Travel and Leisure News

Sailing in the Florida Keys: Comfort in the "Old Vibe"
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Over the last few years, the Florida Keys has become increasingly corporate. Pristine chain hotels seem to pop up every other month alongside Mattress Firms and McDonald’s. However, there’s a certain type of comfort one finds in the old vibe: the mom & pops, the low-key, the smooth sailing, wind-blown, "dive-bar-y", aesthetic of the old Florida Keys. There’s a comfort to be taken in these places, something akin to that feeling of “home.” South Dade Marina & Eco Adventures Tours, just at the mouth of the Keys, is one of these venues. Stemming from its attainment by long-standing owner of the Key Lime Sailing Club and Cottages (Ph. 305-451-3438), South Dade Marina is in the process of being transformed into an eco-friendly, sustainable operation set on educating the public through adventure and exploration of the backwoods everglades ecosystem.

The marina is a sail boat only docking space located deep in everglade mangrove forests. It is in a no-wake zone to protect and preserve the delicate wildlife that surrounds the marina. More than just a marina, South Dade Marina and the surrounding area is a nursery for ocean life.

“The other day I was paddle boarding through the dense mangroves of the marina, when I spotted three baby black-tipped sharks,” Captain Serene Sullivan, VIce President and yoga paddle board instructor of South Dade Marina said. “The area is just teeming with life.”

In an effort to share this amazing space with the wider public, not just sailboat owners, the marina has recently opened up their doors to those wishing to kayak in see-through kayaks and paddle board through the large expanse of everglade nursery.

“It’s a beautiful and important space we have here at South Dade Marina. There’s nothing like the Everglades in the entire world, and we need to protect it. Part of this process is getting people to appreciate what we have here,” Paul Keever, owner operator of South Dade Marina said. “I hope by opening the marina to the public and showing them the importance of these types of habitats, they will take the plight of climate change more seriously.”

Wet storage and dry storage are available for sailboats at SDM. Manatee Bay and Barnes Sound are both ideal for day sailing. For inland cruising the intercoastal water way is nearby and the ocean can be reached through Angelfish creek. Kayaks and paddle boards can be rented from South Dade Marina or one can bring their own. Kayaking and paddle board tours through the everglade canals can be scheduled by calling the number on their website. Paddle board yoga as well as on land yoga is also available.

    Even the most plugged-in of our times can admit, sometimes it’s nice to get away, to dive into nature and experience what the world has to offer.