Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cabbage Key

N26°39'28.4", W082°12'53.3"
Rum Cove Anchorage

Rum Cove Anchorage
I'll admit it.  I get sucked in by hype.  The way to get on my route is by being one of the places "Everybody" visits.  That's certainly how Cabbage Key got onto our route.  Our plans after leaving Pelican Bay were to travel outside (in the Gulf of Mexico vs. in the ICW).  A visit to Cabbage Key would take us further South inside the ICW, which would require backtracking to the Charlotte Harbor Inlet when we left.  I'm not a big fan of backtracking, but since it was only three or four miles... I would do it.  Plus, there's the ever powerful allure of "The Cheeseburger In Paradise" to consider...

You might remember another such Cheeseburger, rumored to have originated in a different place.  Evidently Pirates Cove, Cabbage Key and many others continue to duke it out as the subject of the Jimmy Buffett Song.  Well, I'll just have to judge for myself, won't I.

The way to the cheeseburger...
We left Pelican Bay on the morning flood tide at dawn.  We motored slowly and still made our destination in just over an hour.  We dropped anchor just across the ICW from Cabbage Key in an anchorage called Rum Cove.  There was plenty of room and comfortable depths.  Holding was excellent but we were rocked quite a bit by passing boaters in the ICW.  This didn't last past late afternoon and the anchorage was quite comfortable overnight.

We dinghies up, sped down the channel towards the restaurant and found the perfect spot for beaching the dinghy.  There is a very nice little marina dock for day-tripper use there as well.  The entire facility looks to be well maintained.

While we were there, a steady stream of water-taxi/ferry type boats arrived to bring and take away visitors to the Key.  Even so, the place didn't seem crowded while we were there.

Not sure that sign is necessary, but OK

We arrived plenty early in the cool morning to do a little exploring of the Key before lunch.  We discovered that we could walk practically the whole little island easily, making use of the well marked nature trails.

Evidently we arrived at a time when the animals living there were in hiding.  We saw nothing but birds.  But it was still a nice walk and I could hear "things" in the brush, so I know that there was life out there.

The Key has several really nice looking bungalos we assume are rentals.  Anyone looking for a place to get away from it all (Paradise?) would surely find it here.  The only things to do are boat, eat, sunbathe and climb to the top of the waterpower for a look around.

I'm just the teensiest bit afraid of heights, but the solid structure with very well maintained stairs had me climbing happily up and up to the lookout platform at the top.

I couldn't look down, but the camera could...
It isn't the highest tower, but it's the perfect size for viewing the entirety of Cabbage Key and points beyond... from a very safe distance.

We continued on down the nature trail with my legs actually cramping just a little from the stairs.  I guess we haven't been getting enough exercise with all the lying-on-beaches we've been doing lately.

The trails have educational information provided along the way about the flora and fauna to be found here.  We had to stop to read them all... which built up quite the appetite.  I was happy to see the restaurant at the end of the trail!

We were seated right away, inside at our request.  It was a bit cool outside.  We ordered the "Cheeseburger" and waited.

A warm fire and a wall of dollar bills
Now I'm all for "leaving a clean electronic wake" but I cannot tell a lie.  The burger and the drinks were a disappointment.  So I will go out on a limb here and cross Cabbage Key OFF the list of contenders for the title of "inspiration" for the Jimmy Buffett song.  BUT, to give the place it's credit, they could still have a little something in the "Paradise" department.

After lunch, it had warmed up enough for us to try a little fishing.  There were shallows around the mangroves that bordered the anchorage, that looked like the perfect place for a tasty fish to hang out.

I happily remained in the dinghy soaking up the sunshine while Bruce waded around.  Sadly, there were no fish caught today.

Our time here was coming to an end.  The weather looked perfect for an early departure in the morning, heading out the Charlotte Harbor Inlet for what we hoped would be a chance to shake out our sails.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry could have warned you that in our opinion Cabbage Key is not really worth the stop. The overpriced small dry cheeseburger left a lot to be desired for us too. We won't go there again. Cayo Casta was 10 times better! Although no restaurant which was fine by us. Since you are heading south and will be in the Keys area soon we hear and will sometime in the future go there too, Shark River is a great area to do exploring and fishing