You’ll have to scroll down to see the rest of the fish (too big to fit in this photo hahaha)
Spring break! Woooo!!! The week was a whirlwind tour of some of my favorite spots and things to do in southwest Florida (where I grew up).
Here you can see the water is amber colored (this is in the Caloosahatchee river which flows out of Lake Okeechobee) oh, and some dolphins!
Conveniently located bait shop haha
Osprey with a fish
Toes in the sand
Lots of shells
Little fiddler crabs
We spotted lots of dolphins in the river, estuary and Gulf
Out in the gulf they are easy to spot!
Those structures are called fish huts, or fish shacks or fish cabins…The Department of Natural Resources, as the Florida state environmental agency was called in the mid 1980s, believed the structures were navigational hazards and destructive to sea grasses. And they also believed that since they had no plumbing, the people using them as bunk houses were likely creating sanitation problems. So the state started burning them down. Locals who wanted to preserve the fish huts were able to debunk these concern, according to Gladys Schneider of Bokeelia. She was hired as a consultant to compile the documentation needed to have the shanties declared historic. So our fish huts are still with us and a number are listed on National Register of Historic Places. (source)
Pulling up to North Captiva (Gulf of Mexico)
North Captiva; a long but very thin island; only a hundred yards or so wide in places (that’s Pop walking to the estuary side of the island)
Royal Terns, Black Skimmers and other birds
King’s Crown shell
The water isn’t as clear in the estuary as on the Gulf side but it is one of my favorite types of habitats to explore
There are many live shells in the estuary
Live shells on the gulf side too! This is a large horse conch
Mmm looks yummy (haha; we threw it back)
This ground cover plant was very cool
The shallow grassy flats (the areas darker in color) are great places to spot lots of little creatures like sea horses, pipe fish, live shells, crabs and fish
The water on the estuary side of the island is brackish (a mix of fresh and salty water that changes depending on things like tide, rainfall and how much water is released from Lake Okeechobee (80 miles up the Caloosahatchee River from here).
Around the docks there are sea stars, sea slugs, fish, shells, crabs and other little creatures
Bow and arrow for fishing
Hunting for bait…While we were in this spot we saw a small bonnethead shark (illegal to shoot; quite unsportsman-like to catch with a bow and arrow (it would be like shooting fish in a barrell) (couldn’t resist haha). We were searching for rays (the fishing guide called them skates but really they are Southern Stingrays).
Got one (actually 3!) ; and then we were off…
It’s a big one!!
Checking it out: it is a Goliath Grouper (and that guy is a fishing guide)
Catch and release, of course. These are endangered; due to being extremely easy to catch and being heavily over-harvested until 1990! Case in point…10 minutes later…
Pop caught this guy! Another huge one!
The best St. Patty’s Day photo!! (this was on the 17th!)
Not the greatest shot; but see the iguana on the log on the beach? (Gasparilla Island)
Again, not the greatest shot; but that is a sea turtle coming up for air (Boca Grande Pass)
While in Florida we also got to drive up to Sarasota and visit some cousins!
Cousins (they grew up in the same neighborhood in Long Island, NY!)
She and her husband are both vets; the kids loved meeting their cousins and their pets!
This pony’s name is Trouble. ahahha
A bearded dragon
We had such a nice visit!
Back out on the water…
Enjoying the boat ride
So many shells!
The many faces…haha
(dead) Horseshoe crabs
Cormorant on a channel marker
A nice collection of (dead) horseshoe crabs; we brought several home (and they survived the flight home!)
Playing in the surf
Catch of the day!
A shiny piece of a sea pen (a type of shell)
Delicious lunch here! (on North Captiva)
Exploring the mangroves
And playing games, while waiting for lunch
We also caught a spring training game…
Where the Yankees beat the Red Sox! Wooo!
Really great seats
Spanish moss and lichen
My old Strawberry Shortcake; who Baby says looks like Chuckie. Hahaha
My mom’s paintings
Great Grandma (my grandmother who I am named after)
Gulf of Mexico
Nana & Pop; thanks for the best spring break ever!!!