2014 / Camping / Kayaking / Nature / Travel / Winter

Island Life – Camping on Jewel Key

J-

IMG_2831Leigh and I are definitely feeling settled into our new home on Chokoloskee Island; we are confident at work, our daily routines are dialed, and the trailer is so set up. We got out for an adventure this weekend and came back feeling even more at home. From our RV park’s marina we pushed off our kayaks straight into Everglades National Park’s Ten Thousand Islands. Our backyard is literally a paddler’s paradise and one of the largest National Parks in the country, with seemingly endless backcountry. We decided for our first overnight outing we would stay close to home, and paddled about 5 miles out to Jewel Key on the edge of the islands. We camped on an amazing strip of beach like a ridge separating the open Gulf on one side and the inner bay on the other. The trip there and back was surreal; I caught a few fish, we saw some awesome birds, the weather was perfect. What more can you ask for?

L-

It really was one of those weekends that couldn’t have gone any smoother, from start to finish. From the pack up the day before, to the early morning start, complete with Cuban sandwiches for the first day’s lunch, all the way through to the take out and de-rigging. The winds and tides were with us as we hopscotched through the islands, following the route we guide for clients so Jon could help me to cement it in my mind. We fished, bird-watched, and dallied out way out to the key, and finally hit land around 1:30pm, precisely when the tides were turning.IMG_1732

It really was one of those weekends that couldn’t have gone any smoother, from start to finish. From the pack up the day before, to the early morning start, complete with Cuban sandwiches for the first day’s lunch, all the way through to the take out and de-rigging. The winds and tides were with us as we hopscotched through the islands, following the route we guide for clients so Jon could help me to cement it in my mind. We fished, bird-watched, and dallied out way out to the key, and finally hit land around 1:30pm, precisely when the tides were turning.

IMG_2840

Jon’s awesome sheepshead

We had a lazy afternoon, complete with rum and pineapple juice, and were just getting camp set up when a familiar face paddled in. Our friend Charlie, a ranger with Everglades NP, had decided to join us, and had set up a camp a little ways down the beach. We packed up our gear, and took off for his spot. It was a wild ride, one that got a bit intense as the wind and waves crashed over the edges of Jon’s weighed down boat, and had him bailing between paddling for a little ways. Once we got settled again, it was a relaxing evening around the campfire, and we were joined by two fishermen from Georgia, as we enjoyed the peaceful night.

We awoke to a beautiful sunrise, and had a slow morning around camp as we waited for the tide to turn in our favor. We launched onto a bay of glass, and paddled across the calm expanse as dolphins fished ahead of us and sea turtles and stingrays passed underneath our boats. It was a heavenly afternoon, complete with a few nice catches by Jon, and we got off the water with enough daylight left to completely clean up from the trip. My kind of weekend adventure for sure. I think Jon and I can safely say we’ve found a wonderland to explore this winter, and we couldn’t be more up to the challenge.

IMG_2853

He also caught a sea trout

IMG_2815

My favorite spot, with beach both in front of and behind my tent.

IMG_2824 IMG_1728

Sunrise from inside our tent

Sunrise from inside our tent

Sunset on the beach

Sunset on the beach

IMG_2784 IMG_2781 IMG_2767

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Island Life – Camping on Jewel Key

  1. Such beautiful photos and really glad you are happy in your winter home! Very excited to see you both. Do you know if you’ll have Christmas Day off, so you can join us at the condo for dinner? Love you both….Aunts Lu and El

Drop us a line

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s