Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Monday, January 24, 2011


Monday, January 24, 2011 concluded my three day weekend in St. James City on Pine Island. Here, courtesy of the Great Calusa Blueway, is a map of Pine Island and the surrounding area. Great Calusa Blueway   The Calusa inhabited southwest Florida when the Spanish arrived in the 1500's.  Shell mounds are all that is left of a once thriving culture.  I have learned that Galt Island, which I paddled to on Sunday, has a large Calusa mound.  Looking at my printed copy of the same map, I thought, where should I paddle today?
Ask my innkeeper if I could leave the car parked at the Southernmost Inn, and paddle 2 miles or so to Sanibel and Tarpon Bay?  Or drive north to Pineland, and make the six mile crossing to Cayo Costa State Park a voyage I made in December, 2008 ?  Or, again leaving the car after checking out, and just paddling around the tip of Pine Island?  Well, I came south for better weather, and to see Sanibel.  So instead of making the two- three mile paddle, I made the almost 40 mile drive to Sanibel Island and the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
Lots of rosette spoonbills in the water on the left side of Wildlife Drive.  No pics.  This isn't Cannon's Car Chronicles.  I paused at the spot on the right side of the Drive that often has spoonbills.  None. To the launch site, in at 10 am.
 Where a spoonbill was across from the launch site.  I could not get close, the water was too shallow. Early morning low tide

I paddled north east, into one of the lake like or lagoon areas.

Through a gap in the mangroves into Pine Island Sound.  When I visited Sanibel in December, rough water kept me out of the Sound.  This trip, I paddled up to Captiva Island.  Entered Blind Pass, the channel dividing Sanibel from Captiva.  A strong current pushed me forward.   I did not stay in the Pass long, I did not want to paddle for an extended time against the current.  Turned around, set course back the way I came.

I saw a bald eagle earlier, flying overhead. No eagles were in the trees where I've seen them before on the outward paddle.  One was present on the return.

Old Fuss and Feathers.

Saw one kayaker, fishing.

Power lines stretching from Sanibel Island to Pine Island.  I returned to the launch site, took a brief break, then continued paddling in the channel along Wildlife Drive.

Past the observation tower, into a mangrove tunnel.  Turned around at a wide spot before I would have to back out.
I'm glad I have a kayak.  The number of cars on the Drive was overwhelming.  At least to me.  More cars on a January Monday then a Sunday the week before Christmas.

No spoonbills in my spoonbill spot. They all must have been on the other side of Wildlife Drive, which is off limits to any entry.  I did see two, and another bald eagle, fly overhead. I left the channel, entering another lake like area.  Saw a canoeing couple, who asked what the large brown and white raptor was.  Osprey. I paddled through an opening back in the Sound.

Last chance to see a dolphin.  No luck.  I put the camera on max zoom, 12x for this shot of the distant homes on Galt Island.

I landed at 2:20.  Being on Sanibel, I wanted to walk the beach.  Pine Island has no beaches of any significance.  I thought I'd go to the Bailey Tract, leave the car, and bike to the Tapron Road Beach access.  I did that back in April, 2005.  This time, two surprises.  One, the amount of cars in the lot.  About 10.  In December, on a Sunday, less then 5.  And a sign warning of a hefty fine if not parking to use the Tract.  So, I left, went to the Lighthouse Beach, and paid $2 for a hour's parking.

A pleasant afternoon, high of 72.

I walked to an on the fishing pier, then to my brother's timeshares, then back to the lighthouse, then back to the beach.

I may have seen a dolphin, a glimpse of a dorsal fin, but if it was, it did not surface again while I was watching

Parking time running out, I left at 4:30.  I did see a dolphin while driving across the causeway.

No comments: