27 October 2013

A Trip to Indian Key

Indian Key is a small key about a half mile off US 1 (aka The Overseas Highway) in the Middle Keys. 150 years ago it was booming town that was the capital of Monroe County which is the FL Keys.  The charter for Dade County was signed there.  It is not much bigger then 2 or 3 city blocks but it was very busy and its main business was salvage operations on the ships that wrecked on the reefs along that part of the FL coastline!
Preparing to unload the kayaks - Indian Key is in the background 
Today it is uninhabited and is a State Park accessible only by boat.  It is a nice paddle out and BJ and I have been there several times and wanted to go back.  

We dropped the kayaks in the water at MM 77.5  and parked Oscar nearby and headed out.  Waters were calm and sun was bright and we had packed a lunch! What a great day to be on the water.

When we reached Indian Key we decided to paddle around the key before landing. Much of shore line, especially ocean side is very rocky and rough.
The rocky ocean side shoreline behind BJ 

There was no fresh water on Indian Key, then or now! Today you bring your own water but it the day they had elaborate systems for catching and collecting rain water.  Most buildings had cisterns underneath them and there are still remnants visible where the buildings stood. They also had above ground cisterns for storing water and some of them are still there!  

One of the cisterns used to store rain water!

The streets are still there and the state has added some historical markers as well as the original street names to help you get a feel for what this busy town was like in the early 1800's!

The Native Americans were not too happy with the settlement and attacked it several times. The 1840 attack was particularly devastating and marked the end of Indian Key as a community. Many of the survivors moved their business to Key West and several years later the US Navy took over Indian Key as a supply depot because it had good deep water docks of which no trace remains today.

Deep water docks use to extend seaward from here!

We walked around the key enjoying the weather and sights and I found a geocache I was looking for, the only one on the Key!  And we found a nice shaded spot for lunch.

A geocache found!

This was the town Square back in the day!

We decided to do some snorkeling on the way back but it was a little too shallow and only the grass beds to see so we gave up after a short while on that!

A Jelly checks us out while we were snorkeling on the way back!
All-in-all another great day in the Keys!  We are enjoying our stay in the Upper Keys vs the Lower Keys where we normally stay at the Navy base.

Always at home, no matter where we are!!