Day 9 – Egmont Key & Passage Key
On Sunday, June 4th, we were met in Sarasota by my aunt and uncle (the one’s who own the house we were staying in). They had a couple different places lined up to take us that are only accessible by boat. This promised to be very exciting! We packed up a cooler, grabbed the beach bag, and headed to the dock.
The weather wasn’t looking very promising. It was raining at the dock and the radar map showed storms moving all through the state all day long. The radar looked fine in the direction we were going, though. So we took our chances at the first break in the radar we saw and punched it out to sea, dodging pop-up thunderstorms all around us until we were in the clear.
Our first stop was Passage Key National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge, established in 1905, was one of the first of it’s kind. Passage Key is a 30-acre meandering barrier island that was once a mangrove island with a fresh water lake, but a hurricane in 1920 destroyed most of the island. This wildlife refuge hosts the largest royal tern and sandwich tern colonies in the state of Florida. Public use of the island itself is prohibited, but you can drop anchor off it’s shore and walk along it’s shallow perimeter. Just be sure not to venture onto the island or harass it’s feathered residents.
After admiring Passage Key for a bit, finding some awesome shells, and spotting a couple of starfish, we pulled up the anchor and headed on over to Egmont Key State Park.
Like Passage Key, Egmont Key is a wildlife refuge that is only accessible by private boat (although there is a ferry that runs from Fort DeSoto in Tampa Bay to Egmont Key). Egmont is a great place for snorkeling, shelling, and general beach wandering. However, the park does note on their website that due to the sensitive nature of the island, pets are not allowed on any portion of Egmont Key. So keep that in mind if you are traveling with fur-babies.
In route back to the dock, we happened upon a pod of dolphins. We stopped to watch them and one swam right under our boat! Check it out in the video below, so cool!
Once we got back to the house, we were all pretty wiped out. We had a quick dinner and started packing up to head home the next day. We had planned more for our trip, but a family emergency called us back home a bit early. We headed for bed. We had to get up early, we had a very long drive back to Tennessee ahead of us.
Totals for Day 9
?? miles (Since we were on the boat I didn’t keep track of mileage)
About 10-12 dolphins
2 remote islands
2 state parks/wildlife refuges