"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

February 4, 2016

Feb. 3 – Boca Chita Key, FL

Biscayne National Park

“At some point in life, the world’s beauty becomes enough.”—Toni Morrison

I’ve read and seen pictures of Boca Chita for years. It's a beautiful little spot that is part of Biscayne National Park. Biscayne National Park is within sight of downtown Miami. The park protects one of the most extensive coral reef tracts in the world, the longest stretch of mangrove forest on the east coast, the clear, shallow waters of Biscayne Bay and the northernmost Florida Keys. Ninety-five percent of the park’s 172,971 acres is water.

Mark C. Honeywell, a wealthy industrialist and his wife purchased the Boca Chita Key in 1937. They built many structures on the island between 1937-1940 including a chapel, a lighthouse, a pavilion for holding picnic, a generator room and a garage. The Honeywells and their guests would come from Miami in their luxury yachts to enjoy picnics and parties held on the island. The canon located near the lighthouse would be fired to welcome their guests. Honeywell's wife died before a house could be built on the island and he sold it in 1945. It became part of Biscayne National Park in 1990 and is one of its favorite islands. We heard it can be a loud obnoxious place to be on the weekend, loaded with partiers and music that is played late into the night, but our experience was just the opposite…it was very quiet and relaxing. We enjoyed hiking around the island, walking on the beach and looking at the lighthouse. We had the island almost to ourselves…definitely one of our favorite new places.

Boca Chita Lighthouse is used as the symbol for Biscayne National park. It is 65-foot and was built in the 1930s. Honeywell built it with the objective of using it as a navigation guide for his business operations on the island. However, a few hours after the lighthouse was lighted and commissioned, it was closed down, as he had failed to inform and obtain permission from the U.S. Coast Guard about the purpose of his project. The U.S. Coast Guard considered it a navigation hazard, as it was not charted. The top deck of the lighthouse provides scenic views of the bay, ocean, Miami, Key Biscayne, and the skyline of the Miami Beach.

The view from the top of Boca Chita Lighthouse
If you look very close you can see the Miami skyline on the left side of this picture
Boca Chita Lighthouse
Looking into the harbor from the lighthouse
The Chapel
Looking across Biscayne Bay to Miami
Treasures from the sea
One of the best sunsets we've ever seen
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