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  • jcath1

Mangrove Tunnels in the Keys

Updated: May 3, 2023


In September of 2020 I took a 5 day trip down to the Florida Keys. One of the best trips I ever took. Why? The price. It was $49 to fly round trip from Newark Airport to Miami. Not kidding. Car rental was $11 a day. Not kidding. I went by myself! If you've never taken a solo trip give it a try. Peace and quiet, I did what I wanted, when I wanted, ate what I wanted, slept as long as I wanted. You get the idea.


When I landed I snagged my rental car and headed south into the Keys. The only thing I had on my agenda was to visit Dry Tortugas National Park (separate post). I stopped at the Visitors Center in Key Largo just to see what I could see.


They were most helpful. I booked two tours for the next morning. The first was kayaking through the mangroves and the second was a snorkeling trip.


I cannot remember for the life of me where I stayed that night but the next morning I was ready to go! As I was driving to the kayaking I got a text from the Visitors Center letting me know my snorkeling was cancelled due to rough seas. Oh well, I lost that crap shoot.


I arrived at my appointed time at Florida Keys Kayak and Paddleboard on Key Tavernier. The staff was super friendly and helpful. I had the choice of going via Stand Up Paddle or kayak. I chose the kayak. I went out onto the back porch and walked a short way to the kayaks only to find out I was the only one taking the tour that morning. How great is that? A personal tour! My guide Stephen was amazing. A wealth of knowledge about the keys, animals, and plants.


A little land crab he was sharing


There was so much to see. A ton of birds, fish and other critters. Even saw a manatee on the way back! Okay, a little disclaimer here. I was using a very inexpensive underwater camera here and didn't think about drying off the lens for land pictures. With all my photography woes you'd never guess I've been taking pictures for 50 years. I had a great underwater camera back in the days of 35mm film, never any problems. I've since bought a better one but one day I'll get a very good one. Can I blame the digital era? There's more to the saga but not now.


Back to my trip. It really was amazing and so much fun! Here are some pictures. Some are mine, others are not. I had most of the pictures on my phone which was swiped the week after I got home. At least I have my memories... My advice - go make your own memories!



The water was so clear. Because I was the only one we could go at my pace. I saw so much. At the end of the tunnel where we turned around I had the opportunity to get in the water and go swimming. Learn from my mistake. I did not have a bathing suit on under my clothes. Next time I do this I won't make that mistake. I'm not one for staying wet, nor did I want salt water in the rental car so I opted to decline the offer. Next time...


On the way back to the shop we followed a manatee for a while. That was a unique experience for me. I usually see these guys from a boat but being at water level and so close was a hoot!


I would recommend this company for a fun kayak trip next time you're in the Keys. Their website is: Florida Keys Kayak and Paddleboard – Kayak and Paddleboard Eco Tours (keykayak.com). It was well worth the $50 for two hours of fun in the mangroves!



What I'm drinking today


Not gonna lie: Folgers. I was awake before God this morning and grabbed whatever I could to put in the coffee maker. However, if you happen to be in the Keys stop at One Grind Coffee in Key Largo. It's not an actual shop but is located in a trailer, like the food trucks but not quite. They offer an amazing amount of choices and have a 5 star rating from google. Check out their website share your experience in the comments if you've visited them!

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