Our First Trip to Egmont Key

One morning we left our house in Clearwater and drove to Bradenton. We went to our marina and had a bagel breakfast on our boat. After breakfast, we sailed to Egmont Key. Egmont Key lies at the entrance of Tampa Bay just a little way from Fort De Soto.

We had just a little time after we anchored and before dinner to fish. I cast my line with a shrimp on the hook and I put a bell instead of a bobber on, so I would hear the bell ring if I caught a fish. My brother did too. So we sat down at dinner. My dad blessed the food and we all ate.

After dinner we could see that the stars were amazing. We went on the foredeck and lay down so we could look up. We saw three satellites and I saw one shooting star. My mom saw three and my dad saw four. We were so far from the city lights that we could even see the Milky Way, our own galaxy.

At about nine o’ clock, after a long look at the stars, it was time to go to bed. Just as we were getting up, a loud bell went off and it was my pole. Because I was fishing with no bobber, Dad was sure that I had caught a catfish. At first I said, “I have nothing!” But then, I felt the strong tug at my pole. I said, “I need help.” Dad said, “Nope—you reel it in!” Finally, the fish came up and because it was so dark, no one could see anything. Dad turned on the spotlight and there, beside the transom, was a beautiful-looking, foot-long, young shark. I hauled him in and Dad had to de-hook him. Yes, indeed, you’ve got it—he did have a mouthful of teeth! Everyone got to pet him and then we all watched him swim back to his home in the sea.

The next day, we had an expedition on Egmont Key to see what it was like. We all got in the dinghy and rowed to the beach. We took a long walk and found some neat shells. The most fun part of it all was getting to see the fort from the Spanish American War. It was built in 1900. All that was left was a two-story building with a maze of dark rooms, hallways, and stairs. We also saw towers, foundations for other buildings and original brick roads. On the way back, there on the road was a gopher tortoise!

We went back to our boat and went swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. The water was shallow, and we put on our masks, fins, and snorkels and then went snorkeling. I saw a crab scuttle across the bottom and then push itself under the sand. Dad scrubbed the bottom of the boat. Mom set a second anchor. Aaron and Sarah swam for awhile and then got out. Sam sat on the swim ladder and splashed.

That afternoon, we left Egmont and sailed back to the marina. We stayed the night at the dock, had breakfast the next morning, and left. It was the best sailing trip that I have ever been on.