The hold up at First National Bank in Florida Bay!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari.com digital029art.com First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades mud flats low tide canoe turtle grass Carl Ross Key

Satellite view of approximate outline of First National Bank on Florida Bay.

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When I experienced a hold up at First National Bank,

it was a real stick-up job!

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Aerial First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

Aerial Seagull’s eye-view of my kayak stuck on the low tide mud flats that are First National Bank in Florida Bay.
CLICK for full screen VR 360 spin around Panorama !

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The hold up was the tide, or lack there of.

The stick up job was with my pole aerial photography rig!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari First National Bank Florida Bay kayak Everglades mud flats low tide turtle grass Key

The stick up job at First National Bank on Florida Bay! 😮

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First National Bank appears to have been named in jest by Flamingo residents of old (along with many other funny names). There are several other ‘banks’, but First National is the most interesting due to it’s geographical position in Florida Bay and the thousands and thousands of birds that make a living out there!

The bank is located in Western Florida Bay which experiences extreme tidal swings and huge sections of flats can get exposed for several hours. They can easily be miles and miles across.

It’s very easy to get stuck out here accidentally, so it’s best to always be crossing with a rising tide! For planning, go with the East Cape tide models.

Also remember that you are very close to the gulf here and that means that most of the water will be coming in during about the last hour of the flood cycle!

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay aerial kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

Aerial birds-eye view, like a Seagull flying, First National Bank in Florida Bay.
ART of the Bay – Florida Bay Landscapes

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If you get stranded on the bank, you could be held hostage for hours!

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It’s an interesting kind of place, and I’ve actually stranded myself here a few times on purpose. First National Bank isn’t as much of a paddling destination as a temporary place to hang out. At about 6 miles out of Flamingo it stands between you and Sandy Key on the very edge of Florida Bay and Everglades National Park proper.

If you time it right, day or night – you could be in for a real treat and sometimes a long wait, so bring refreshments!

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

A distant key floats like a mirage over First National Bank on low tide.
Kayakfari ART Photography.

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

Sandy Key and Carl Ross Key several impassable miles due south across First National Bank.

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

Fishermen a couple of miles away in a distant channel on First National Bank.

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

Fishing boat poling along a distant flats channel, while birds feed on First National Bank.

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When you settle in and hang out for a while you will notice how pristine Florida Bay appears , and in general it really is. But it’s not without it’s own problems, just like the rest of the Everglades ecosystem. Since the 1980’s there have been huge algal blooms and massive grass die-offs that have decimated large tracts of Florida Bay. The ‘Bay is always saltier than the ocean, but sometimes hyper-saline conditions can persist for years. This appears to be linked to reduced freshwater flow into the Shark River Slough and thereby out the Shark River into the Gulf  & ‘Bay. Another problem which has come to light recently is high nutrient “polluted” water coming down from Lake Okeechobee. Both in 2016 and now again in 2018, the combination of high water levels, hot temperatures and polluted water has resulted in huge algal blooms in the lake. The discharges from Lake Okeechobee have then helped to foster conditions for Red Tide along the Southwest coastline of Florida. All this has led to dirty water and poor conditions for Western Florida Bay and you can find huge patches of dead sea grass beds! Hopefully ongoing Everglades restoration efforts will restore more natural sheet flow for all the ‘Glades and among other things help keep  salinity levels normal in Florida Bay!

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ART of the Bay – Florida Bay Landscapes

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Being out there is the ultimate in chill! It’s so quiet, you will hear bird wings flap as they fly by and the slightest disturbance in what little water is left. Like the many small sharks hunting in the flats all around you. Then when the water drops you can easily stand in your boat and stretch out. Don’t try walking across the bank – it’s really slick soft mud, almost like quicksand. It will tear the shoes off your feet and any step could easily be up to your knees .. best to wait it out!

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

Stuck in the mud – it’s best to wait it out for more water!

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Be nice to the bank!

Healthy Turtle grass beds are very important for the food chain of Florida Bay and to the fishing economy of the Keys.

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

Tip-toeing gingerly over First National Bank 😉

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

The tide is dropping on First National Bank.

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

Exposed Turtlegrass beds of First National Bank.

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Chickees and Keys in Florida Bay – Kayaking, Camping and Nice Dreams!

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

Mirror to the lush forest of Turtle grass beds on First National Bank!

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 Exploring the Underside of the Surface!

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

Mirror, mirror of the flats, who’s the lushest of them all?!
The lush Turtle grass forest of First National Bank.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari First National Bank Florida Bay kayak Everglades mud flats low tide turtle grass Key

Small sharks love to hunt in the shallows of First National Bank, often in just inches of water!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari First National Bank Florida Bay kayak Everglades mud flats low tide turtle grass Key

The sharks are always on the prowl, especially just before dawn on a filling tide.
With stealth, sometimes you can get quite close in a kayak!

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Chances are that you will not see another person for miles around. Along the fringes and channels of the bank you might see flats fishermen way in the distance. Fishing is very popular on Florida Bay, with many species like  Snook, Redfish, Snapper, Trout & Jacks, even Tarpon lurking in the waters all around you.

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Florida Bay is a giant tidal lagoon estuary,

and First National Bank is in the thick of it!

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

Settle in and soak into the sunset!
Kayakfari ART Photography.

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

You might have only a few inches of water under your kayak here.

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

Golden late afternoon sun shimmers over the dropping tide on First National Bank.

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ART of the Bay – Florida Bay Landscapes

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

At night, even the turtle grass lays down to sleep at low tide!

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

On extreme low tide there are a few shoals you can temporarily get out on, day or night.

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ART of Darkness – Camping with the Stars! Part II

It’s full of Stars!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer kayak camping stars night Everglades landscape pano print art Florida Bay slough shark 360 whole sky milky way galaxy

Whole sky 360 panorama of the Milky Way on a moonless night.
Note glow from Miami/FLL at upper left and Marathon in the Keys at lower right.
CLICK for Story!

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There’s nothing like sweet silence in the dark!

To be stranded out there in the middle of the bank on a moonless night with the stars above is an experience not to be missed!

🙂

Darkness has it’s privileges!

First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan milky way stars night

The Milky Way over First National Bank in Florida Bay.
CLICK for story!

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It’s easy to see why Florida Bay has the darkest skies in South Florida. You are about as far as you can get from all the light pollution!

Our Milky Way is easily seen on any moonless night.

http://www.lightpollutionmap.info

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan Night Satelite NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

South Florida at night, First National Bank (approximate outline in blue).
NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

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A full moon can be so bright out over Florida Bay that you can read by it!

full moon kayakfari fever kayak florida bay night Rabbit in the Moon

Rabbit in the Moon over First National Bank!

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NIGHT LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY and DIGITAL ART from the EVERGLADES, FLORIDA BAY, TEN THOUSAND ISLANDS, BIG CYPRESS & BEYOND!

(click pic to enter)

Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer kayak camping stars night Everglades landscape pano print art Florida Bay slough shark camping with the stars

ART of Darkness – Camping with the Stars! Part I
“A Trip to the Moon!”

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flex maslan kayakfari florida bay kayak summer paddle everglades chickee Camp flats tide turtle grass Keys heat adventure thunder storm

“I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles”
Everglades hot summer camping and cruising – the Central & Western Florida Bay loop!

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

Sometimes you get lucky with a little bit of space to work on a full moon tan! 🙂

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

Mornings can be busy – like an airport as thousands of birds come to feed on First National Bank.
CLICK for fullscreen superwide extreme telephoto panorama!

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

White Pelicans flock to rest and chatter on the bank in Florida Bay.
Welcoming the fall arrival of White Pelicans in Florida Bay!

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ART of the Bay – Florida Bay Landscapes

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First National Bank kayakfari Florida Bay kayak Everglades Flex Maslan mud flats low tide

Birds are the real superheroes of Florida Bay!
The Everglades are for the birds!

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Flex Maslan Florida Bay Kayak Everglades birds kayakfari photography wildlife portraits habitat birding florida artist

White Pelicans flying low over First National Bank on Florida Bay!
Welcoming the fall arrival of White Pelicans in Florida Bay!

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flex maslan everglades kayakfari summer heat kayak paddle camp surrender hot storms sun protection miami florida

On top of the bank in Florida Bay.
Surrender to the summer HEAT!

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flex maslan kayakfari florida bay kayak summer paddle everglades chickee Camp flats tide turtle grass Keys heat adventure thunder storm

First National Bank remains low even on a rising tide until the last couple of hours to high!
Everglades hot summer camping and cruising – the Central & Western Florida Bay loop!

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flex maslan everglades kayakfari summer heat kayak paddle camp surrender hot storms sun protection miami florida

Imposing cloud formations over the distant Everglades as seen from First National Bank.
Surrender to the summer HEAT!

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When the water fills back in – it’s time to GO!

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A complete white-out on the Bay over First National Bank

“White-out in fog over First National Bank on a much higher tide”.
ART of the Bay – Florida Bay Landscapes

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Enjoy your time out on the ‘Bay!

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More on Florida Bay kayaking here:

Chickees and Keys in Florida Bay – Kayaking, Camping and Nice Dreams!

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kayakfari photography art Florida Bay aerial kayak Everglades Flex Maslan landscape panoramic print sea Champagne Dawn

Dawns like this can be found on Florida Bay!
Kayakfari digital ART photography – “Champagne Dawn”

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Kayakfari ART landscape photography and

Digital Art by Flex Maslan

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To learn more about Florida Bay I can recommend this informative and beautifully done book. There is a wealth of information inside along with incredible images by internationally recognized and top local Everglades photographers. If you like Florida Bay and the Keys, you will LOVE this book!

Full Disclosure: A few of my images are in it too.

Everglades Foundation Florida Bay Forever book photography Flex Maslan kayakfari kayak canoe water keys Maslin kayakfari.com dan burkhardt acclaim press published jimmy buffett fishing

“Florida Bay Forever” – Everglades Foundation book edited by Dan Burkhardt (with some photography by Flex Maslan).
Cover photo by Rob O’Neal

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© 2013-2018 Flex Maslan / kayakfari.com / awakenthegrass.com. All original photographs, artworks and music in this portfolio are copyrighted and owned by the artist, Flex Maslan, unless otherwise noted. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited.

All rights reserved!

DISCLAIMER:

The maps and images on this site are not intended for navigation, I am not a guide; use any and all information at your own risk! Your mileage may vary .. so use good judgement before venturing out!

I hereby disclaim any sponsorship, endorsement, nor association with any product or service described herein. The photographs, depictions, products, and ideas presented on this site are for informational purposes only. Your results may vary, and I do not imply nor guarantee the effectiveness, suitability, design or operation to adhere to any standard. I assume no legal responsibility for the implementation of anything herein presented! Use any and all information at your own risk! By using any and all information from this website, you accept the final liability for any use or possible associated misuse!

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With that said..
Blessings friends!

🙂

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11 comments on “The hold up at First National Bank in Florida Bay!

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