Florida Keys Holiday Gift Ideas

Wrap up a Florida Keys Holiday gift




Explore the coral reef aboard the Spirit Snorkeling Catamaran.

Spending the Holidays in Marathon in the heart of the Florida Keys? Wondering what to get that special someone? Here are some unique Florida Keys gifts ideas:


Porky’s original Fried Key Lime Pie

Picture 502

Catch a great time. Go on a fishing charter in Marathon, the heart of the Florida Keys.

-Snorkel Sombrero Key Light aboard the Spirit Snorkeling Catamaran (305-289-0614)
-Visit the Turtle Hospital (305-743-2552)
-Explore a real tropical hard wood hammock at Crane Point Hammock and Museum (305-743-9100)
-Step back to the time of Henry Flagler and his overseas railway with a trip to historic Pigeon Key (305-289-0025).
-Send home a Key Lime Pie — most restaurants sell a whole pie and the local UPS store in Marathon can pack and ship it.  Try something different, the original Fried Key Lime Pie at Porky’s Bayside BBQ & Seafood Restaurant (305-289-2065).
-Meet dolphins nose to nose at the Dolphin Research Center (305-289-1121).
-Give a round of golf at the Key Colony Beach 9-Hole Golf Course 305-289-9859)
-Enjoy a day of fishing — lots of great charter boats in Marathon, including Captain Pip’s Sport Fishing Charters (305-743-4403).
-Take a guided kayak eco-tour through mangrove islands and back waters with Big Pine Kayak Adventures( 877-595-2925)
-Change your point of view, take a bi-plane ride with Overseas Aero Tours (305-304-0015)

Change your point of view with a bi-plane with Overseas Aero Tours.

Change your point of view with a bi-plane ride from Overseas Aero Tours.

-Satisfy your sweet tooth with cupcakes, cakes and ice cream goodies from Sweet Savannah’s Bake Shop (305-743-3131)
-Set sail aboard Sunny Sail Sailing Charters (305-394-4319) enjoy a day on the water or go for a sunset sail with dinner.
-Shop for stylish tropical togs at Bayshore Clothing (305-743-8430).
-Rent a boat for a day for exploring, fishing, snorkeling or SCUBA diving from Captain Pip’s. (305-743-4403)
-Enjoy a romantic picnic on Sombrero Beach. Pick up everything from wine to elegant appetizers at Publix.
-Feast on a gourmet gift basket from Leigh Ann’s Coffee House (305-743-6676).
-Don’t forget your furry, feathered and fined friends this holiday season. Whalton’s Pet Shop (305-743-3318) has tasty treats and island-inspired gifts for all your pets.

Thanks for choosing to spend your holidays in Marathon and the Florida Keys.

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Tips for Winter Fishing in the Florida Keys

Sailfish love winter weather in the Florida Keys.

Winter is a great time to fish in the Florida Keys. Here are ten tips to help you make the most of your time on the water.

Give yourself enough time. Winter cold fronts are unpredictable and bring winds that can make it difficult, if not impossible, to get on the water. If your schedule permits, build in a few extra days just in case Mother Nature decides to ignore your Florida Keys fishing plans.

Be flexible. You’ve got options when you fish the Florida Keys. Sometimes a change in plans can mean the difference between a day of productive fishing and a day spent on land. If a winter cold front brings winds that prohibit an offshore trip, you may still be able to fish in Florida Bay, by the Seven Mile Bridge or a sheltered area of the flats.

Sailfish abound in the winter and one of the best ways to ensure a successful catch and release is to book a trip with one of the many reputable charter companies in the Florida Keys. They’ve got the gear and the experience to target these exciting fish.

In addition to Sailfish offshore, you’ll find Blackfin Tuna and Wahoo, both are fun to catch and make a great dinner. If you are lucky enough to get the right weather window, you can venture offshore in a smaller boat, but you may want to hedge your bets and book a charter on a bigger boat. You’ll have a better chance of getting to the fish and you’ll be more comfortable.

Know what you can keep and what you need to release. Fishing limits change frequently. To stay current check with the Florida Wildlife Commission.There’s also a useful smart phone app called Fish Rules that provides up-to-date fishing regulations, photos of the fish, the ability to keep a fishing log and more.

Mackerel — King, Cero and Spanish — are plentiful during the winter months and a blast to catch. Add in some fat Mangrove Snapper and you’ve got a day of fun family fishing.

Mackerel — King, Cero and Spanish — are a blast to catch, but the toothy critters will require wire leader. Be sure to rig your baits accordingly — live shrimp or pilchards are preferred — and use chum to get the action going.

While some folks find Mackerel a bit too fishy tasting for dinner fare, a little brine and smoke turn these fillets into a delicacy. Porky’s Bayside BBQ as well as some charter operations offer anglers the option to smoke their fish.

Yellowtail and Mangrove Snapper are tasty targets year round and we’ve seen some nice fat ones coming to the dock, so load up a few blocks of chum, and head to the reef or back in Florida Bay for a great day of fishing.

Cobia is another winter time fish that is exciting to catch and great to eat. You’ll find them around wrecks and reefs. They can be caught by spinning, plug casting, or bottom fishing. They’ve also been known to show up when trolling live bait for sailfish.

If you plan to fish in your own boat or a rental, be sure to keep an eye on the weather. Winter time cold fronts can turn the perfect day into the perfect storm in the blink of an eye. It’s wise to check the marine forecast before leaving the dock. Sometimes you’ll be able to squeeze in some great fishing before the weather hits. Just remember to give yourself plenty of time to get safety back to the dock.

Enjoy your time of the water in the beautiful Florida Keys. Catch ‘em up!

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Celebrate summer in the beautiful Florida Keys

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Celebrate summer in the beautiful Florida Keys. Sure it’s hot, but hey, it’s summertime. Cool ocean breezes and more palm trees than highways or high rises make our island paradise cooler than most places. Locals know it’s the best time … Continue reading

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Tips for Boating in the Florida Keys

If you had to describe the Florida Keys with the name of a color, it would definitely be blue — every shade and hue you can imagine. You’ll find aquamarine waters in shallow sand flats, iridescent navy blues in the deep ocean, and then there’s the sky that blends perfectly with the water to create the ultimate designer show room.

There’s no better way to enjoy these spectacular blues than from a boat. You’ll also find plenty of adventure on the water. Great fishing is all around and incredible spots for snorkeling and SCUBA diving are as close as the coral reef.

Boating in the Keys is great fun, but it can be challenging. The waters get shallow where you least expect. If you’re a novice boater, it’s best to hire a guide or book a charter

These shallow sand flats can produce great fishing, but only experienced boaters with knowledge of local waters should venture into these “skinny” waters.

Learning to read the colors of the water in the Florida Keys is one of the best ways to stay safe and protect our delicate environment.

You’ll find mooring balls at most of the Marine Sanctuaries in the Florida Keys.

. Experienced boaters can rent a boat or bring your own. Most accommodations in the Keys offer dockage and when you stay at Captain Pip’s Marina & Hideaway the use of a 20-ft. foot boat is included.

Don’t miss the chance to enjoy all the shades of blue aboard a boat. Read on, as we dedicate this edition to boating in the beautiful Florida Keys.

Coral reefs and seagrass beds in the Florida Keys grow within inches of the water’s surface and can be found close to shore or several miles from shore. Learning to read water color in the Keys is important. It will help ensure a safe boating experience and it will help preserve our irreplaceable marine communities.
Brown, Brown run aground
Reef formations that grow close to the water’s surface and shallow seagrass beds will make the water appear brown. Such areas should be avoided to keep from running aground and damaging both your boat and sensitive marine habitats.
White, White you’ll be there all night
Sand bars and shallow rubble areas appear white. These areas can be deceiving and may be much shallower than they appear. Navigate with caution around these areas.
Green, green nice and clean
Green water usually indicates an area free of shallow reefs or seagrass beds. Navigation of small, shallow draft boats in these areas is generally safe. However, larger, deeper draft boats should exercise caution. All boaters should carry and consult the appropriate
NOAA marine chart.
Blue, blue cruise on through
Deep water areas, such as the ocean side of a reef may appear blue. Navigation in these areas is free from hazardous contact with reefs or seagrass beds. Remember, however, that coral reefs rise abruptly from deep water so give yourself plenty of room to maneuver.
If you run aground
Turn off your engine immediately. Do not attempt to use your engine to power off the reef or grass flat, which could damage your boat as well as these important habitats. If possible, raise your lower unit or outdrive and allow your vessel to drift free from the shallow areas. If you cannot drift free, radio for assistance on VHF channel 16. Boat groundings can instantly pulverize coral, leaving areas open to infection by disease and devastate a thriving coral reel community that may take hundreds of years to rebuild. Damage to seagrass beds can be equally devastating. Seagrass beds act as a nursery and feeding ground for numerous organisms. They also filter excess nutrients and trap sediments, thereby providing the clean, clear water essential for coral reefs. By running aground or even motoring in very shallow water, boats can scar seagrass beds. These narrow sand channels can grow wider and wider, decreasing the seagrass bed’s ability to protect the reef and provide a healthy community for marine creatures.
Helpful navigation tips
Use extra caution when there is extensive cloud cover, a glassy calm sea state, extreme sun glare or murky water. These are condition when colors may not be apparent. Mooring buoys are located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to keep boaters from damaging coral with their anchors. Some mooring buoys are located near extremely shallow reefs. Do not attempt to motor across a reef to reach a mooring buoy. Polarized sunglasses are very helpful in distinguishing water colors.
Do not approach these markers
Reef light towers are prominent metal A-frame structures with a number posted on them. Shoal markers are solitary steel I-beams, standing approximately ten feet, usually with a diamond-shaped DANGER sign attached. Many shallow reef areas are marked by reef light towers or shoal markers. If you look closely, you can determine where the shallow edge of these areas are located. Along the reef, there will often be a series of breaking waves. Along the edge of seagrass flats, you will frequently see a ripple effect or surface water texture change. Shallow sandbars will appear glassy.

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Tarpon Time in the Florida Keys

Tarpon season in the Florida Keys runs from April through June. If you’ve ever caught and released a silver king, you know it’s an addictive, heart-pounding, adrenaline rush. If catching and releasing your first tarpon is still on your angling bucket list, this may be the year to cross it off.
The Seven Mile Bridge, only a half mile from Captain Pip’s Marina & Hideaway, ranks among the world’s best spots for tarpon. Spring and early summer bring schools of mullet and pilchards to the area — two of the tarpons favorite snacks. It’s common to see these beautiful fish rolling everywhere around your boat as they feast.
Once hooked, hold on. You’re in for a ride — literally — these monsters will strip line off your reel faster than a 4G connection. Trying to turn the game of tug ‘o’ war in your favor may put you and your boat on near collision courses with bridge pilings and anchored anglers. The battle isn’t all about brute force. These fish punctuate long runs with athletic leaps that would make a gymnast jealous.
There are few fish that can make a twenty minute fight seem like it lasted hours, days or even weeks. The tarpon can and will. Once to the boat and safely released with a trophy picture, you’re left with quivering arms and a smile as big as the silver king you just released to fight another day.

Here are ten interesting facts about the Silver King.
-World record is 286 pounds 9 ounces. The Florida record is 243 pounds.
-Tarpons have been recorded up to 8 feet 2 inches in length and weighing up to 350 pounds.
-A Tarpon’s mouth is turned upwards and the lower jaw contains an elongated bony plate likened in hardness to concrete, which makes setting the hook difficult and frequently results in the fish throwing the hook on one of its many jumps.
-An experienced angler may land a Tarpon in less than an hour. The average angler may take longer, perhaps up to three hours.
-To gain a predatory advantage when oxygen levels in the water are low, Tarpons can fill their swim bladder with air, which acts like a primitive lung.
-Atlantic Tarpons have been reported as far north as Nova Scotia, as far south as Argentina and as far east as the Atlantic coast of Southern France.
-Great to catch, not good to eat. Their flesh is undesirable and bony.
-Florida and Alabama require a special permit to kill and keep a tarpon. Fortunately, most tarpon fishing is catch and release.
-Fishing techniques include: bait, lure and fly on spinning, conventional or fly rod. Heavy monofilament leaders or tippets are required because of the Tarpon’s rough mouth.
-To marine biologists the tarpon is known as Megalops atlanticus.

Happy fishing in the beautiful Florida Keys.

Posted in Captain Pip's Marina & Hideaway, Fishing and Lodging in the Florida Keys, Florida Keys Accommodations with Boat, Florida Keys Boating, Florida Keys fishing, Lodging in the Florida Keys, Marathon, FL, Tarpon fishing in the Florida Keys, Things to do in Marathon, FL, Things to do in the Florida Keys, Uncategorized, Undiscovered Florida Keys | Leave a comment

White Glove Award recognizes five years of spring cleaning every day

The "clean team", Tom and Jessie Crongeyer, show off five years worth of White Glove Awards.

The quest for spotless accommodations when traveling has gotten easier thanks to the Superior Small Lodging Association’s White Glove Award. This is the fifth year Captain Pip’s Marina & Hideaway has received the award, which recognizes superior properties for cleanliness and comfort.

The award, presented once a year, goes to members who score 100% in the housekeeping category during the property’s annual inspection. “It’s hard to achieve a perfect score,” says Barbara Maddox, co-owner. “We work hard to give our guests spotless accommodations. We call it spring cleaning every day.”

All aspects of housekeeping are examined including general guest accommodations, bathrooms and kitchens. The property review looks at all aspects of a lodging member’s property – a total of 42 items — from the comfort of each room right down to the quality of toilet tissue used in the bathroom. “Any property with the Superior Small Lodging designation has to be at the top of its game,” says Maddox, “to be selected for the White Glove Award means we’re among the best of the best. We couldn’t do it without our “clean team” Tom and Jessie Congeyer who go the extra mile for our guests.”

Captain Pip’s Marina & Hideaway is located at Mile Marker 47.5 Bayside in Marathon. To learn more about this White Glove Award winning resort, visit the web site at www.captainpips.com, www.facebook.com/CaptainPips or www.twitter.com/CaptainPips . For reservations and inquiries, call 800-707-1692 or 305-743-4403.

Posted in Captain Pip's Marina & Hideaway, Fishing and Lodging in the Florida Keys, Florida Keys Accommodations with Boat, Marathon, FL, Uncategorized, Undiscovered Florida Keys | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments