Monday February 29, 2016 Most Recent Posts:
Koreshan State Historic Site The Tour, the Jacks, the Carts and the Week-end
Estero, Florida A Contemplative Walk by the River
We were just about to walk out the door for an excursion to the Edison/Ford Winter Estates when the phone rang and it was HWH about the jack. They were responding to David’s Friday phone call telling them that putting in a new solenoid didn’t make the jack go down. It’s stuck in the UP position.
For an hour David and Randy from HWH work through what’s next. David is up and down and on the ground under the coach talking to Randy on the phone. They finally get the jack to come down and to slowly, very very very slowly, go back up. Randy says that means the jack will have to be replaced. We’ll either have to buy a new one for $410 or send ours in and have it rebuilt for $278.
The jack is now down. Hopefully we can get it to go back up in order to move by the end of the week so we will wait until we get to our next destination to change it out. By then we’ll have decided which we want to buy since both come with the same one year warranty.
At this point it is too late to spend the day at Edison/Ford which closes at 5:00. For the $20 a head admission price we want to have all day. So instead we decide we’ll go over to Lover’s Key State Park and kayak out to the Mound Key Archeological State Park in Estero Bay which historians believe was the ceremonial center of the Calusa Culture in south Florida at the time of the Spanish Invasion.
You can paddle to Mound Key from Koreshan by going all the way down the Estero River and into Estero Bay. This would be a one way trip of about 3 hours so we cut off the river part and drive to the farthest parking lot in Lover’s Key to launch into the bay after about a 1/2 mile paddle in the park’s canal.
We are shocked to see the first two parking lots completely full of cars. We weren’t expecting so many people given that we were here last week and there were less than half that. But last week was Tuesday and this is a Monday. Note to self, skip Mondays in South West Florida next winter. Or perhaps the March Spring Break madness has already begun on this Leap Day.
Orange seems to be the color of the parks’ rental kayaks so David fits right in. Everybody is checking their maps. I’m already in the water.
And what a beautiful day to be on the water.
This tri-colored heron obviously thinks so too.
Above, an osprey is snacking on his catch.
The snowy egret must have great eyes to be able to see the fish from this far back or pehaps he’s just resting.
More tri-coloreds are poised on the mangrove roots.
We find the tunnel through the mangroves and out to the bay.
There is a sign in the middle to discourage power boats and a sentinel is keeping watch.
Estero Bay is huge. We can see the island over there but we also see that we’ll have to cross a couple of boating lanes and today must be Daytona 500 time trials on the water.
Jet skis and power boats by the score are zooming back and forth and creating waves that come up over the bow of the kayak.
This is not my kind of paddling. I’m bailing on this plan. David is ahead of me, on his way. I blow my distress whistle to let him know I’m not following. He doesn’t hear me. No wonder with all the power motor noise. After blowing and blowing, I give up, turn around and head back.
I wait just under the bridge to see if he notices. He does and follows me. When he arrives, I tell him to go on and I’ll just kayak the 5 miles of the canal and meet him back at the put in. He says he’s not “wedded to it”. I wish he’d go on rather than let me spoil his fun.
Back we go. The sentinel has moved off the sign onto a nearby mangrove.
Back through the tunnel and into the canals which are much wider than I was expecting.
It even looks prettier to me here than out on the big bay.
After the number of boats on the bay, the ones in the canal seem few by comparison. We notice that most have the orange paddles and yellow/orange boats of the park’s rentals.
We also pass paddle boarders and folks biking and hiking around the trails. All these toys are for rent here if you don’t have your own.
Each half mile on the canal is marked by bouys. Of course they too are orange. It appears this one has an employee to answer questions if you get lost.
We don’t get to see Mound Key today but we do discover what looks like a shell island. Maybe the Calusa deposited these shells as well.
A closer look at the eroded banks shows that the entire thing does seems to be made of piles of shells.
There are a few viewpoint platforms along the trails around the canal. I”m surprised that we only see one person fishing. The wading birds and the cormorant seem to think it’s a good area. Hope this fisherwoman catches something.
This is one of my favorite pictures of the day as we approach another larger island in the middle of the canal to find it ringed with clouds.
An osprey is busy on his nest beside the water. He too seems to have a fish. Zooming in, I can’t tell if he’s eating it or feeding it to a youngster in the nest.
The canal is an in and out paddle. We have reached the 2.5 mile point at the cul-de-sac where we must turn around and return.
On our way around the edge we spot a yellow crowned night heron. This is great since we seldom see them. Usually we see only the black crowned night heron.
On the return trip, paddling back by the osprey nest I see a head poking out. If this is the juvenile, he’s plenty big at this point.
What am I spotting on this 1/2 mile marker? Is it a juvenile spotted sandpiper? Or?? He’s bobbing up and down. Very cute!
Love this Gumbo Limbo tree leaning out over the water. It’s just beginning to get its leaves but its bark gives it away.
It’s also called the tourist tree because it’s bark is red and often pealing.
The snowy egret has stepped out of the water to show off his golden slippers.
He is fishing on one side of the canal as I float past and the tri-colored heron is fishing on the other side. I’m surrounded by fishermen.
Even above me, the pelican sentinal is heading down the canal.
It’s been a lovely afternoon on the park’s canals even if we didn’t get to Mound Key. Maybe another day with less traffic.
We get the boats out of the water and back on the car and it’s only 3:30. Plenty of time to stop by the beach, maybe even stay for sunset.
The new cart’s big wheels work great in the sand. It carries everything, even the umbrella we don’t need, with ease.
Someone earlier in the day has built some nice real estate for us to take over.
Not many people left on the beach. Just the way we like it.
We read and nap and as the sun goes down the air cools off quite a bit. So much so that we decide about 20 minutes before sunset to take everything back to the car and get some warmer clothes and come back down just for a look as the sun goes down.
My camera makes it look much darker out as we cross the bridge with the sun dropping quickly behind us.
On our way over the bridges that cross the canal, we see a great egret and another solo sandpiper.
We arrive back just in time to catch the sun dropping into the sea.
We attempt another of our hilarious selfies. I won’t bore you with the worst of them. Sadly, this is the best.
I take a couple of looks back at our last beach day on the Gulf for Winter 2016. It has been a really unusual weather year in Southwest Florida, unlike any other we’ve experienced. But it was beautiful today.