Immerse in an ECO-Tour and Experience Southwest Florida Islands by Boat
“Captain Brian Holaway is well versed in the intricacies of our unmatched locale. He can guide to and through a multitude of out-of-the way tidal creeks, bayous, keys and islands. More important is his passionate interest and respect for the region. With unique insights from his many explorations and his studies, not only does he identify the birds and wildlife that inhabit our semi-tropical watery land, but he explains their interconnectedness to their environment and each other. In addition, he shares the fascinating history of rugged people who came long before us: Florida Native Indians, the Calusa, the Spanish, the Cubans, early homesteaders, and the wisdom evident in the growth of their culture.
You will come away with great enjoyment and a new understanding of this beautiful place and its history.”
Historian, Betty Anholt
Author of Sanibel’s Story
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Wind and tides dictate where you can travel in the vast wilderness of the Ten Thousand Islands. Both were in my favor. The decision was made to go south while the winds were favorable. Traveling south 60 miles down the coast was extremely enjoyable, everything from a deliciously crisp green apple, to the passing by of Mormon Key, Lostmans River, the Harney and Shark River, and finally the white shelly beaches of the southern most beach on the gulf coast of Florida, Cape Sable. The Beach was absolutely picture perfect. The shells were good and people sparse. The people I did run into were friendly and from Wisconsin. The older lady was very nice and talked about her old shell collection, with a twinkle in her eye. She had been collecting shells for years. The wind had picked up to 25 mph out of the south east. I was anchored in the last bight on the gulf coast, tucked in just enough so the boat was lying in calm water. My thoughts drifted like the tide. Should I go to Flamingo and top off with fuel, then come back and anchor for the night in Lake Ingraham? If the wind picks up out of the south and gets a little west to it, things could get ugly, and I still have to get back up the coast. Running on the inside in the bays can be a bit dicey this time of year with the tides because of the shallow water. Two to three feet of water in the bays, when there is water. I brought 3 props; one is already dinged, and one is aluminum. The back bay on these tides, is definitely plan "D". I decided to anchor up for the night just north of the entrance to Lake Ingraham. The tide was really moving at the entrance, at least 5 knots. I decided to anchor in a little Eddy to the north of the entrance. The sand bar west of the entrance provided excellent protection from the wind. The tidal drop is 5.8 feet on this moon, huge for the gulf coast. This stretch of beach was a treasure trove of plants, shells, and a plethora of signs and scat, of four legged critters. The moon coming up over Lake Ingraham startled me for a moment. The moon beams on the driftwood caused me to run a quarter mile down the beach to get my camera. The sun's last pinkish glow was still in the sky as I walked back to the boat. The mosquitoes came out to dine soon after the pink left the sky. Common sense says," Keep your tent door's zipped at all times until its time to get in."
The Ten Thousands Islands on the west coast of Florida are remote awe inspiring and buggy. After leaving Rabbit Key Pass I traveled south to Pavilion Key. The shelling was great and the weather was perfect. I decided to take a nap under one of my favorite trees, the Buttonwood. After a brief catnap, I planned where I would anchor the boat for the evening. The deepest water around was up the Huston River. I anchored close to shore at first, then after a debate with my common sense. I anchored at the mouth of the river in 9 feet of water and watched the moon rise and the sun go to sleep in the gulf of Mexico. The silence was deafening. I heard double crested cormorant's wings flap as they flew inland for the night. What a sound, a moment I will not forget. The sunset light was superb. The mosquitoes were less superb. I put up the tent on the front of the boat, because without the zipper closure on the tent, the bugs would have carried me, and my common sense away. The beauty of the Everglades is as inspiring as the bugs are bad. Over all a great night under the moon.