Florida Keys kayaking | 2 Geeks @ 3 Knots

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We learned a lot of new things over the course of our 10-day, 120-mile paddle. (If you’re just tuning in, we invite you to visit our .) Today’s eureka:

Luckily, mangrove forests are everywhere (but they’re tight quarters….just remember to take your paddle apart and maneuver with one half).

Short cut! Mangroves line more than 1,800 miles of shoreline within Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

The dense tangle of prop roots make the trees appear to be standing on stilts above the water. This tangle helps the trees handle the daily rise and fall of tides. Most mangroves get flooded at least twice per day.

The red mangrove produces a spear-shaped seed that is up to 10 inches long and will float until it implants into soil.

Seeking relief (ahem) on a black mangrove island

The Long Key Viaduct was part of Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad; today, it’s a bike and pedestrian path/fishing pier

Long Key Bridge was built to replace the Long Key Viaduct (1907), which still stands parallel to the bridge.

(2G3K Gear Recommendation: the versatile )…

Jean, is that you?

Hen at SPF 1,000

Next up: Wildlife takes vacations too. 🙂

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Continuing Ed on 10 Things We Learned while paddling from Key Largo to Key West. (Crib notes here: ,

and )  🙂

Beer-and-babes motorboat vs. kayaking nature nerds

Paddling through Adams Cut, a manmade residential canal, we glimpsed Key Largo in cross-section: its deep coral foundation.

Fossilized coral is rock hard. You need tent stakes as long as your forearm.

An iguana poses for Hen on his front porch

Dinosaur-like iguana, ancient coral-reef home foundation

For us geeks, this was a whole new world of massive rolling castles and snowbirding nomads. Hmm, and you thought NYC was quirky…

On closer inspection, this tent was actually a barn for…(look beyond it, to the right…)

Lucy, the miniature horse. Now that’s pet-friendly!

Adams Cut: cross section of coral foundation

Fossil-fuel burners among the fossils

Lots of property for sale as the sea level rises

Our tents among the RVs

Monthly rent around $2500 includes electricity and water

Jack, Rick and Alex (headlamp) do the dishes at RV campground

It is wonderful to do your laundry after days on the “road”

Picnic Key. The name says it all.

Sunny afternoon on Picnic Key

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Another day, another dozen miles paddling from Key Largo to West. Of the things we learned here, this one was immediately obvious.

Pelican’s eye view of Indian Key. Bill and Jack approach Long Key. Colorful character Hen. Storm clearing over Rock Harbor. Debra and unusual kayak storage. Arrival at Geiger Key to set up camp. Betsy takes a break near Indian Key. Angels over Curry Hammock State Park.

Green water, lavender sky

Jack and Rick

Popps Motel in Rock Harbor

Leaving Rock Harbor

Rick in a sunny moment

Colorful yaks at campsite

Tent platforms at Long Key State Park

Sandy bottom

Arriving at Sugarloaf Key

House in Key West

Part 1 is . As well as the

in our Keys-y series. 🙂

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Virga—wispy ice crystals falling through high winds, in the lower right of the frame—predict deterioration of the weather. (Got that right! More on our recent 110-mile paddle from Key Largo to Key West coming up…) Another classic case of clouds : This exhibit ranged from Albrecht Durer’s grey “” to Chagall’s fiery “” and back again. 🙂

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