|Bahia Honda or Deep Bay has a famous history here in the Keys as this is the deepest natural channel between the Gulf and the Atlantic in the Keys.|
|We find something to do on very Breezy Days as the breeze keeps the No- See-Ums away.|
|The Atlantic side Beaches here won #1 acclaim a few years back, since it is a state Park they maintain their natural beauty and protect the seagrass/seaweed that washes up on shore.|
|Catbirds enjoy it.|
|We ventured down about 100 feet of this trail till we smelled a skunk and decided that was far enough!|
|vVew from the old bridge of Bahia Honda|
|We often see 3-5 sailboats anchored here as we trav el up or down Hwy 1 which is the bridge in the background.|
|Here you can see the Bay and then the Atlantic side just a short walk on the other side.|
|Small Keys dot the area on both sides of the bay|
|A Hurricane destroyed the old bridge, Not sure if nature or Man removed the section behind me that allows Sailboats in from the Atlantic side.|
|Not sure which one was the best.|
Bahia Honda http://www.floridastateparks.org/bahiahonda/ is just about 18 miles from Marathon, it was a windy day so we thought we would spend it off the boat at the State Park to take advantage of the wind to avoid the no-see-ums. The Bay was famous back in the day due to the great Tarpon fishing here, I guess they used the deep channel as they migrated between the Gulf and the Atlantic. The Bay provides a very protected swimming and snorkeling area between the Old and the new bridge. The Old bridge was destroyed by a Hurricane but most of it remains as a tribute to the History of the Keys. One section was removed that allows sailboats to take advantage of anchoring overnight here. The Anchorage gets everything from a 2 to a 4 star review on Active Captain. I am sure some of that is due to the Weather/winds that each may have experienced while here, but the other comes from the current that can flow pretty fast through the channel. Those boats with shallow draft can get closer to shore and limit the effect of the current while deeper draft boats find themselves to close to the effects of the current at peak tide times. There are a couple of Mooring Balls here owned by NOAA. The harbor Master said she thinks that you can pick one of these up if it is not being used for free but warned that if a NOAA vessel came in you would have to depart the mooring.
The Beaches have a natural beauty, since it is a Florida State Park they do not remove the sea grass or seaweed that washes up on shore. The Atlantic side beaches did win #! beach in the US a few years back, I wondered about that? We attempted the Silver Palm Trail but the smell of a skunk sent us right back where we came from. Gotta be careful about walking down any narrow trail in Florida! We had a picnic on the beach then drove over the short distance to check out the Bay. The Bay is really the best part.Waters calm enough to enjoy swimming and snorkeling. A short hike from the Bay is a trail up to the Old Bridge: "The view is spectacular; from the top of the bridge you can see the entire island. You have a bird’s-eye view of the water below. You may see large rays or fish jumping. If the water is clear, you can see fish and sea turtles swimming beneath the surface."
There is a small museum where you can learn a bit about the History: http://www.floridastateparks.org/history/parkhistory.cfm?parkid=143 I think that is what made this a special place for me seeing how incredible it must have been here before unnatural changes occurred.
One of the funny reviews on Active Captain was a sailor who complained that those who built the new bridge along Hwy 1 through here must have been completely negligent since it is a low bridge across the deepest channel in the Keys. Hum, I think they did that on purpose. Why would they allow large vessels to plow through these waters?