After 10 days of rest and exploration, we sailed out this morning for a day of snorkeling at Sombrero Key Light. Built in 1859 of cast iron, in a skeletal octagonal style, it is the tallest light in the Florida Keys at 142’. Located just 5.5 miles from Marathon on the edge of the Florida Reef, the Sombrero Reef sanctuary is rated as the top snorkeling spot in the Keys. Mooring balls are provided to keep boats from anchoring and damaging the coral. We got there early and secured a ball close in, and were immediately amazed at the clarity of the water and the amount and variety of fish.
I was hesitant to dive in fearing I would hit the fish, but figured they would move and went for it. We spent the next three hours snorkeling this beautiful reef, with its many types of coral and species of fish. We just couldn’t get enough of this beauty, that Karen dubbed “God’s aquarium”.
We regret we didn’t have an underwater camera, but these vivid memories will stay with us for a long time. We didn’t see any sharks, but heard other boats yell they had spotted nurse sharks. We went looking for them but they had gone.
I fed the fish some barbeque chips which they must have liked, because they would make the water boil fighting for the snack.
Jelly fish started showing up after lunch, and although we didn’t get stung they impeded further enjoyment.
We then proceeded to the Gulf Stream (500 yards to the south) to do some fishing. The water changed from beautiful emerald green to Caribbean blue as the depth went from 20’ to 300’ in a very short distance. I caught a Blue fish right away, but didn’t get any more bites. We didn’t fish long as the dinghy (which we didn’t need to bring) was a hindrance.
Once back at Marathon and after docking, Karen began to clean the boat while I took a shower. While putting the hose away, she noticed an aquatic visitor had come up and started drinking water from a leak in our hose.
Karen began knocking on the boat and calling for me to come see our first close up view of a manatee. It stayed for quite a while and let Karen drizzle water into its mouth while it would spin slowly in what we took for appreciation. It then swam slowly away and we retired to the boat, ending another perfect day in paradise.