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Old 09/20/2015, 12:44 AM   #76
acropora213
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Thank you so much for this awesome, fun, informative thread.
I'm just tagging along.
Looks like I have a new spot to visit on my next drive!

I'm in Tampa Bay, and miss my annual keys trips.
I think we may before this "season" starts.

What's a cost effective bungalow or motel for a night by this Bahia Honda ?


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Old 09/20/2015, 07:03 AM   #77
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Anyone see any reason not to purchase one of these to use when we are down there? http://www.hobiecat.com/mirage/mirage-tandem-island/

Very excited as we've decided to leave Monday instead of later in the week. Thanks everyone for your input it will make this trip even better than our first.

Ron thank you for sharing those pics of the Dry Tortugas that is now at the top of our list.
The trimaran looks like fun. And it works well as an alternative activity. That is, when there is no wind it's the best time to snorkel and sailing is pointless. When it is windy it's the best time to sail and snorkeling is crappy because visibility is a problem!

And if you go to the Dry Tortugas, be prepared to relax on a long boat ride each way. And I hope you get the kind of really calm water we had!

I'm looking forward to hearing about your trip.

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Originally Posted by acropora213 View Post
Thank you so much for this awesome, fun, informative thread.
I'm just tagging along.
Looks like I have a new spot to visit on my next drive!

I'm in Tampa Bay, and miss my annual keys trips.
I think we may before this "season" starts.

What's a cost effective bungalow or motel for a night by this Bahia Honda ?
There are a variety of places to stay in the area. We like Marathon because it's close and there are all the amenities, restaurants, grocery stores, hardware stores, dive shops, other sites to visit. But there are cool places elsewhere. We stayed at a B&B on Big Pine Key called the Binnacle. It has serious pluses and minuses. They have a very... cute... quaint... unusual... room called the 'crow's nest' which we liked. But if it's hot outside, the A/C in that room isn't close to good enough. But it has a half inside, half outside shower stall that looks out over the beach and ocean! But their beach seems to always have a ton of seaweed in the water (like right from shore out 50 feet into the water).

If you are looking for inexpensive places to stay, my recommendations would be:
Blackfin Resort & Marina
Kingsail
Sea Dell

They are all about the same price (inexpensive as prices in the Keys go). And you need to pay attention to the time of year (or ask the motel). If it's lobster season, power boat race week, mini lobster season, or some other big event, prices go up. They also go up late Fall thru early Spring which is the snowbird season. But late Spring and all of the Fall are our favorite times because the water is warm enough, the weather is good (less afternoon thunderstorms and less risk of hurricanes) and less people!

All 3 motels are mom & pop type places, not chains like Holiday Inn. I think all 3 have their own websites so you can see them in photos. They are all a bit 'homey' meaning the rooms are clean and comfortable, but the amenities may be a bit older. They all have nice pools. Blackfin and Kingsail have docks for boats, I think only Blackfin has a boat ramp on the property and is the only one with a tiny 'beach' and a swimming area. We stay at the Blackfin and use an efficiency. They are a bit away from the other rooms, quieter, and closer to the swimming area and cost a bit more. We always swim/snorkel out the 100 yards to the small island just out from the mouth of the marina. It's not spectacular snorkeling, but if you look around you can see lobsters, juvenile tropical fish, feather dusters, anemones and sponges. We make that our first 'in the water' event of our visit to see how warm the water is so we know how to suit up for the next days more serious (much longer) snorkel.

If you have any questions, please ask. My wife and I love snorkeling the shallows near shore and we'd like to make your experience as much fun as possible, so I'm happy to offer any advise I can. Between her photos and my collecting, we always have fun. And if the weather is bad (windy) and snorkeling visibility is bad, there are lots of other sites to see.

Here is a marked up Google Earth map of the Blackfin Resort and the little snorkel island:




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Old 09/20/2015, 09:21 AM   #78
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Nice !! That's perfect !

Thanks for all the insight. Just what the doctor ordered.
I've dove a lot of the middle keys, but my lady is starting to get into my hobbies
Much more and she's willing to get her feet wet, so to speak :0)

Which is great, as now I can I least snorkel the shallows with her and blow her
minds experiences until she's ready for a bit of diving.

Today is my big 40, betcha can't guess where I was waking right now :0)


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Old 09/20/2015, 01:28 PM   #79
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Congrats on the big 40 and on getting your... girlfriend, significant other, wife... whatever, into the water.

I love snorkeling with my wife. She has great eyes and sees more cool stuff than I do. In fact, I love snorkeling and I think she loves it even more than I do! But the aquariums are my hobby, she just enjoys looking. Her hobby is the yard/garden/lanai. Fifteen years ago our yard was 99% grass, not it's 75-80% gardens and trees and only 20-25% grass.

This is 15 years ago, just after I laid the patio.





Basically the same shot taken just inside the line of Washingtonia Palm trees in the first pic.




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Old 09/20/2015, 05:25 PM   #80
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Lordy that's gorgeous. I'm sure you have some nice finds in the shallows around your house too!

Bout an hour south of Venice ?

I've taken the catamaran trip from there down to key west.


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Old 09/21/2015, 06:35 AM   #81
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My wife says "Thanks." She started with some plants and then we did some serious butterfly gardening. Now we have butterflies buzzing around like this was O'Hare Airport at rush hour! Then it was bromeliads, and then tillandsias (air plants) and now it's orchids.

And I sell corals to club members and on Craigslist, she gives away cuttings as much as she can or else they get thrown away! We have about 10 or 12 volunteer Bismark Palm trees (new starts that are just 8"-12" tall) that cost good money at the nursery. And lots of bromeliad pups (she has between 30 and 40 different species growing in the yard). And cactus cuttings, and... well, you get the idea.

If you ever want to drive down and take home a load of plants, just let me know! And yes, we are about an hour south of Venice, just west of Fort Myers. And I'm serious about giving away plants!




Here are 3 freshly hatched Zebra Longwing butterflies. They like shady areas and last year was the first time in 15 years we had any in our yard. Now we see them fairly regularly along with 6 to 8 other species.



And this is not an ordinary pineapple. It's about 4/5ths the size of a dole, more red outside, almost white inside and just enough more tart than a 'normal' pineapple to make it interestingly different.




OK, back to discussion of the Keys (sorry about the side track).


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Old 09/21/2015, 08:32 AM   #82
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What's a cost effective bungalow or motel for a night by this Bahia Honda ?
Or you can throw up a tent in Bahia Honda for only $49

Right now is the slow season so this will be the cheapest for motel/hotels/vacation rentals. It gets pricey from the end of October for the festivals and throughout the winter. And of course during the summer as well.


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Old 09/21/2015, 08:54 PM   #83
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Bahia Honda is pretty much booked for at least the next year you'd be very lucky to get a site.


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Old 09/22/2015, 08:05 AM   #84
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Bahia Honda is pretty much booked for at least the next year you'd be very lucky to get a site.
I got one on the water, for next week. Tent only though.
Have to be flexible with the schedule as well and try to catch a cancellation.


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Old 09/22/2015, 03:12 PM   #85
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Amazing photos and thanks to all that posts these amazing creatures.. Our oceans are beautiful...


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Old 09/22/2015, 05:57 PM   #86
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I got one on the water, for next week. Tent only though.
Have to be flexible with the schedule as well and try to catch a cancellation.
Must be nice I checked a month ago and could only find a few days available for about a year out.


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Old 09/26/2015, 03:33 PM   #87
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Ron, I have a place in the keys that badly needs some of the stuff your wife is growing. Particularly the Bismarck has been on my wish list. How can I reach you. Can you PM me?


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Old 09/28/2015, 09:55 AM   #88
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You might want to try PM'ing him on our local reef clubs website: www.swfmas.com/forum


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Old 09/29/2015, 01:14 PM   #89
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Went to Bahia Honda on Sunday just for one night. Unfortunately it was very murky and a storm hit us like at 7:30pm. It was definitely an event though and had fun with my friends before I get married this upcoming weekend.
The tent site I reserved was great! Definitely a must in the future, just need to plan it for a better time in the year. Don't think the future wife would like being in a tent during a storm.


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Old 10/01/2015, 05:48 AM   #90
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Ron, I have a place in the keys that badly needs some of the stuff your wife is growing. Particularly the Bismarck has been on my wish list. How can I reach you. Can you PM me?
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You might want to try PM'ing him on our local reef clubs website: www.swfmas.com/forum
A) I was at Daytona Speedway all last week doing a photo shoot of the SCCA National Sports Car Championships. I'm back home and just getting caught up with everything. I should be around for the next few weeks.

B) I'm on probation here, mods just won't cut me a break as it's been 2 years! So I can't PM or access you profile info.

C) As icy1155 said, go to SWFMAS.com, register and then you can PM me or just start a thread, Ron Reefman (same as here).

We have lots of plants, wife has potted a few Bismark Palms and we have more volunteers we can try potting. I'll be heading down to the Keys early the first week in November. We could meet then?

I'm a Miata fan, but the Acura in 3rd is a friend of mine from Ohio and he ended up winning the race on the last lap!




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Old 10/01/2015, 06:02 AM   #91
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G Sanab922, glad to hear you had a good time with friends at Bahia Honda. We've never camped there, but we are considering camping for a night at the Dry Tortugas before the rainy season starts up next May/June. We want to go when there is a new moon so we have as dark a sky as we can get. That would make for better viewing of the Milky Way stretched out across the entire sky.

And congratulations on getting married! I'm a big fan of marriage... I've done it 3 times! But then I'm my wife's 3rd husband as well. We met in 2000, dated for 4 years and have been married for over 10. They say the 3rd time is the charm, we've been together for 15 years in total now and we still haven't had a single argument. Not bad for 2 people who have 4 divorces between them! My advise is, "Don't sweat the small stuff, be very willing to compromise on the big stuff and let her know you love her EVERYDAY!" Best of luck to both of you!


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Old 10/01/2015, 11:56 PM   #92
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G Sanab922, glad to hear you had a good time with friends at Bahia Honda. We've never camped there, but we are considering camping for a night at the Dry Tortugas before the rainy season starts up next May/June. We want to go when there is a new moon so we have as dark a sky as we can get. That would make for better viewing of the Milky Way stretched out across the entire sky.

And congratulations on getting married! I'm a big fan of marriage... I've done it 3 times! But then I'm my wife's 3rd husband as well. We met in 2000, dated for 4 years and have been married for over 10. They say the 3rd time is the charm, we've been together for 15 years in total now and we still haven't had a single argument. Not bad for 2 people who have 4 divorces between them! My advise is, "Don't sweat the small stuff, be very willing to compromise on the big stuff and let her know you love her EVERYDAY!" Best of luck to both of you!
Dry Tortugas during a new moon is very nice. Definitely get some great shots of the milky way. Just be careful, if you sleep on the fort, there is a croc that lives there lol.. Would definitely love to see those pics.

Thanks Ron and i appreciate the advice. Like they say, "Happy Wife, Happy Life". For sure alot of compromises, when i get my fish room she can get her room full of shoes


Bahia Honda sunrise time lapse, short and sweet. This was after the storm and another one was coming in.

https://youtu.be/Ayzv23y42WQ


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Old 10/11/2015, 06:56 AM   #93
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Heading to the Keys for a few days of snorkeling in just 3 weeks and counting! I can't wait!


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Old 11/01/2015, 05:20 AM   #94
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Heading to the Keys on Monday. It looks like it's going to be a bit more windy than I would like, but we'll play do our best to work around the wind and possible visibility issues.

Hoping to meet up with AWL (post #87) on Tuesday.

We'll post some pics and thoughts while we are there.


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Old 11/01/2015, 05:09 PM   #95
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Likewise, I'll be there.


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Old 11/01/2015, 05:38 PM   #96
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Anyone snorkel at fort zachary taylor? I will be taking a cruise into key west this week and am thinking about trying some snorkeling there


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Old 11/02/2015, 05:24 AM   #97
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Anyone snorkel at fort zachary taylor? I will be taking a cruise into key west this week and am thinking about trying some snorkeling there
When we were there the water was incredibly clear, but the wind was very calm. It's well worth doing. Somewhere online we found a map of coral heads around the fort. But even if you just do the old coal dock pilings, it's good... and right off the beach!

We were there for the day and snorkeling was our main objective. But the fort is so cool, I want to go back and have more time (hard to do as you have to live by the charter boat schedule).

So we plan to do an over night camping trip next Spring (as close to a new moon as we can get). The other advantage (if we get a clear night) is a chance to see the Milky Way from as far south in the US as we can get. Being 70+ miles from the nearest lights is a real help for star gazing as well! And doing it early in the spring means getting to see some constellations to the south that we don't normally get to see in the US.


Pics from that trip:














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Old 11/02/2015, 07:26 PM   #98
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I believe where you went is called dry tortugas? That is about 40 miles out and need a boat to get to correct? Would love to go there as I heard that is the spot to go, but a 2.5 hour trip each way is too much for what my time permits

I was looking at fort zachary taylor which is right off of the cruise pier


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Old 11/03/2015, 05:50 AM   #99
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My bad, I was in a rush. My eyes saw Fort and my brain went Dry Tortugas (Fort Jefferson). Sorry.

We arrived in the Keys yesterday (Fri afternoon) and the wind wasn't too bad. We have our fingers crossed for Tues and Wed.


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Old 11/03/2015, 10:02 AM   #100
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The wind has been whipping up over here. Hopefully it gets better but I doubt it, this time of year is when it gets windy.


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