George and Mary Pat Boué’s 17′-SeaHunt boat waits quietly at sunrise in her slip to take us on another adventure in the Everglades. Our ticket to the Gulf is at the lower left above.
Plenty of room and very shallow draft are important features for cruising the 10,000 islands. At low tide we often crossed areas inside the marked channel that were less than 3-feet deep.
On Panther Island the rules are clearly posted. My favorite mandate was that you could possess a firearm, but you were not allowed to shoot it!
The beach on Panther Island was plastered with shells atop white sand. We could not approach this site at low tide and many of the beaches were submerged at high tide.
We took a morning off from boating to visit a nearby park that featured the only remaining “Walking Dredge” of it’s kind. You must never forget the ever present mosquitoes in the Everglades and keep repellent handy!
This walking dredge, built in Bay City Michigan, was used to construct parts of the Tamiami Trail, which connected Miami and Tampa in 1924. It is the last of 145 walking machines made. It dug the canal that provided rock for the roadbed, while pulling itself alongside the road. It worked in swampy, slippery ground where other excavators could not function.
The Everglades are a birdwatcher’s dream come true. This Osprey was hunting fish for dinner.
10,000 islands that are all surrounded by dense mangroves can get confusing. George and I both loaded new marine charting apps on our phones before leaving, but we still managed to have a few, “Where are we?” moments.
We made a lunch run across the open Gulf waters to Stan’s Idle Hour in Goodland on Marco Island. Stan’s had live music and served up some tasty food that even the pelicans thought was great. I refused to share a beer with this one.
Our Everglades boating adventures were part of our Valentine’s weekend in the swamps. It would not have been possible without George and Mary Pat dragging their shallow-draft boat down from Miami.
If you go, take mosquito repellent. The marina and sleeping facilities at the Port of Islands were very nice and provided a direct route by boat into the 10,000 islands, as well as the Gulf of Mexico. It’s an interesting area, just be extra wary at low tide. We did not fish, but I chatted with the locals over coffee each morning and they were stoked about this areas’ bounty. It’s an adventure worth taking and a huge change from crowded beaches in Florida’s tourist hubs.