Once upon a time, Passage Key, just off the north end of Anna Maria Island, had a farm, an artesian well, and a few inhabitants. But with the passage of time (pun intended) the island changed.
Strong currents, passing storms and the normal flow of water in and out of Tampa Bay turned the Key into a sub-surface sandbar, following the heavy hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005. Although no hurricanes actually crossed the island, it sank beneath the waves, only to reappear at low, low tide.
But quite surprisingly, Passage Key has risen above the waves recently. In its recent past, it was a place where naturists, or nudists, if you prefer, would take boats to the sandbar, anchor, and stand around knee-deep in water and bask in the sun.
Now, there’s actual land, and the nudists are still going to the island. And they’re walking up on the sand, where there is an official seabird sanctuary. Nesting birds, and ‘loafing’ birds now inhabit the big sandbar, which is now above the waves at all times.
They should not be interfering with the birds; the island is clearly marked, and stakes and signs tell them to keep off.
A local television station recently did a story. Here’s the news from Channel 8, Tampa: CLICK HERE