Sometimes going with the flow of life is much easier said than done. The concept of ebb and flow has been on my mind for some time now. We have so much to learn from Mother Nature, but in order to draw on this innate wisdom we must reconnect!! I think it is important for everyone to get back to their roots and find their own rhythm within nature. This is not something that happens overnight, it is a process that I see no end to. So far the biggest #win for me in my journey to reconnect has been my ability to wake up without an alarm for the past year or so. I wake with the sun, try and stop me!
Marathon, Florida in November-
The small, sunny town of Marathon in the Florida Keys is just starting to shake off the lethargy of the slow season. The snowbirds have arrived, signaling colder weather up north. The bustle of Thanksgiving break is just an opportunity for the hardworking locals to gear up for the peak of the busy season, still ahead. The scorching hot summer fades lazily into a breezy, tropical autumn. Kiteboarders are the winners of this season, staying stoked on the #windfordays. Paddlers thank the universe for the shelter of the mangroves, where they can hide from the wind. The charter fishing and snorkeling boat crews commiserate on workdays lost to the dreaded small craft advisory. Small craft advisories are not uncommon in November and can keep many of our dive, snorkel and fishing boats and crews landlocked.
Tapping into the ebb and flow of nature is a necessity for many island dwellers. Some days the weather can be funky and it can end up being a really great day on the water and then other days it is just better to stay on land! I have learned to take the cancelled days as a blessing from nature and a sign that I need to rest, or that there is something else in my life that needs attention. Luckily, I live in paradise and we have plenty enough gorgeous days to keep me as busy as I desire to be!
Florida Keys Tides
In the beginning of November, we were still experiencing the flood tides associated with south Florida’s seasonal King Tides. These seasonal flood tides were only exaggerated by the occurrence of two super moons in a row, one in October and one on November 14th. To learn more about the super moons and their effect on the tide- click here. You can see my “walking on water” picture(to the right) taken in early November. The tides flooded up and over the top of docks and into the lawns of many waterfront homes twice a day for about a month or so.
For bigger critters, flood tides allow access to shallow waters that they may not fit into at other times of the year, when there is just less space on the flats. Check out this hefty nurse shark we spotted taking advantage of the extra space on the flats (right). We had a new moon at the end of November and by that time the tides had subsided and low tide was starting to look like low tide again.
Florida Keys Weather
November and December are the windiest and driest months of the year for the Florida Keys. This provides much needed relief from the heat and humidity of the late summer. Air temperatures hover between low 70’s at night to mid-80’s during the day. The water temperature felt a little cooler than average this year and has stayed very refreshing- between 74 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit throughout November.
This weather may have northerners drooling, as they bundle up and brace themselves for winter but, for us, its just another day in paradise. Worries about “pop up” thunderstorms (characteristic of Florida Keys summers) subside and are replaced with concerns about high winds and rough conditions on the water. Most days in November , you can find me at Curry Hammock State Park running our Florida Keys Sampler and Mangrove Lazy River Tours. Curry Hammocks position on the south side of Marathon makes it a perfect place paddle/explore and avoid the nor’easter winds that blow thru the Keys between early fall and late spring. Check out (left) all the fun we had exploring the mangroves in November!
Florida Keys Wildlife
There is no let up of wildlife activity in November! We have been seeing TONS of fish activity in the shallows! The mullet and other bait fish have been running the perimeter of the Mangroves, always leaving behind dust trails, as they move thru in large schools, disturbing the bottom as they go. It is pretty common to find yourself in the middle of a flats feeding frenzy that makes you appreciate the fact that, from the safety of your kayak, you are not a part of that food chain!
We saw Portuguese man of war blowing in to the nearshore waters of the Keys in early November. This year has been a little light on the jellies in my humble opinion, but there is plenty more time for the winds to blow them in and prove me wrong! To learn more about this fascinating organism- click here! I have noted lots of baby spotted eagle rays schooling around in the mangroves and some bigger stingrays cruising Florida Keys mangrove islands looking for a snack. For the birders, we are still seeing lots of hawks, especially the tiny kestrel! Other birds spotted in November include- bald eagles, kingfishers, palm warblers and much more. I also have been spotting many yellow crested night herons(pictured right) tucked away into the mangrove forest.
Although the leaves don’t turn orange in the FL Keys in autumn, our iguanas do! In the beginning of November the male iguanas start to turn orange and sit on the outer branches of the mangroves to attract female mates.
AquaVentures Family-Mangrove Clean up!
It was a beautiful November day, my parents and I decided to head out for a family paddle. Before too long we were all shoulders deep in the mangrove branches pulling out trash. We spent the rest of our paddle time getting as much trash as we could. The vast majority was fishing line, rope and plastic bottles. My Florida Keys Sampler Tour is now a little bit cleaner thanks to our efforts! You can help us keep our coasts clean even while you vacation! Remember to use reusable grocery bags and be sure to Leave No Trace when you are out there enjoying the natural beauty of the Florida Keys!
November Events-Florida Keys-
Happy December and stay tuned for a recap of the last month in 2016, coming soon!