nonetheless an interesting experience, enlivened with juvenile barricuda, sargent major fish, jack fish, and stunningly clear water.
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.
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, wierdness of Miami and the Keys!