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Old 06/10/2018, 11:15 PM   #476
Tylers_reef
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Hello, sorry to go sorta off topic but does anyone here have locations to find rock flower nems around the key largo area?


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Old 06/11/2018, 05:54 PM   #477
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I don't, but then I don't snorkel much up that way. I know of a few spots down in the Middle Keys. But you do realize that the rock flowers you'll find in the shallow water while snorkeling won't be anything like the crazy colors in the marketplace online, right? I've never seen any like them in 14 years of snorkeling.

I do know a licensed collector who does a lot of great colorful rock flowers. He won't tell me where exactly, but he says they are down 40' to 60' and he scuba dives to collect them. He also says they are not anywhere close to shore.

I'll be out snorkeling the Middle Keys this coming weekend with our local aquarium club.


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Old 06/15/2018, 02:20 PM   #478
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I don't, but then I don't snorkel much up that way. I know of a few spots down in the Middle Keys. But you do realize that the rock flowers you'll find in the shallow water while snorkeling won't be anything like the crazy colors in the marketplace online, right? I've never seen any like them in 14 years of snorkeling.

I do know a licensed collector who does a lot of great colorful rock flowers. He won't tell me where exactly, but he says they are down 40' to 60' and he scuba dives to collect them. He also says they are not anywhere close to shore.

I'll be out snorkeling the Middle Keys this coming weekend with our local aquarium club.
Ok, I saw you mentioned an island in Florida bay earlier that had like a drop off covered in them. Could you tell me where that is exactly?


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Old 06/15/2018, 03:26 PM   #479
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I'm in the Keys this weekend. My wife and I snorkeled the island this morning. I even collected a rock flower anemone, green and white tentacles, white face and a very purple mouth.

When I get home on Monday I'll do a google earth image showing where the island is. It doesn't have as many as it did many years ago. But my wife and I agree, there were probably somewhere between 300 and 500 and the island is only the size of a big house! It's on the Florida Bay side of Vaca Key (Marathon) and just a few hundred yards to the northwest off the tip of Crane Point. The nems are all up close to the vertical wall where the island meets the water. But 99.99% of them are well attached to the rocks with their feet attached in deep holes. So a hammer and a small chisel may be required. I happened to find the one I collected attached to the surface of a big rock just a few feet from the island and it wasn't in a hole, so it was easier to remove! LOL! My wife got a nice photo and I'll post that up as well.


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Old 06/15/2018, 05:50 PM   #480
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I'm in the Keys this weekend. My wife and I snorkeled the island this morning. I even collected a rock flower anemone, green and white tentacles, white face and a very purple mouth.

When I get home on Monday I'll do a google earth image showing where the island is. It doesn't have as many as it did many years ago. But my wife and I agree, there were probably somewhere between 300 and 500 and the island is only the size of a big house! It's on the Florida Bay side of Vaca Key (Marathon) and just a few hundred yards to the northwest off the tip of Crane Point. The nems are all up close to the vertical wall where the island meets the water. But 99.99% of them are well attached to the rocks with their feet attached in deep holes. So a hammer and a small chisel may be required. I happened to find the one I collected attached to the surface of a big rock just a few feet from the island and it wasn't in a hole, so it was easier to remove! LOL! My wife got a nice photo and I'll post that up as well.
Awesome, Iím in Key largo now so my only other question is. What kind of habitat would I be looking for that would hold them?


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Old 06/16/2018, 06:55 AM   #481
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I'm in the Keys this weekend. My wife and I snorkeled the island this morning. I even collected a rock flower anemone, green and white tentacles, white face and a very purple mouth.

When I get home on Monday I'll do a google earth image showing where the island is. It doesn't have as many as it did many years ago. But my wife and I agree, there were probably somewhere between 300 and 500 and the island is only the size of a big house! It's on the Florida Bay side of Vaca Key (Marathon) and just a few hundred yards to the northwest off the tip of Crane Point. The nems are all up close to the vertical wall where the island meets the water. But 99.99% of them are well attached to the rocks with their feet attached in deep holes. So a hammer and a small chisel may be required. I happened to find the one I collected attached to the surface of a big rock just a few feet from the island and it wasn't in a hole, so it was easier to remove! LOL! My wife got a nice photo and I'll post that up as well.
Don't get caught using it or with it on you vessel, the FWC is very testy as to approved devices for collecting....and a hammer and chisel don"t qualify lol...


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Old 06/18/2018, 05:45 AM   #482
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Awesome, Iím in Key largo now so my only other question is. What kind of habitat would I be looking for that would hold them?
I collected 2 this trip, but normally I don't collect any. I have 30+ of the colorful rock flowers in my 50g cube. I just wanted a couple of the more ordinary looking ones so I can show people who come to see my tank the difference between the two.

Both were in hard bottom rocky areas. The nem wants a good place to attach it's foot. And both were in about 2' of water. I didn't have to do anything but reach down to touch the bottom.


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Old 06/18/2018, 06:53 AM   #483
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Here are three good places to snorkel, and two of them are where I collected a rock flower anemone.

First is a small island just off the tip of Crane Point in Marathon. The island has no name. It's not the area due west of Rachel Key but the island that is between that shallow spot and Crane Point. It is a rock island and drops a foot or two into the water and has a lot of shallow sandy bottom as you move 1 to 3 feet away from the island. There are lots of rock flowers around about half of the island and 99.99% of them have their foot very well attached in holes that make them nearly impossible to get them out.

Screenshot 2018-06-18 07.57.38 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


Next is the Horseshoe. It is at the northeast end of Spanish Harbor Key (one Key south west from Bahia Honda Key). It's an old quarry from when Flagler built the railroad back in the early 1900's. Inside it's 40+ feet deep, but around the outside there is lots of rubble and shallow flats. At the mouth of the quarry the bottoms slopes from the surface to 15' deep and there are lots of critters. There aren't nearly as many rock flowers here, in fact not many at all. But I happened to find one attached to a tiny rock so it was easy to collect.

Screenshot 2018-06-18 07.52.26 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


Third is just a great island to snorkel, or was before Hurricane Irma. It's just 1/4 mile from the boat ramp at the southwest end of the Seven Mile Bridge. The north side of the island, from the boat dock around to the opposite side is shallow, 1 to 3 feet, and the bottom is covered with lots of old, mostly dead finger coral that is just rubble on the bottom. In among the rubble lots and lots of small sponges have taken hold. There are more emerald crabs, sea stars, sea cucumber and curly-Q anemones than you can count!

Screenshot 2018-06-18 07.59.45 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


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Old 06/20/2018, 08:19 AM   #484
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OK, we had a pretty good time last weekend. The weather was pretty darn cooperative as the wind was very light (5-8 mph), visibility was quite good and it was about 40-50% overcast so we did have some good sunlight for taking underwater photos. Here is a shot of the tiny island we collected at with our Zodiac in the background. I always love pics like this because it reminds me of how quiet, serene and peaceful it is when it's just my and my wife out snorkeling!
Florida Bay island 02 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr

Although the islands from Vaca Key (Marathon) south were hit pretty hard by Hurricane Irma, the offshore habitat appears to have been mostly unharmed, at least the sites we looked at. But Little Money Key itself was really looking bad as almost all the vegetation was dead.
Little Money Key after Hurricane Irene 2017 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr

And the opposite side of Spanish Harbor Key from the Horseshoe was seriously eroded. The grassy slope down to the water was half washed away! The vertical rock wall is new.
A DSCN8254 R2 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr

Since I have over 30 colorful rock flower anemones, I decided to collect one shallow water, less colorful rock flower for people to compare when they see my tank. This was about the nicest one I saw all weekend.
Rons rock flower anemone by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr

And I wanted a new flame scallop since mine got crushed when I was moving rocks from one tank to another (totally my fault).
Flame scallop by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr

We'll be back again very early in August and probably go to the Dry Tortugas for an over night camping stay some time between Sept and Nov.


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Last edited by Ron Reefman; 06/20/2018 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 06/29/2018, 01:17 PM   #485
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Ron ,
I could not agree with you more that we are in an incredible weather pattern
in the keys . Calm waters with great visibility and little wind . Great photos of
the calm waters ! Next time you come down are way look us up for a snorkeling
trip , no collecting just looking . Thanks again for all your great knowledge .
Sea Dwellers
http://www.seadwellers.com


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Old 07/03/2018, 02:16 PM   #486
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Here are three good places to snorkel, and two of them are where I collected a rock flower anemone.

First is a small island just off the tip of Crane Point in Marathon. The island has no name. It's not the area due west of Rachel Key but the island that is between that shallow spot and Crane Point. It is a rock island and drops a foot or two into the water and has a lot of shallow sandy bottom as you move 1 to 3 feet away from the island. There are lots of rock flowers around about half of the island and 99.99% of them have their foot very well attached in holes that make them nearly impossible to get them out.

Screenshot 2018-06-18 07.57.38 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


Next is the Horseshoe. It is at the northeast end of Spanish Harbor Key (one Key south west from Bahia Honda Key). It's an old quarry from when Flagler built the railroad back in the early 1900's. Inside it's 40+ feet deep, but around the outside there is lots of rubble and shallow flats. At the mouth of the quarry the bottoms slopes from the surface to 15' deep and there are lots of critters. There aren't nearly as many rock flowers here, in fact not many at all. But I happened to find one attached to a tiny rock so it was easy to collect.

Screenshot 2018-06-18 07.52.26 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


Third is just a great island to snorkel, or was before Hurricane Irma. It's just 1/4 mile from the boat ramp at the southwest end of the Seven Mile Bridge. The north side of the island, from the boat dock around to the opposite side is shallow, 1 to 3 feet, and the bottom is covered with lots of old, mostly dead finger coral that is just rubble on the bottom. In among the rubble lots and lots of small sponges have taken hold. There are more emerald crabs, sea stars, sea cucumber and curly-Q anemones than you can count!

Screenshot 2018-06-18 07.59.45 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr
Ok awesome, for that first island. How are you getting to it? Are you going via boat or swimming out. If swimming, what area are you starting at? Thanks


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Old 07/06/2018, 03:57 AM   #487
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Tyler, when we go out to that Island we use our Zodiac. We leave from the boat ramp at Blackfin motel"s boat ramp which is almost next to Crane Point (1/4 mile to the southwest). In the photo it's between Pretty Joe Rock (labeled) and the tiny island just to the right of it. The little island off Crane Point has very shallow water in that area so if you have a bigger boat it could be an issue.


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Old 07/11/2018, 04:58 AM   #488
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Hey guys. This is all fantastic information! I'm truly appreciative for all the information you guys have shared From reading through the pages, I've gotten quite a few tips. I'll be driving down to Miami tomorrow and would like to do a 1 day trip to the middle keys on Friday. Given that I'll only be spending the day there before driving back to Miami in the evening, my question is, where would you recommend I go for a little shallow collecting? I'm mainly looking to collect CUC critters and possibly some polyps if I can across them. There is a possibility that we'll be taking my wife's parents kayak with us.


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Old 07/11/2018, 05:29 AM   #489
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If you are doing a beach snorkel to collect I'd recommend The Horseshoe and the other side of the same island. You can walk up the hill and back down the other side of the road or if it's slack tide you can swim around under the bridge. But if the tide is going out or coming in, that swim can be very difficult. On both sides you'll have a wide variety of different environments available. It would be easy to spend more than a day just exploring these two sites that are only 100 feet apart.

The Horseshoe on Spanish Harbor Key by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


If you have the kayak and the winds are reasonable, put in at the boat ramp at the southwest end of the Seven Mile Bridge and paddle over to Little Money Key (about 1/4 mile) to the northeast. The distance is short, but you are crossing a tidal flow channel and it can be a challenge to cross safely when the tide is coming in or going out in a kayak (we do it in a Zodiac with a 30hp outboard). The north side of the island, from the dock on the east all the way around to the northwest is shallow. We like the area very near shore (barely 1' deep) near the dock and around to the north. Much of the bottom is covered in broken finger coral (stony and illegal if alive) with lots of sponges and green Little Money zoas. Pick up a piece of loose coral and the odds are you will find a Mithrax crab. There have been brown palys around the area under the dock.

Little Money Key by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


Both places offer lots of potential to max out your legal limit of 20 animals. Remember, only 5 polyps of zoas per licensed person per day (just a basic Florida Saltwater fishing license). Florida FWC is a regular visitor to both sites and my collection has been inspected more times than I can remember. We are around mini lobster season (small season not small lobsters) and FWC is really out in force at this time of year!

One last request. Please share your experience with us. Pictures are great, but even just a short paragraph detailing what you found and what the conditions were like. We have not been to Little Money Key since Hurricane Irma and I'd love to hear a report on conditions under the water!

Good luck and thanks.


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Old 07/11/2018, 08:41 PM   #490
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I'll be going to horseshoe and possibly little money tomorrow so I'm excited to see how they look after Irma


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Old 07/11/2018, 10:58 PM   #491
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Snorkeler looses a chunk to a shark at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
https://www.wptv.com/news/state/shar...n-florida-keys


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Old 07/12/2018, 01:59 AM   #492
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Snorkeler looses a chunk to a shark at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
https://www.wptv.com/news/state/shar...n-florida-keys
The Keys newspaper says they are not sure it was even a shark.

BTW did you know far more people are killed every year by hippopotamus than by sharks worldwide? It's true. And way more people in Florida are killed by lightning than attacked by a shark.


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Old 07/12/2018, 11:07 AM   #493
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The Keys newspaper says they are not sure it was even a shark.



BTW did you know far more people are killed every year by hippopotamus than by sharks worldwide? It's true. And way more people in Florida are killed by lightning than attacked by a shark.


I was not trying to scare anyone and was just sharing what I saw at my local newscast.

I'm a snorkeler, I have snorkeled at John Pennekamp, I intend to continue snorkeling, you can spare me the lecture.


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Old 07/13/2018, 08:04 PM   #494
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Hey Ron,
I went to horseshoe today, what a little gem!! I took some photos (though my phone died shortly after arriving). When I get back home on Sunday, I'll give you the details There were cucumbers, tons of emeralds, blue legs, orange claws, rock anemones, etc. I wasn't expecting that drop in horseshoe.. I wonder how deep it drops, I saw some huge fish eye balling me right where it drops down and gets dark lol I was to chicken to leave the edges.


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Old 07/14/2018, 03:57 AM   #495
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Hey Ron,
I went to horseshoe today, what a little gem!! I took some photos (though my phone died shortly after arriving). When I get back home on Sunday, I'll give you the details There were cucumbers, tons of emeralds, blue legs, orange claws, rock anemones, etc. I wasn't expecting that drop in horseshoe.. I wonder how deep it drops, I saw some huge fish eye balling me right where it drops down and gets dark lol I was to chicken to leave the edges.
Did you do any snorkeling around the outside of the horseshoe? The opening at the end has lots of cool stuff inside and outside the Horseshoe. Just out from the opening is a boat channel which is deeper that the surrounding bottom. A friend of ours always goes down in the channel and brings back very interesting stuff. There are always lion fish down there. Last June he brought up a huge arrow crab that stood about 6" tall. I appreciate your feedback and look forward to your next report.

Several scuba divers have told me the inside area of the horseshoe is roughly 40' deep and is mostly vertical walls with lots of small shelves and pockets. I understand there are lots of juvenile lobsters, coral banded shrimp and both red and white flame scallops tucked in the holes.


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Old 07/15/2018, 02:54 PM   #496
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When I was snorkeling horseshoe I dove to the bottom and I would say 40’ is right for the deepest part


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