South Twin Island



South Twin Island


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South Twin Island is a small island located in the Gulf of Mexico. The island is only about 1.5 km in length and has a maximum width of 0.5 km. The island is uninhabited and has been declared as a wildlife sanctuary. South Twin Island is an important nesting site for the federally threatened piping plover.

South Twin Island


South Twin Island was first discovered by Europeans in the late 1600s. At that time, the island was inhabited by Native Americans. In 1811, Spanish explorer Alejandro Malaspina named the island after two of his ships, “la Trinidad” and “la Isabella”. The British claimed South Twin Island in 1819 and began to colonize it. However, they abandoned the island in 1862 due to a cholera epidemic.

In 1901, University of Texas professor Worth Mereness found several relics on South Twin Island that suggested ancient European contact with America pre-dating Christopher Columbus. Mereness also found seals in abundance.[1]

On 21 July 2009, the island remained uninhabited after a series of hurricanes made landfall on Florida since 2007. The governors of Texas and Louisiana created an agreement to allow harvesting native oysters from South Twin Island for commercial purposes as part-time residents began reoccupying the islands beginning 27 June 2010[2]. Subsistence living is still allowed by land owners who lease easements for residency; however, no long term occupying inhabitants are permitted so that any potential discoveries may be protected wherein invasive species or other natural dangers (such as sharks) currently pose.[3][4]

In 2012, archaeologists discovered artifacts at the site dating back to between 1150 and 1200 AD that predate European contact[5]. Other claims exist which hint of human pre-contact inhabitants on South Twin Island as well. The Sims family in Texas obtained a cased mummified infant skeleton under mysterious circumstances; Jim Turner, an avid bird watcher found out after following Native American migration routes he was not alone when encountered bone fragments from other unknown large mammals such as wild hogs or deer bones around settlement sites near his home.


Due to its proximity to the Gulf Stream, South Twin Island experiences a milder climate than mainland Florida. The average high temperature in January is 51 degrees Fahrenheit while the average low temperature is 29 degrees Fahrenheit. In July, the high temperate reaches 83 degrees and lows reach 66 degrees F .

Average rainfall is 67 inches of which .15 inches falls in the month of June. Rainfall increases at a monotonic rate from July through October then decreases steadily until February when it reaches an average storm season with abnormal rains and storms that may be attributed to tropical systems moving into hurricane form as El Niño dissipates. In short, South Twin Island does not receive abnormally high or low amounts of precipitation for the year but forms within its own rainy/dry period with no such consistency occurring (compared to other islands).

Since this island location receives more direct exposure tp cold Atlantic Ocean water, South Twin Island can be considered a chiller than other islands.

Landscape and Vegetation

Due to its position within the Gulf of Mexico it is subject to tropical storms with hurricane force winds; consistent exposure to this extreme weather renders South Twin Island completely stable in terms of vegetation. The island has sandy beaches complimented by underlying dense palm land properties which bloom intermittently every 2–6 years due as they do with intermittent droughts/floods (which occurs naturally high up on Florida’s west coast). This area contains trees but all are small and sparsely planted . The area is mostly used to wild life.

Water Environment Locations on South Twin Island


Native Americans inhabited this island long before Europeans set foot on the land. The name South Twin Island is of French origin taken from a map that inaccurately depicted two islands as one . It wasn’t until 1800 when Englishman, Alexander Coombs learned about the twin island’s existence and sailed there on his own accord in order to explore it

Visitors are only allowed by permit; fishing, boating and swimming are not allowed. There is no cell phone service so visitors must bring their own food and supplies with them. No cars or other motorized vehicles capable of leaving the island can be on the island.

The Stanley family handles non-emergency police matters on South Twin Island and as such are authorized to issue up to five permits for individuals staying overnight in order of approaching seniority: Master Key, Lt Commander (VIP), 2nd Lieutenant Cadet Nelson, Senior Pris namor Captian S. Noxon .


The island is uninhabited and thus has no governing authority. As such, any issues or disputes that might occur on the island must be settled between the residents of Stanley Key West by “gentleman’s agreement, an arm-wrestling contest or a fistfight” .

Government services

There is no government service available on South Twin Island. Any services that would be required, such as medical care or utilities, must either be brought in by the island’s residents or arranged through a third party .


The island’s economy revolves around fishing and tourism. Fishing is limited to subsistence levels due to protection of marine life and stringent regulations enforced by NOAA .

Tourism consists primarily of overnight camping trips organized through Stanley Key West. There are also a few small businesses located on the island including a general store and restaurant run by Captian Sully Noxon , a dive shop, the “Boat Monkey Grocery”, and the nonprofit South Twin Island Library .


Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, South Twin Island is an uninhabited island that is also known as the “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” The island’s isolation has led it to have a remarkable and diverse flora and fauna. The island is also home to a population of Hawai’ian monk seals that are considered to be a critically endangered species.


What Are The Restrictions On Fishing On South Twin Island?

South Twin island is a marine protected area, so there are strict regulations enforced by NOAA regarding what can and cannot be caught in the waters around the island. Fishing for subsistence purposes is limited tocatching finfish such as dolphinfish, mahimahi and monkfish.

How Do Tourists Get To South Twin Island?

Tourism to South twin island revolves around overnight camping trips that are organized through Stanley Key West . There are also a few small businesses located on the island including a general store and restaurant run by Captian Sully Noxon, a dive shop called Scuba Blue and the non-profit South Twin Library.

What Are The Dates For Setting An Anchor?

The last day of NOAA’s rules is on October 15th every year . Those Islands that have bills passed through congress would maintain their existing regulations except for those certified ports of entry .

How Can I Get Involved?

There are a few ways you could help to save South Twin Island for future generations to access by joining the list below of email updates that have upcoming events on the islands social media channels or go ahead and put signs up in your yard as villagers often did over 2,000 years ago.

What Are The Island’s Current Conditions?

South Twin Island is currently in good condition with coral reefs and a healthy amount of vegetation. Recent visitor feedback has noted that there is more activity on the island than ever before including humpback whales, dolphins and monk seals.

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