At the end of every trip, I always get asked, “what was your favourite part?”
Not only could I easily answer this question on my last day in the Florida Keys, but I knew almost immediately after doing it, that it would be my answer by the end.
So, what was my absolute favourite activity in the Florida Keys?
Kayaking between Big Pine Key and No Name Key with Big Pine Kayak Adventures.
After driving down Key Deer Blvd, where miniature deer were literally frolicking around the road like some sort of magical fairytale land (more on that later), we arrived at Bogie Channel and the Big Pine Kayak Adventures launching point.
This is where we were briefed, gathered our gear and headed toward the water.
Once out on the open channel, the adventure began.
We paddled and floated, floated and paddled around the water for about thirty minutes, slowly making our way over to the other side.
We chatted, took photos, and simply admired the spacious view around us.
Having just arrived to the Keys that afternoon, it was the first real moment that I took a sigh of, “aah, I’m here,” while letting it all sink in.
I had high hopes of spotting a curious manatee as the bottom of my canoe skimmed the overgrown manatee grass, but there weren’t any manatee in the area that day.
We did, however, spot a friendly loggerhead turtle that circled around us for awhile, before disappearing below the surface.
As the clouds of a tropical storm started looming behind us, the sun began to put on it’s nightly performance in front of us.
The sun dipped behind a layer of cloud and the beams almost immediately burst upward across the sky, in a fiery lick, before fading to a soft orange. That orange melted into a deep pink as smaller puffs of light rosy clouds formed above, topped by a spongy marshmallow ceiling.
It wasn’t an intense, rich colour. It was a light, sorbet, cotton candy explosion in the sky.
I had heard rumors of the beauty of a Florida Keys sunset, but those descriptions will never compare to seeing one in person. Seeing my first Keys sunset from the seat of a kayak, with nothing but the sound of lapping water, as I bobbed alone in the open channel, was just the whipped cream topping on the key lime pie.
It wasn’t until several minutes later, after staring wide-eyed at the whole scene that I realized the rest of my group was way in the distance, on their way back to shore. I was so caught up in Mother Nature’s incredible performance that I had lost track of the time.
But, my grumbling stomach soon let me know that it was time to paddle back.
We docked our canoes and started making our way back to the van, when the sun decided to blow us away with an encore which seemingly set the entire atmosphere aflame.
Somehow, I managed to pull my attention from the sky for the final time, and we headed over to inconspicuously named No Name Pub for dinner.
As I was walking across the parking lot, I spotted four tiny deer looking at me from the other side of the small dirt road.
I approached them slowly, not wanting to scare them, but they didn’t even seem to flinch.
After an inner squeal of utter happiness, I skipped back over to the restaurant to order some dinner. We ate, we drank and we celebrated an amazing first day in the Florida Keys.
The evening was commemorated with our names and a pair of antlers (drawn by yours truly) on a dollar bill that was stapled to the wall.
The kayaking itself was awesome, but it was that combined with the rest of the evening that made it my favourite day of the trip, overall.
Here are some more favourite photos from the evening:
This trip was made possible by Key West & The Florida Keys. All views and opinions are my own.
What’s the best place you’ve kayaked?