The Beach

Journey to a Private Christmas Island

The cold, crisp air cut through us as we pulled out of the Cedar Key Marina and into open water. The shores of Cedar Key, FL slowly drifted away to our right side while the neighboring islands waited on the nearby horizon. There are few places where you can spend Thanksgiving weekend heading for your own private island for a little family and fishing time.

Departing Cedar Key Marina, with the “Thomas Guest House” nearby

A family friend decided to rent a deck boat for us and her family to spend the early afternoon searching for fishing spots. If you ever pay a visit to Cedar Key, and I highly recommend that you do, then do yourself a favor and rent a boat at the Cedar Key City Marina. Really, what good is coming to an island and not getting out on the water? We were hesitant to do so on this particular morning. The Florida definition of winter weather rolled in and our state’s legendary humidity made the cold air thick. However, we ventured out onto the water and I am so glad we did.

A stop at the bayou-side bait shop before venturing out

We made a few stops out in the water near the neighboring islands, in an attempt to snag some trout, redfish, or mullet. We enjoyed some success with catching a few trout, but after returning them to their watery home we headed for one of the small islands that makes up North Key.

With our jeans rolled up to our knees we hopped out of the boat into the oddly cold waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and onto our own private Christmas island. Being a Florida girl I have always loved the song “Christmas Island”and I couldn’t help but to hear it in my head as we landed on our little island. We celebrate the holidays amid a hybrid atmosphere of the tropics and winter wonderlands. To me the song symbolizes the unique blend of holiday traditions that come from living in a tropical region.

As my toes dug into the sand, the numbness created by the cold ocean water melted away. A cluster of little sandpipers dashed away into the air, alarmed by our presence. We followed raccoon tracks around the shoreline, finding little treasures like pelican feathers and horseshoe crab skeletons. Around the bend we could see a colony of brown pelicans that had welcomed a group of large white pelicans into its gaggle. The natural landscape of Northern Florida surrounded us. It felt blissful.

This is natural Florida
The winding shoreline

Fishing poles were soon baited and redfish after redfish were reeled in. The youngins on our trip became the official “fish ticklers” and delighted in tickling the fishes before they were released back into the water. My husband and my father taught my stepson how to cast the line and soon he had a fish of his own. I became a proud stepmother and did my best to let the little precious moments sink in.

After a few hours of successful fishing and relaxing in the sand we pushed our way through the cold ocean water and climbed back onto the boat. The wind blew through us, stronger than during our morning departure, but we simply bundled up and enjoyed the view. That evening we feasted on stone crab and topped it all off with homemade pecan pie and key lime pie. What a blissful Florida way to spend Thanksgiving weekend.


7 thoughts on “Journey to a Private Christmas Island”

  1. Awesome post! We’ve talked about Cedar Key before, but it’s such a great place and I always love reading about it. I’ve never boated from there (in a boat with a motor, at least) – I’ll have to give it a shot now that I know there are islands waiting to be explored!

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