|Mike in the Mangroves - 10,000 Islands|
Well, our final day in Collier Seminole was a great excursion to the 10,000 Islands area of the Everglades National Park. What a day the Geezers had! Breakfast at a little diner in Everglades City, then to the park to launch the kayaks. The 10,000 Islands lie in the NW corner of the Everglades and are accessed by crossing Chokoloskee Bay into Indian Key Pass. Once there, you are treated to thousands of beautiful mangrove islands, and occasional shell beach and all sorts of lagoons and little bays - teaming with wildlife! We saw plenty of dolphins, jumping fish all around and heard reports of sea turtles, and rays in the clear waters. The only difficult part was navigating the currents and waves from the tidal action combined with bust boat traffic in the main channels. From the visitors center it's about a mile or mile and a half paddle to get into the islands. Once there, you can go forever!
Here is a video of two dolphins heading right for Geezer Al - watch them spook as they sense the kayak.
The currents and winds were playing games with us, but we perservered! On the way back, we had about a 15 knot wind, right on the nose which kicked up a bit of a challenging chop on the water, but the Geezers arrived back at the NPS visitors center in Everglades City after an 8 mile paddle safe, sound and dry!
We celebrated by going to Kelleys Fish House in Naples. Good food, expensive and a bit too high falutin's for the Geezers, but popular with the blue haired old ladies. After dinner, laundry and a little Kayak repair in the parking lot while the skivvies tumbled. The laundramat was filled with Mexican workers and Geezer Mike swears he heard "Gringo loco" as they watched us!
Today was devoted to packing up, breaking camp and making the move to Jacksonville for the ACA Kayak Instructors workshop that starts Tuesday morning. We got to the campground at Hanna Park after 7 hours on the highway to find the electric power out at the campground, a dead battery in the camper and a large fish kill in the beautiful lake in the park! Undaunted, we set up camp and ventured out to familiarize ourselves to the area. The absolute best news after a long day was stumbling across a little restaurant called Two Dudes in Atlantic Beach. The place was tucked in a little off the main drag but eagle-eyed geezers can spot good food from miles away. And we were not disappointed! Fresh fish tacos, Shrimp Po'Boys and a mango wasabi slaw hit the spot. They had a good selection of drafts at a reasonable price and pleasant staff. Now, loyal Geezer followers know that we sample Key Lime Pie almost everywhere we go. (Purely for evaluative purposes, of course) Two Dudes Key Lime pie was OFF THE CHART! Best of the trip so far! As a real bonus - free WiFi access! It rated 4 paddles on the Geezer scale. They just opened for business, but if they continue like this, they will be around for a long time!
|Two Dudes Seafood in Atlantic Beach - our new home|
|Best Key Lime Pie of the trip so far!|