Sparky goes in to Peanut Island every day for his walks and we have hiked the trail around the entire island many times. After about 2 months I figured I was long overdue to finally do a Peanut Island tour from the water.
It was blowing pretty hard the other day, but I figured once I get out of the wind it wouldn’t be too bad. So I dropped our tiny undersized kayak in and braved the weather.
Peanut Island is a manmade island that was built in 1918 from material from the dredging of Lake Worth Inlet. It was originally called Inlet Island and was only 10 acres. By 1923 it was being used as the spoil area for the entire Port of West Palm. A Coast Guard Station was put on the island in 1936, which was relocated to the mainland in 1995. The old station is now part of a maritime museum.
There was also a bunker built on the island for President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which is also part of the tour. Today the island is still used as a spoil area for dredging of the port as well as the Intracoastal Waterway, and has grown to about 80 acres in size. It’s also now a county park, with beaches, overnight camping, and nice snorkeling and paddling.
As I left the boat I paddled across the wind in some pretty strong chop, which amazingly didn’t push me up onto the beach. Once I cleared the docks on the northeast side and made my turn I got a nice and easy downwind ride. I was able to take some pictures and really didn’t paddle much except to occasionally steer the kayak.
On the southeast side of the island I entered a small cut in between the pseudo jetties. Inside is a small protected area where I was completely shielded from the wind. This spot is known as the snorkel area, but there is some nice snorkeling right off the beach, right in front of the inlet as well. Of course going off of the beach you’re not going to be protected from the wind and will be more affected by the tide.
After leaving the snorkel area I continued my paddle along the south side of the island, enjoying the view of the old Coast Guard Station. Once I cleared the south side of the island I was back into the wind. It was a very slow and exhausting upwind paddle to get to the docks on the west side.
After getting back into protected water again there was a short trail in the mangroves to both the north and south of the docks that I explored. At this point I actually debated dragging the kayak back to the beach where the Turtle is anchored to avoid another upwind struggle. Since I was already more than half way up the west shore and no longer going directly into the wind I decided to keep pushing.
After another short upwind paddle I was back on the north side of the island where we’re anchored. Then it was and even shorter and easier crosswind paddle to get back to the boat. Overall it took me about 1-1/2 hours to explore the entire island. Peanut Island is a nice little place to paddle, but I really do miss The Keys.