If your destination is Key West, then you already know how beautiful the crystal clear water is. Did you know Key West is actually closer to Havana, Cuba, than to Miami? As you travel the Overseas Highway, you’ll cross 42 bridges and a chain of islands before arriving in Key West.
5 Key West Mangrove Facts That Will Surprise You
If you are looking for an adventure or something new and different to experience, then you should plan a mangrove kayak trip at night while you’re there. The key west mangroves are an important part of our ecosystem and marine life. Here are five things you should know about key west mangroves and mangrove tunnels.
1. Red, White, And Black Mangrove Trees
Did you know there are many different kinds of mangrove trees? In Key West, you’ll find that the red, white, and black trees are the most common. The roots are mostly found underwater, but that also depends on the ebb and flow of the tides.
Red mangroves are usually found growing at sea level near the shore. They have pointy, shiny leaves with reddish arching aerial roots with white flowers.
White mangroves are found more upland than red or black and can reach at least 40 ft. tall in the sun. They have white, fairly smooth barks with small yellow flowers.
The black mangroves are found more inland and grow more vertical than the red or white mangroves. Their bark is dark and usually covered with salt from the plant. They have white flowers that produce mangrove honey.
2. What Purpose Do Mangrove Trees Serve?
Mangroves provide food for fish, such as snapper, jack, mullet, and tarpon. They also serve a variety of bird species for their nests, as well as rookeries for brown pelican, frigate bird, roseate spoonbill, belled kingfisher, egret, and herons. The mangrove root systems help to prevent erosion by stabilizing the shoreline. Many sea creatures, such as amphipods, shrimps, sponges, sea stars, crabs, mollusks, barnacles, snails, and jellyfish all live on and near these root systems. Mangroves are also home to manatees, lemon sharks, and mudskippers.
3. Mangroves are excellent sources of carbon
It has been discovered that mangrove forests can possibly store more than 10 times as much carbon compared to other ecosystems. Why is this important? It not only helps to protect our environment, but it also makes it easier for us to breathe. The soil is especially important for storing carbon.
4. Mangroves are in danger
Due to the expanse of the shrimp industry, mangrove forests and mangrove tunnels are in danger. Shrimpers use nets that sometimes damage the ocean floor and traps not only shrimp but other local wildlife. Other factors that are causing mangroves to be in danger include coastal development, agriculture, climate change, hurricanes, and storm surges.
5. Mangroves offer protection
Mangrove roots provide a barrier to help coastlines deal with rising waters since their root systems help keep soil in place. They protect both saltwater and freshwater ecosystems because their roots help to filter phosphates and nitrates from rivers carrying them out to sea. They also help to protect seawater from entering inland waterways.
Key West is home to some of the most beautiful, scenic, and winding mangrove creeks in the world. The thick mangrove forests form mangrove tunnels that are a magnificent way to see marine life. It is particularly spectacular at night to see the different fish and sea creatures you wouldn’t be able to see during daylight. Home to unique shops, bars, restaurants, with a very laid-back vibe, Key West has gorgeous beaches and a climate that is ideal for outdoor recreation. Our Night Kayak Key West tour offers a one-of-a-kind kayaking experience with nocturnal marine life. Our tours are educational, fun, and personal. You’ll actually feel as if you were in an aquarium. We offer both single and double kayaks with glass bottoms, illuminated with lights.
What can you expect on a tour? You’ll see marine life, explore the unique mangrove tunnels, and enjoy an evening like none other. Night Kayak Key West is the only kayaking company that explores the mangroves at night. Book an exciting kayak tour with Night Kayak Key West to experience amazing nocturnal marine life meandering through mangrove tunnels!