Thursday, October 9, 2008

Big Pine Key/Newfound Harbor 10/08/08

I had been glancing at this litte area through google earth for quite some time: Newfound Harbor - a sheltered shallow bay on the atlantic side of Big Pine Key. Besides being sheltered from the prevailing East winds it is home to the shallowest patch reef in the US with one head of coral a 1/4 mile around in 15-20' of water...pretty cool looking place...its just 3 hours away so i just never got the motivation to head down there.

My sister is visiting from back home in Geneve and so the perfect opportunity had presented we went at 4am from Miramar down to Big Pine. We got there a bit early and passed out for a short time in the truck, we ended up launching a little after 8am from Long Beach Drive. The launch is just a little hole carved out of the mangrove rimmed shoreline, we passed it twice.
It was a beautiful day with winds less than 10 knots and no rain in site, the water was crystal clear and filled with bait and fish. We poked around the inside of the bay all the way down to Big Munson Island (owned by the boy scouts) and went creekin' around the interior, had lunch on a sandy bank and paddled back along the Atlantic side of the islands. I believe we travelled about 12 miles through the day although it really didn't feel like it.

The inside of the bay is a shark nursery and all throughout the day we would see small fins breaking the surface on the shallow flats. We caught the usual variety of fish: Mangrove Snapper, Grunts, Barracudas, and bonefish, they ellude me still.

On the way back out of the keys we stopped at Ohio Channel and the bridge near Tom's Harbor Keys, i forget what its called...anyway we limited out on snapper and i caught a Cero Mackerel. We stuffed our faces at the cracker barrel and it was glorious...i passed at out around 11pm and slept like a wee baby...definately will be returning there with snorkel gear and motivation won't be a problem next time.

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