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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Exploring Remote Florida Keys

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When most people think of the Florida Keys, they think of Key West, or Key Largo. Others will think of Islamorada, Marathon, Bahia Honda, or perhaps any of the other Keys that are linked by the forty two bridges that are known as Overseas Highway, which is the first 100+ miles of U.S.1.

Well, forty two bridges would link forty two islands, but of course there are also islands not connected by the bridges, such as Geiger Key, or No Name Key, which are off islands which are. I'm strictly guessing here, but I'm estimating the archipelago of islands which have people living on them could be around sixty five to seventy five.

However, the Florida Keys amount to much more than seventy five islands. In total, there are actually over three thousand islands in the Florida Keys!

By the way, a Key, or Cay (both pronounced Kee) is a small, low island.

How can one not be curious about exploring some of these? Back around seven years ago, my friends Rick, Cindi, and Jeff went out to one of these remote keys, and I've been going there ever since. With group of friends of ours, we recently went out there again earlier this week, renting a pontoon boat to get there.

Our destination was Marvin Key, or more correctly "The Marvins". There are two islands in the Marvins, neither of which has a singular name.

We rent the pontoon boat from Backcountry Boat Rentals, which is at Mile Marker 17 ( 17 miles north of Key West), Summerland Key. Every time we've gone, we've had fabulous service from them. The boats are in great shape and the man who sees you off, Alfredo, is very pleasant, yet also quite precise in his instructions, so there is no confusion.

Marvin Key is about nine miles west of Summerland Key, where the boat disembarks from, and the ride out there takes about an hour. You must stay within the guidelines of the trip, because it's very shallow and it doesn't take much to run aground.

The pictures will better explain what it's like out there. They really do speak for themselves.

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A channel the route takes you through shortly after leaving the dock.

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Dani Hoy piloted this trip.

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Some of the 3000 islands in the Florida Keys on the way out.

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New keys are constantly being formed. The sands are constantly shifting throughout the Keys and new islands sprout out of nowhere. A mangrove starts growing in it and next thing you know, there's a new island!

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Marvin Key is in sight!

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Marvin Key

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My dogs Cajun and Tooloulou always come on the trip. Here Cajun is the scout, making sure the island is safe for the rest of us.

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Following the trail Cajun blazed up the island.

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A sandy spot that looks like it would make a fantastic campground... one of these trips!... What? it's illegal.... hummmm...

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Cajun and Tooloulou checking out the other side of Marvin Key.

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The other side of Marvin Key.

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Coming back out the island path

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Fun in the crystal clear waters of the Florida Keys

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My friend Bill Cockrill's coozie  kept the beverages cool on a 90 (32C) degree day! Thanks Bill!

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We spent six hours at Marvin Key! It never gets old!!!!

I suggest keeping a link to this page for when you are at work and need a breath of fresh air!

BackCountry also has skiffs, in addition to pontoon boats. To contact Backcountry Boat Rentals:

Tell them Key West Chris sent you!  :)

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