Anclote Key and Caladesi Island
June 27th, 2010
I played hooky from church last Sunday to take advantage of an opportunity to go and visit Anclote Key and Caladesi Island off the coast of Dunedin, Florida. Friends Robin and Bob from Good Time Kayaking invited us out for a day of fishing and relaxation and Rob and I sure needed that! We met them at 6 am and headed to the Anclote Public Boat Launch. Soon we had gotten our bait and we were motoring out into the gulf.
It was an amazing day the water and the weather were perfect. First stop was Anclote Key. I had wanted to visit this pristine, protected island for a couple years and was more than pleased to set foot on the beach. There were shorebirds everywhere. We had missed nesting season but there were young birds still with the adults everywhere. Our first to spot were the spoonbills, then a large group of young Great Blue Herons. I can’t even name all the varieties we saw.
Robin and I had soon made it around the tip of the island and we were greeted by wide white beaches and beautiful clear blue water on the gulf side of the island. There were more seashells on this beach than I had ever seen and the variety was crazy. We admired the sea oats and pampas grass growing further inland near the cabbage palms and other wind beat vegetation. At the widest part of the island it appeared impassable the growth was so thick. At the thinnest part near the primitive camp area you could easily see both shores. We found little trash, but picked up what we found. There was one thing we did not bring back with us and that was a washed up boat, it was a bit too much work to dig it up! As we continued to walk down towards the lighthouse I could not help but be in awe for the beauty of this place! Near the lighthouse there is a large osprey nest and as we crossed the tidal pools a very large osprey dived into the water right in front of us! It was an amazing site to see as it lifted back into flight from the water and shook the water off in mid flight. There were small rays and lots of fish in these warm pools. Once we arrived at the Ferry dock our fellas arrived to meet us to ferry us to the next island.
On the way to Caladesi they told us about a 4ft shark they caught and nearly got into the boat…I am kinda glad I missed that adventure! Caladesi was just a beautiful. Just a couple hundred yards off Honey Moon Island across the channel and you are there! We motored along the island till we reached the entrance channel to the dock. Mangroves on both side seemed to lure us into the center of the island. We talked to the rangers while we were there, checked out the concession stand and had a bite of lunch. The rangers were wonderful. We let them know that we were bringing a group of kayakers out in about two weeks and they gave us many interesting tips about the island to share with our group.
Soon we were back in the SandCat and headed out for some more fishing. We stopped at a small island and soon the fellas were catching small Black tipped Sharks, Small Ocean Trout and other game fish. I took some time to explore the little is and found that though it was beautiful it was covered in trash and waste. There was no way to get all the trash off of this island and it broke my heart to leave it like that.
I was able to get most of it gathered to one spot and I hope that the next person out there would have the bags to gather it all up and haul it off. We fished right though a summer shower and we were glad to get washed off by the fresh water! The sun had really wore me out and by the time we got back to the dock I was more than ready for a nap!
Robin and Rob were fantastic hosts and we were very glad to have been able to enjoy the afternoon with them. The beauty of the Gulf of Mexico cannot be described in words! It breaks my heart to even think that all of this could soon be lost to the worst oil disaster in history just off these shores. I encourage all of you to volunteer, and do what you can to protect these amazing assets we have right here in our back yard!
Anyone interested in taking a day trip out to one of these islands please contact us at www.notaclueadventures.com or call Jeanene 813-789-0904 firstname.lastname@example.org