Kayaking Key Largo, FL – Rattlesnake Key – Part 1

launch
Launching out from Garden Cove

Key Largo is made out of fossilized coral reef. This makes it one of the best kayaking, fishing, and snorkeling locations on Earth. Just about anywhere you launch out from is going to offer something special. Rattlesnake Key is where I decided to go exploring today.

There are some creeks and channels around this mangrove island. And the surprising boom of echos ring out from the many limestone rock formations hidden in the trees, like tiny Mayan amphitheaters swallowed by the jungle.

Upper Sound Point juts out from Rattle Snake Key at the northeast break. It’s a tiny beach. Tranquil. Surrounded by diffracting waves and competing tides.

Much of the area around Rattlesnake Key consists of marked “motor free zones,” in John Pennekamp State Park. Welcome to the famous Sea Grass Flats of Key Largo, Florida.

You can’t run an engine through the flats. Not just for the sake of the sea-grass, manatees, sea turtles, or a speeding ticket, but the simple fact that coral rock has been smashing and wrecking ships for centuries, especially throughout the deceptive shallows between Keys in the island chain.

En Español, the Keys are called Cayos. Key Largo is called Cayo Largo or (Long Key), because it’s the longest island in the Florida Keys. Just offshore there are many Bights (a bay within a bay), Bays (protected bodies leading to open water), Channels (canals), Creeks (natural currents), Keys (islands), Sandbars (natural sandpiles), Shoals (sandy underwater ridge), Points (coastal feature), Coral Heads (fossilized reef), and much more to explore.

Kayaking over “the flats,” aka the shallow water sea-grass meadows, and hydroplaning just inches over sea-grass.

But the terrain can shift rather quickly to sharp edged coral rock limestone, capable of damaging any hull or craft depending on the sea conditions.

Rattlesnake Key, where rocky shores abound at Sound Point, the terrain forms the vicious fangs of a potentially deadly bite into your sea-craft. So watch out!

Seagrass and mangrove trees attract all kinds of fish from big to microscopic. All you have to do is keep your eyes open and you will notice them rushing past, jumping out of the water, and feeding depending on the time of day and year.

People have been fishing, floating, sailing, paddling, and partying over here for thousands of years. You can hear their souls rolling in the wind in a ghostly rush over the Gulf Stream even today.