Tag Archive: reef

Cap’n Larry Jarboe: The Boat That Does It All

Quite a few years ago, back in the mid-1970’s, I was fortunate to work as a mate then captain of a large passenger carrying boat that took people snorkeling on the shallow coral reefs of John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo, Florida.

I promoted our business with the phrase “If you can swim, you can snorkel.” Twice a day, we hauled up to 61 passengers a trip on a wooden Harkers Island-built boat to witness the amazing coral reefs and tropical fish that are found right here in the United States.

Today, the State Park concession that I worked from has about 4 multi-passenger snorkel boats that have evolved from that one vessel.

Like snorkeling, there are many marine sports that have sprouted over my lifetime.

Obviously, canoes have been with us for many years. But, who figured out that you could sit on top of a kayak or stand up to paddle a fat surfboard? These are relatively recent innovations that have attracted a huge following.

Then, there are those Wave Runners. When I grew up in the Fifties, we never figured you could have a motorcycle that flew across the water.

All of those sports are fun for those of us who swim but owning all four: a canoe, kayak, paddle board and Wave Runner is expensive, space consuming, and a major maintenance hassle.

What if one vessel did all this, and more?

The Wavewalk catamaran style skiff is the stable and portable boat that literally, does it all. A visit to the company website at wavewalk.com will show you the W500 and W700 solo and tandem twin hull kayaks that are easy on your back because they are straddled like a Wave Runner. Fishermen are especially fond of the Wavewalk design because they are so easy to stand up in order to spot or cast to their prey.

These magic boats can be paddled with kayak or canoe paddles or outfitted for gas outboard or electric trolling motor or both! And, they are lightweight enough to carry on top of your car without a special carrying rack or trailer.

I discovered the Wavewalk design while I was searching the Internet for the perfect kayak to establish a retirement rental business in Key Largo. My first Wavewalk was purchased at retail price. That little W500 was so good that I used it in my commercial fishing business in the Chesapeake region to supply Blue Catfish fillets to Linda’s Cafe in downtown Lexington Park and the Victorian Candle Bed and Breakfast in historic Hollywood, Maryland.

At present, in addition to two commercial fishing work boats, I have a fleet of Wavewalk kayaks for weekend Wavewalk Adventures in the State Parks and National Sanctuaries that surround Key Largo.

And, I am fortunate to be the exclusive Wavewalk distributor for all of South Florida. Contact me if you are in the Chesapeake region and I can arrange for you to have your own Wavewalk kayak.

On a nearly daily basis, I motor my green W700 skiff through mangrove creeks or out in the ocean to make my own adventures exploring places that are almost impossible to reach by any other method of marine conveyance. This Wavewalk lifestyle is a most wonderful and unexpected retirement pastime that I am most happy to share.

So, if you are tired of being cold this winter and want an excuse to visit the Florida Keys, you have one (as if you really need an excuse to visit paradise).

A trip to my website at floridafishingkayaks.com. will provide all the info you need to schedule a free Wavewalk Wednesday demo of this vessel. Or, a weekend rental with included guide service might be a way to enjoy a complete kayak, canoe, stand-up paddle board package in a boat that “does it all.”

Who knows? You might drive home with one.

Welcome aboard.

Cap’n Larry Jarboe

 

 

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Fishing in Key Largo, Florida

Captain Larry Jarboe, of Key Largo, Florida, is Wavewalk’s authorized dealer for south Florida.
He recently retired from his business in Maryland, and moved to live in Key Largo permanently, where he’s developing a diverse business that includes commercial fishing, reselling Wavewalk kayaks and boats, and guided fishing tours offshore, at the reef, in the mangroves, and in the nearby everglades.

Here is an ocean fishing video shot on board Larry’s mother ship –

Larry’s website: floridafishingkayaks.com

Snorkeling at the Elbow Reef with our electric catamaran kayak

By Capn’ Larry Jarboe

Finally, the wind laid down, so my wife and I took the W500 out to a deeper reef at the edge of the Gulf Stream. There was 50 feet of visibility at the Elbow Reef which is about average for here but pretty darn good elsewhere in the U.S.
It is really nice having a buddy to enjoy the scenery. And, also to keep the snorkel sled from drifting while I free dove to work the GoPro camera.

I’ll be doing some major maintenance and rewiring of the mother ship. Thus, the motorized W700 will be my distance runner for awhile.

Enjoy the clear water. We did.

Wavewalk catamaran fishing kayak from a shark's point of view 1024

Different angle: View of diver and electric Wavewalk 500 kayak from within the water

 

View from the mother ship

 

 

Electric catamaran snorkel sea sled with my Wavewalk 500

By Capn’ Larry Jarboe

Yesterday, I threw the white W500 set up as a sea sled on top of my engine box of the “Line Dancer” and pounded through a close sloppy chop to a pocket of calm water over 3 miles offshore of Key Largo.
Though the wind was blowing 15-20 miles out of the Southeast, the water behind Grecian Rocks was flat calm. Low tide forces the coral bottom above the surface and creates a natural breakwater to find shelter behind.
Here is a perfect place to enjoy an afternoon with my wife and experiment with the snorkel sea sled concept.
This incarnation has the trolling motor in the bow which is much safer and easier to steer than the stern mount position. The on/off speed control extension is a length of PVC that clips on to the throttle handle.
I took the sea sled away from the calm part of the reef to avoid the crowd and the protected “no catch” zone.
Beyond the reef, in a foot and a half close chop and relatively murky water, the sea sled pulled well without shipping any water into the hulls. There were no lobsters in the holes that I checked which confirms reports from the early season.
But Santiago my W500 worked very well and still has a special place on my boat, in my truck, and in my life.
Santiago is not for sale…

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Electric Wavewalk 700 in Key Largo snorkeling tour

By Captain Larry Jarboe

W700 shuttle to the reef –

Wavewalking is not just about fishing.

Yesterday, in Key Largo, the wind was ripping about 20-25 kts. out of the East. We had a friend from NYC who was facing her last vacation day in the Keys. My wife had promised her a snorkel trip on the reef and it was my job to make it happen.

Despite the gusty wind and skirting a large squall, I knew the conditions would afford a calm pocket of water behind Grecian Rocks on dead low tide.

After a rather tumultuous ride offshore, we tied to one of the mooring balls behind the reef. Due to shifting wind, the mooring lines have to be far away enough from the coral rocks to allow boats to swing 360 degrees and not hit the shallow reef. This means snorkelers have to swim the distance of about half a football field of grass and sand to get to the edge of the reef where most of the fish reside.

This is a long way for many people to swim against the wind surge but it beats trying to snorkel in 4-5 foot seas which was the norm everywhere else..

I launched my W700 with a bow mounted Minnkota Rip Tide electric trolling motor from the mother ship. A line tied to a ring buoy trailed as a stern line to tow my two masked grand matrons to snorkeling nirvana. Of course, I waited at the edge of the reef to provide a place of rest and a leisurely ride home.

In addition to fishing, duck hunting, exploring, stand up joystick water skimming or laid back paddle yakking, the W700 makes a fine yacht tender as well as a snorkeler shuttle service to the reef.

Saddled aboard his trusty Wavewalk steed, indeed, Larry, The Stable Guy, got ‘er done.

Again…

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