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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Paddling Key Largo to Key West

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Here's a slide show Bill put together of images we've taken paddling throughout the Florida Keys over the last 7 years. Once a year we take customers on our "Paddle your Atlas off," from Key Largo to Key West. It's scheduled for March 22-31, 2011, 100 glorious miles in ten days, camping all the way. March is Alternative Transportation Month, so it's the perfect time to get off Route 1 and take to the Florida Keys Overseas Paddling Trail.

If you've ever dreamed of paddling to the southernmost point in the US over shallow Caribbean-blue waters and landing on island beaches each night, this is your chance.

We do all the work for you, kayaks and gear, all camping gear (tent, sleeping bags, pads, etc.), all meals prepared for you, and even instruction along the way are all included. Plus, you get to take home a signed copy of our Florida Keys Paddling Atlas, winner of a National Outdoor Book Award.

Details are at www.burnhamguides.com; email or give us a call: 305-240-3298.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Paddling under the 7-Mile Bridge

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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:



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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Silent paddling in Dusenbury Grottos, Key Largo

Just a mile's paddle from Key Largo and busy US Route 1, Dusenbury Creek is a deep channel through a mangrove forest. Dredged by an engineer named Dusenbury to support passage of construction boats for Flagler's railroad in the early 20th century, the channel is a popular passage for power boats.

But off of it kayakers can enter a maze of mangrove tunnels, silent, cathedral-like and hiding green herons and mangrove crabs. Beneath the clear water, colorful sponges cling to the mangrove roots harboring mangrove snapper and other fish.

If you're lucky, you may even see a giant manatee pass silently beneath your boat. Click below for the video:

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