Shark River Anchorage was very secluded and completely off the grid. There is not even a hint of cell or data coverage in that area. The anchorage was a large area that we shared with three or four boats. The tide in that area was almost 4’ which resulted in a lot of mucky, muddy land at low tide. You might wonder, what’s a body to do when there’s absolutely no modern technology available? We read a lot, Teresa did some journaling, grill, and bake some. It’s amazing what you can come up with when left to your own imagination.
On the way into the anchorage, we had a dolphin escort by a mother and child dolphin. That was really great to see the two of them swimming on our bow wave. The mother had a tear on her dorsal fin which must have been hit by a boat.
We took the dinghy and explored up the river finding lots of mangrove islands and branches. Due to all the mangroves and the way they grow with their spiny roots growing into the water, there is no place to bring the dinghy to shore or walk on land. It would be very easy to get lost in this area called 10,000 island, but the real number is much higher. Our trail was marked with bread crumbs on the GPS making it possible to get back to Sanctuary. We spent three nights here waiting for a good travel day to move on to the Keys. It was nice to chill and not have any schedule. We did see a large military jet fly over which was quite the contrast to all the mangrove swamps.
The stars were amazing, because it was really dark. Without a moon or any city lights, it really so dark you could hardly see your hand in front of your face. So very calm, still, almost an eerie feeling being in complete silence other than occasional birds and hoot owls.
The next stop was Little Pine Key. The water was so clear we could stand on the bow and actually see our anchor and check its location. With the water being so crystal clear, you get an unrealistic notion that the bottom is closer than it actually is. We took the dinghy around the bay seeing and lots of different plants and sea life growing on the bottom.
We noticed a blimp that seemed to always be flying to the south of the anchorage. Research informed us that it was a Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS)—part of an Air Force program keeping watch on air and sea traffic from the Caribbean Sea to Tampa Bay. It is used to help monitor drug trafficking. The blimp is called “Fat Albert” and floats at 10,000 up to 15,000 feet above Cudjoe Key.
We stayed at Little Pine Key until the dock we reserved in Marathon was available. It was a short trip under the Seven Mile Bridge into Boot Key Harbor to Sombrero Dockside Marina, which is in Marathon. On the way we saw dolphins, a huge Sea Turtle, and of course lots of crab pots. They are sprinkled everywhere in this area and do not have a pattern of being in a line like we have seen before. There are definite hazards so you have to be on constant watch for them. Getting a line from a crab pot caught in your propeller could cause big-time problems.
Dolphin Escort and Baby Dolphin
Sun set at Little Pine Key was amazing…
Crab Pots every where