Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Beaches, Bays & Birds
Our stay on Captiva Island was delightful. We were fortunate to get one of the 4 slips at the Captiva Island Yacht Club. Bowed in we were practically in the shoreline Mangroves, a perfect spot to watch the Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret and Osprey. The Osprey had a nest on the buoy piling 50 yards away with several youngsters dependent of their very solicitous parents for “pre chewed fish” feedings. The Snowy was stalking his next minnow [see photo column]. A long walk down the beach let us get the “kinks out”, watch the five or six dolphin in a pod move parallel to waves, and photograph shore birds, including a new one for us: the Black-Bellied Plover. We joined the members of the CIYC at the Bar to watch Mine the Bird win the Kentucky Derby. On Sunday mid day we carefully motored out Roosevelt Channel to the ICW and motored passed Useppa Island and around into Pelican Bay. In the bay at Cayo Costa State Park, we anchored amid 30 sailboat and 10 motor vessels. Winds were 15-20 knot ESE clock to SSE and then SW. Our wind generator kept our batteries charged and we watched a lovely yellow orange sunset. There is “fishing” and “catching”, but sometimes you don’t catch what you hoped for. At the anchorage there were hundreds of “bait fish” churning the water next to our hull, possibly hiding in the shade. Several times pelicans came crashing into the water for an easy snack. John decided to put a treble hook on a line and easily snagged a few of these bait fish, which happened to be Round Scad. Still on the hook the 6 inch fish was cast out to attract something bigger. After a few casts and some attempted strikes a big catfish (not the edible kind), the line came in easily. Easily until the fish swimming toward the boat realized the Scad was attached to John’s line. The surprise was a 2 ft shark, lots of fun to bring in but also inedible. What luck John didn't catch the four ft shark he saw hereby a few minutes before. On southeast to south breezes we sailed up Charlotte Harbor to the Isles Yacht Club in Punta Gorda. This newly rebuilt clubhouse and marina basin is a jewel. Hurricane Charley devastated the area in 2004. Helen’s fellow Narimasu High School graduate, Rosemary Blake lives in Port Charlotte, just across the Peace River. We enjoyed a reunion luncheon at Fisherman’s Village and Rosemary kindly chauffeured us to an Optical Shop for small eyeglass repair and to the local Publix. When we returned S/V Barefoot, a 40 ft Island Packet, had arrived on our dock. We’d met Jim & Lenore at Captiva last weekend and though we’ll leave them here, tomorrow, we’ll see them again in Venice on Saturday. Yes, tomorrow we’ll sail down Charlotte Harbor to again anchor at Cayo Costa, this time to surf fish on the Gulf side of the park.