Heading south to Egmont Key, we crossed Tampa Bay going by the Sunshine Bridge. Although the bridge is a very different construction, it reminded us of the Mackinaw Bridge back home with its twin towers. The coast guard warned of fog in the area, which is exactly what we encountered the last mile of the trip to the island. Using radar, GPS, horn signals, and keeping a close watch made for an uneventful trip even in the fog.
Egmont Key is a state park only accessible by boat with an area to anchor for visiting pleasure craft. The anchorage is not well protected, but usable when the weather conditions are right. The first night was a little rolly, but worth it to be able to explore the island. In times past, a thriving community operated on the island with over 70 buildings built from 1898 to 1916. All the buildings, except for the concrete bunkers and gun batteries of Fort Dade from the Spanish American, war are gone. The red brick and concrete streets and walkways, are still there. You can see where all the houses, school, fire station, and stables were located. The bunkers are on the Gulf side and look out over the ocean. We explored the bunkers and learned about some of the construction. One of the bunkers even had a canon that would drop down out of site for reloading.
The light house on the south end of the island is still active. Its light sweeps the anchorage every 15 seconds.
We saw many Gopher Tortoises on the National Wildlife Refuge Island. They dig large tunnels in the ground for their homes. A ferry makes day trips to the island for “non-boaters” to explore the area.
While anchored at Egmont Key, Scott from Last Call dove and cleaned the bottom of our boat. We were so thankful he could do that for us.
Gopher Turtles on Egmont Key
Flowers on Egmont Key
Fort Dade Bunkers
Sun Rise, Sun Set,…… on Egmont Key