Tags

, , , , , , ,

A ferry ride to Egmont Key for Snorkeling

Having lived in the Tampa Bay Area for 25 years I found it odd I hadn’t explored Egmont Key before. Afterall, it is easy to get to and is a wonderful outdoor experience filled with all the things I enjoy.

The Tampa Bay Ferry leaves from the main pier at Fort Desoto and is fairly well signposted.

The Tampa Bay Ferry leaves from the main pier at Fort Desoto and is fairly well signposted.

We set off with friends for the 11:00 ferry ride from the Pier at Fort Desoto. Hubbards Marina runs service quite regularly and the staff on the ferry couldn’t be friendlier.  There is up to date information on the Fort Desoto Ferry to Egmont Key site.  There are underwater cameras for sale, water, sunscreen and all of it reasonably priced – a nice surprise.

Onboard the ferry from Ft. Desoto to Egmont Key, St. Petersburg, Florida.

Onboard the ferry from Ft. Desoto to Egmont Key, St. Petersburg, Florida.

I don’t recall the price offhand but it was well worth it and you can buy your tickets on the ferry.  If it is full, they will make another trip – they’re that nice.  So we opted to go snorkeling around the old historic and sunken fort which means that the first stop will be Egmont Key for sunbathing and exploring.

One of the many beaches at Egmont Key.  This is where the ferry drops you off from Ft. Desoto, St. Petersburg.

One of the many beaches at Egmont Key. This is where the ferry drops you off from Ft. Desoto, St. Petersburg.

We stayed on the ferry while others got off.  The beautiful white sandy beaches and no cars on the small island must be wonderful and we will go back to experience that.  The trip takes about 15 minutes.

Ample snorkeling equipment is aboard the Tampa Bay Ferry from Fort Desoto, St. Petersburg to Egmont Key.

Ample snorkeling equipment is aboard the Tampa Bay Ferry from Fort Desoto, St. Petersburg to Egmont Key.

Once we let off passengers for the beach, and the ferry literally pulls up to the beach, we all get to the back of the ferry so it dislodges from the sand and we’re off to the other side of the island and at our snorkeling spot in about 15 minutes.  We always bring our gear but they have ample gear onboard the ferry and were quick to offer help to anyone who had never snorkeled.

Ruins in the Gulf of Mexico at Egmont Key, St. Petersburg, Florida are perfect for snorkeling.

Ruins in the Gulf of Mexico at Egmont Key, St. Petersburg, Florida are perfect for snorkeling.

We got out and there were quite a few boats near the ruins with a lot of people snorkeling.  This was a Sunday and beautiful weather so we expected the water to be a bit cloudy with all the activity and we were correct.  The water was incredible and we snorkeled out to one of the partially submerged ruins and went around it and back to another.

The stunning waters of the Gulf of Mexico off Egmont Key are perfect for snorkelers exploring these ruins of an old fort.

The stunning waters of the Gulf of Mexico off Egmont Key are perfect for snorkelers exploring these ruins of an old fort.

There were people actually out on the ruins but we stayed in the water and saw quite a few interesting fish in and around the ruins.  It was very interesting and relaxing to see, however, I’d suggest being careful if there are swells as you can run into the ruins if you’re not careful and that would hurt!

The beach view from the ruins off Egmont Key, St. Petersburg, Florida.

The beach view from the ruins off Egmont Key, St. Petersburg, Florida.

In all we spent probably 45 minutes in the water snorkeling around and seeing some great fish.  If there were fewer people there we would have been able to see more and people have told me that normally it is very quiet in this spot on weekdays which makes sense.

Regardless, this was an incredible experience and I can’t wait to explore the beach and island another time.  It looks gorgeous from the sunken ruins.  If you plan to do the island, remember there are absolutely no services on the island.

Happy explorations.

About these ads