Welcome to Miami! And if you think that glamorous and crowded Miami Beach is the only way to enjoy the tropical seaside, you are wrong. Key Biscayne island lies south-east of Miami Downtown, close enough to see its skyline,
but wild and remote enough to enjoy a small secluded beach with barely anyone else in sight, and totally naked if you will. (By the way, the first photo and the one below were taken at the same spot, just at different times of the day, so you can see how tides change.)
The northeast point of Key Biscayne, right by the fossilized reef, has a history of nude recreation, but it’s not an official nudist beach, while Virginia Key just north of it did have an official nudist beach until 1980’s. The place is known as Bear Cut beach. Maybe “bare” would be more appropriate than “bear” here, though far not all visitors bare it all, and some – actually nothing at all: a couple of fishermen were covered entirely, face included.
Besides humans, we also saw quite a few animals of the rare kind that actually wear something:
hermit crabs were all over the place there, from the size of a nail to the size of a palm. And luckily for them, there seemed to be no shortage of shells of various sizes.
It was nice to wander through the mangroves and observe nature.
Besides numerous crabs, we saw quite a few crab spiders (aka spinybacked orb-weavers).
Some of them built their webs quite high up,
with an impressive span between the trees.
I found these spiders pretty too, and hopefully there aren’t readers of this blog with arachnophobia :O (Does anyone know its scientific name btw? And if you like spiders, check this post out!)
Well, the sight of ibises would probably be more commonly appreciated 🙂
As we walked at the fossilized reef,
we also saw a heron. It didn’t seem to be bothered by our presence. I got pretty good shots of it resting,
We also saw flocks of pelicans pass by,
but only a couple of them rested nearby.
Our neighbor at the cove where we stayed was an iguana.
It was climbing trees,
and Lee Roy followed its example.
Although majority of trees there are represented by various mangrove species, we also saw papayas
and coconut palms.
Too bad none of them had ripe fruit. These ants though seemed to be excited about something at the tip of the mangrove root, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. (BTW I later discovered that honey from mangrove blossom has a very particular fruity flavor, make sure to try it when you get a chance!)
Plants and animals weren’t the only thing that drew our attention though:
unfortunately, there was quite a lot of trash too. Most of it was probably washed off from the sea. On the way out, we collected plastic bags and bottles from the cove where we stayed.
Some of the bigger bits of trash though found their new life as sitting surfaces among mangroves. That’s a good way of recycling too!
It also turned out to be a great place for snorkeling. I hoped to see manatees,
but I had to be satisfied with their potential feeding ground only, as some parts of the seafloor were covered with seaweed.
I was also happy to see that despite this place is known for its fossilized reef from several thousands years ago, there is some new coral growth – hopefully there will be a new live coral reef sometime soon!
I saw quite a lot of fish, e.g. young barracudas (?)
and a stingray.
There was a lot of small fish by the mangrove roots, confirming mangroves’ role as fish nurseries. Among the bigger fish, puffers were probably most common.
As you can see, the water is very clear there, and the seafloor is clean, but I did see some glass, so be careful when you wade.
Overall, it was amazing to see this pocket of wildlife right off Miami downtown, great for naturists and naturalists alike!
As we were about to leave, this crab wanted to give us a good-bye hug… We weren’t quite sure.
We also had a small video shot for something very special – stay tuned for updates!
For now, just enjoy this view of Eddy’s jump split trying to bridge Miami downtown (on the left) with Miami Beach (on the right).