14-Sep-2002 -- After learning of the Confluence Project (shortly after acquiring my GPS), I was a little disappointed that 'all' of the confluences in my home state of Florida were visited. After looking a little closer, I noticed two of the visited confluences were off-shore. Looking further I saw that 25N 81W is in the Everglades National Park (ENP). More specifically, it is in western Florida Bay, about 2.5 miles south of Sandy Key, nestled in the middle of an inter-tidal zone known as "Oxfoot Bank". After double-checking that it is within the boundaries of the state, Joe and I began making plans to visit.
Our trip began from Flamingo, FL, which is at the southern end of Florida's mainland, and serves as the main ranger station for visitors to ENP. We self-registered for our campsite since our trip included camping overnight on Carl Ross Key (about 3.25miles north of the confluence) and spoke briefly with a Park Ranger before launching the boat and getting underway. The confluence is only about 10 miles straight-line from Flamingo, but since it was near low tide and we were not in a shallow-draft boat, we had to travel east and then south around "First National Bank" (I'm not making this up... check a chart) to get to Carl Ross Key. After briefly checking out potential campsites, we proceeded to the confluence, since it was getting late in the day. We boated south to the "Green 11" mark and then proceeded southeast through a channel past "Red 10" and toward "Green 9X" before turning southwest to approach the confluence. Low tide had recently passed, and the water was only a few feet deep as we approached slowly. We could only get within about 60ft by boat, so we anchored and proceeded by other means. Joe hopped out of the boat the set an anchor and then waded to the confluence as I launched the kayak and paddled over. Standing at the confluence the water was less than 1 ft deep, but Joe's feet went at least another foot deeper into the muddy bottom. We lingered a few minutes to take photos, then headed back to the drier less-muddy confines of Joe's boat so we could race the sunset to get back to Carl Ross Key and set up camp.