POSTSCRIPT TO ISLANDS OF THE BAY
Duane K. McCullough
Image of boat prop scars in Florida Bay
This book project began as a simple essay that was intended to help inform fellow tour guide captains about the natural history of Florida Bay -- however, it came apparent to me overtime that valuable views were being recorded in print and images that would help many visitors themselves better appreciate the many wonders of the area.
During my nature tours, I occasionally get asked whether I have seen loss of habitat because of human impact on the environment -- and I have to say yes. The most obvious impacts are the boat prop scars in the sea grass meadows and on the bodies of manatee animals. Other impacts to the environment include the loud roaring noise of large speedboats as they travel through the area while spewing oil products into the air and water.
Even within the Inter-coastal Waterway, when large boat props dredge the bottom, the nutrient silt that is stirred up can feed alga weeds that further smother the nearby sea grass meadows is not a good thing. Some people do not realize or care that sound itself can pollute the general health of an area.
These impacts would be reduced if modern aeronautical technology could invent a safer and quieter method of watercraft propulsion system than the current motor boat design of controlled explosive gas action linked to the screw-prop movement of pushing water.
Actually, such aeronautical propulsion technology has existed for centuries -- it's called paddling and sailing. However, to be realistic, many visitors to the Florida Bay realm simply do not have the time to experience the area without help from some kind of motor device that speeds their travel time.
What could help reduce the human impact on the environment would be some kind of affordable watercraft design that could quietly move over water at safe speeds using propulsion technology based on non-evasive motion energy such as gyroscopic motion motors.
But until that day arrives wherein such theoretical propulsion technology could safely move future watercraft without impacting the environment, many operators of current motor boat technology should be much more careful with their boats.
There is only one Florida Bay in this world and visitors need to take better care of it today so there will life to see tomorrow. Real caretakers take only memories during their travels and leave only good things in their path.
UPDATE: In 2006 my wife & I moved to Western North Carolina for several reasons and I do not give nature tours from Key Largo into Florida Bay anymore. One reason is that my daily exposure to the sun was taking a toll on my skin and my wife & I decided to retire to the cooler environment of the southern Appalachian Mountains.
Hurricane Wilma in October of 2005 also pushed the idea of seeking a new homestead because the thought of possibly loosing your home to hurricanes every year was growing old.
As of 2018, my brother & his wife still own Caribbean Watersports and now operate out at the Playa Largo Resort at MM 97.45 in Key Largo.
Please feel free to visit when you can and I hope you have a great time in the Florida Keys.
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