Marathon, Florida Keys

I had a chance to visit the Marathon Key in the Florida Keys and never thought going to east coast beaches would be much different than the sandy west coast beaches that I am accustomed to. I always figured that all beaches were fairly similar. I never took into account that each beach is determined by what type of climate it is apart of. When walking into the water, it was very shallow for quite a ways. The water was warm, like bath water, very unlike our Southern California beaches. We have our warm days, but most of the time our waters are a bit chillier. The water was much clearer than water here on the west coast. I could see my feet no matter how deep I walked in. The beaches in Southern California have multiple colors that make it up, black, pink, white, brown, tan, etc. Many different sizes of sand from silt to very coarse sand can be found at even one beach. I usually notice maybe some driftwood wash up, rocks, and maybe some dune plants intermixed within the beach. The beach in the Florida Keys that I visited was mostly very light tan and the sand was incredibly small and soft, nothing larger than fine sand. There were no large pieces mixed in except for remnants of horseshoe crabs among other local crustaceans. The remnants and shells that I could find along the Marathon beach were all surprisingly enough, whole. If I could make jewelry, I could collect a few to make some if I wanted to. West coast shells tend to be more broken up and weathered. Some have been broken up and weathered down so much that I can never tell what species it came from. The beach in Marathon was very wide and flat with the palm trees right on the beach. It was a private beach, so it was incredibly quiet. No humans to be found around, not even the animals ventured through, except for the random, confused looking chicken every now and then that would strut through. Very unlike the west coast beaches that are full of locals and tourists alike sharing the space to enjoy it for many different kinds of recreation. I feel as though we have such a larger variety and number of species on the west coast beaches, though. Birds, especially, are up and down the west coastline hunting, pecking, and diving for food. These shorebirds are mostly pelicans, seagulls, turns, sandpipers, and snowy plovers. Not just birds, but other types of animal life is very different as well. Perhaps due to the humidity, which felt like a warm blanket swaddling my lungs and almost choking my breath, there were a lot of mosquitos and bugs. The insect life seemed to be flourishing everywhere in Marathon. I do not think I have ever noticed the insects on the west coast unless they intruded into my home. I have never really noticed the insects on our beaches though, other than some isopods and ants. It was such a wake-up call to realize that beaches were not just palm trees, sand, sun, and water alike; rather, they are individual ecosystems dependant on all manner of biotic and abiotic factors, and mostly human activity and location.

8 thoughts on “Marathon, Florida Keys

  1. Montes De Oca says:

    Hi, I really enjoyed reading your blog post on Marathon Key. I have never been to the east coast so after reading this I really want to see it for myself. I thought there would have been a lot of people at the beach since you said you were in a Florida beach and I always pictured Florida to be very ‘touristy’ like California so it was interesting to learn that you had that experience. I really enjoyed how you compared and contrasted California and Florida beaches!

    • occhino says:

      Thank you so much! It is a very beautiful place to visit at least once. It is so different than California. I am sure that the beaches on the mainland of Florida may be busier, but down in the keys, it was different. It was serene. I mean, some of the restaurants can get busier, but when you get to some of the beaches down there, they are quiet.

  2. Ventrone says:

    Hi! I really loved your blog, it was really cool hearing how you talked about the sand differences between here and Florida. I love how you mentioned the horshoe crabs (i love them) and all the other critters that they have there that we don’t see too often here. I think your post was did a really good job at comparing and contrasting the differences between the west and east coast beaches.

    • occhino says:

      I LOVE horseshoe crabs! I first saw a few when I moved to California and went to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. When I visited the keys in Florida, I had no idea that there was an abundance of them. I could find whole shells of them everywhere!

  3. DeVera says:

    Hello, I really enjoyed reading your blog post, and seeing how much you compared between west coast and east coast beaches. Much like the first comment, it was pretty surprising how you mentioned that there weren’t people there, especially in Florida. One of my favorite takeaways from your post is how you said, “beaches were not just palm trees, sand, sun, and water alike; rather, they are individual ecosystems dependent on all manner of biotic and abiotic factors, and mostly human activity and location.” A lot of people get this perception on how beaches seem to be just one thing, but they’re more than that. I think your post is a good read for those who’ve never seen the coast or been to the beach before.

    • occhino says:

      Thank you so much! As a girl that grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where our beaches were along Lake Michigan, I grew up with the idea of a beach having that image. I moved here to California and realized that California had all manners of beaches up and down its coast. The visiting Florida, I figured I wouldn’t have much of a shock to the difference, but I did. It’s just beautiful there. I mean, I love living here, but it was wonderful visiting the keys.

  4. Ferrer says:

    I enjoyed reading your post and i like how you described the beaches compared to the ones here in California. Im jealous that you were able to experience what a beach looks like on the east coast because I’ve never been. the pictures you posted are awesome as well!

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