As much as I’d like to turn today’s blog into a Travel blog, we’re here once a month to talk about specific beaches and what you can find there (mainly, shells).
We started off Saturday morning at Smathers Beach. Supposedly, the Travel Channel named Smathers as one of its Top 10 Beaches. Hmmm. I am not trying to take anything away from them, but in my opinion, it is not. We arrived around 9am and the beach was empty. Cool. I like a secluded, quiet beach. The sand was soft and sugary. Cool. The Queen likes to stick her feet in soft sand.
The water was pretty clear, too. Cool. As a snorkeler, I like clear water. So, I jumped in to check it out.
Nada. Nothing to see. This was not the beach we were looking for.
The good – quiet, peaceful and calm with great sand. Palm trees line the beach and provide good shade. The view is beautiful. Free parking too.
The bad – about six feet into the clear water, there’s a band of seaweed that runs the length of the beach. As you can see in the picture above, it runs out to the pilings. So you have about 6 feet out of three feet deep water with nothing in it. Basically, it’s a boring beach. But no sooner did I get out of the water than here comes a Manatee, swimming through the seaweed.
So I took a walk over to the kayak salesmen up the way and asked them where I could find good snorkeling. Both of them (at the same time) said Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. We chilled for a few, watched a small beach wedding and then I grabbed the Queen and headed to Fort Zach.
Now THERE is a beach. It’s 7 bucks to park the whole day. Driving through the park, we could see the water from the car. It was turquoise. It looked warm. I wanted to get in it.
I was in a hurry, as you can see above. Poor Queenie was left in the dust.
We had found the beach we were looking for.
Now, I should mentioned that the shore line is quite rocky. Matter of fact, it’s rocky until about 10-15 out. I have beach feet and it hurt to walk on it.
Up a ways though, the sand is soft and sugary.
LOTS of goodies in the water too.
Out to explore….
In to show off some goodies….
and back out again.
The water clarity is spectacular. It’s like that clear water you expect to see while snorkeling in the Caribbean. While I snorkeled, Queenie made her way along the shore, finding goodies of her own.
Some Sea Glass, killer Coral and a White Spotted Marginella.
A sweet Dusky Cone.
I found this awesome Nerite shell with a splash of red.
Visbility once you got in was about 6-7 feet due to the water being so choppy. Once I made my way out to the rock pile, the clarity was ten times better and things got interesting.
As you can see, the snorkelers were out en masse. I was able to see Parrot Fish, Sergeant Major fish, Snook and HUGE Yellowtail Snapper.
I also found plenty of coral and a chunk of a Zebra Cowrie:
I ain’t gonna lie. When I saw that piece of cowrie in the sand, my stomach jumped thinking I was gonna dig out the full shell. Oh well. Cool, never the less.
The Queen and I had a wonderful time in Key West, sunning, snorkeling, swimming and shopping.
Now that we feel like we know the island a bit better, we’re looking forward to returning again soon.