Primitive Paradise

Everglades / Florida’s West Coast

We left Boot Key Harbor in Marathon on a Tuesday morning. The trip across Florida Bay,heading north, was pleasant. After eight hours we made our approach near the mouth of Little Shark River. We could see several boats already anchored inside.

We really dislike anchoring in there. The mosquitoes will skin your hide, suck all of your blood, and carry your carcas away for the alligators to eat later. The winds were light so we decided to simply drop the hook out in the Gulf, just a mile or so offshore. Within thirty minutes, the winds picked up. They clocked around out of the southwest at fifteen to twenty. It got uncomfortable.

While we dithered around deciding what to do, we watch no fewer than five more cruising vessels enter the river. It would be crowded for sure. After consulting the charts, I decided to pull anchor and investigate an area known as Ponce De Leon Bay, just to the north of Little Shark River.


If you look closely, you’ll see a multitude of shoals. From the flybridge, I could see humps and bumps and sandbars all over the place, but our Garmin chartplotter was accurate enough to get us inside safely. We managed to go far enough in to gain shelter from the wind. Once we got settled, we looked around at the primitive beauty of the place. It was awesome, quiet, peaceful . . . perfect.

Loggerheads popped up all over the place like whack-a-moles:


Unbelievably, the bugs weren’t bad. We had that breeze going but the water was calm. We sat and watched the
sun set over the Gulf:


We spent a lovely evening, then woke in time for an Everglades sunrise:


The anchorage is open to the West, so be warned, but one could hide from winds from just about any other direction. I saw no less than eight feet of water going in on the high tide. I saw as little as six feet coming out on the low tide.

Note: don’t anchor to the wind. The current perpetually runs out in these parts. The Everglades is always running towards the sea. It’s strong, but not nearly as bad as in the Keys. The water is dark, stained with tannin and running over a mud bottom. The attraction? Some of us enjoy taking the path less traveled. Everglades wildlife is almost prehistoric. Gators, birds, huge tarpon, and turtles are guaranteed to entertain. It’s one of those places that can make you feel as if your the last people on Earth.

6 thoughts on “Primitive Paradise

  1. Wayne Stinnett

    I love that whole area from Cape Sable to Ten Thousand Islands. I’ve canoed and camped there quite a few times. You’re right, Ed. It’s like going back to a primordial era.


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