Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Paddling under the 7-Mile Bridge
I shot this video while paddling underneath the old span of the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys. I'm passing beneath the 100-year-old railroad bridge built by Henry Flagler from Miami to Key West. It's held up pretty well over the past century! (Read Last Train to Paradise for a terrific history on the railroad.)
We launched from Knight's Key campground, located at the tip of Marathon, oceanside, and passed beneath the bridges. While looking for rays or sharks along a shallow sandbar, we saw some dolphins arcing in the deeper water close to the bridge.
We made a rest stop on historic Pigeon Key a tiny island museum preserving the community that housed bridge construction workers and their families in the last century. ($11 admission charged per person for a tour.)
From there we passed again beneath the bridges, being carefuly of some pretty stiff current between the arches (whatever you do, keep paddling!). We rode the swells between the spans, and one in our group saw a manatee, before we popped back out into the ocean.
We could see our destination: Molasses Key, a private island where camping permitted for paddlers on the Florida Keys Overseas Paddling Trail Since we are trail volunteers, we'd brought some trash bags for a quick beach clean-up.
This island is a tranquil place to set up camp, watching the headlights on the far-off bridge and birds feeding in the flats.
Read more about our overnight kayak tour along the Seven Mile Bridge and here's a new photo slide show: