Third Day of Spring

Third Day of Spring

The third day of spring began with Van Morrison singing “Into the Mystic” as the sun rose over the bow of the boat. Today I had two wonderful charters. The first trip was with two crafty ladies: Hannah Milman and Clarice Rogers. Hannah is the Nature and Craft Editor for Martha Stewart Living magazine. Hannah has been a great friend and client for over a decade. Clarice is a wonderful person and a joy to be around. I have been fortunate to have known her for five years. We traveled to Secret Spot #2 on Cayo Costa Island. We walked around and discussed the plant life in a remote region on this barrier island. Clarice is very knowledgeable about botany and curious about the plants of Cayo Costa. We observed new shoots of sea grape trees, nicker bean and prickly pear. Hannah was busy studying the Cabbage palm tree and the different textures this unique tree possesses. Hannah was looking at every branch and leaf as a work of art and how they could be used in art. Two very crafty ladies with a keen eye for observation in the natural world. I learned a lot from both of them from the questions they asked.

Trip two… destination: Cayo Costa Island. Trip two was with four ladies from Ohio. Grandma, daughter, granddaughter and granddaughter’s friend. Margery, Paula, Emily, and Mary Clair. The trip departed from Captiva Island and, as we traveled to the North end of the island, we spotted manatee. It was a real treat to see these large marine mammals. We continued North past North Captiva. and explored the harbor on the island, which is known as Safety Harbor. I heard the distinct sound of river otters before I spotted the first one. We were lucky to see mother river otter and her two babies. Emily wanted to take one home, saying “They are so cute.” We listened and watched as the little otters weaved in and out of the prop roots of the red mangroves. After a great viewing of these streamlined creatures, we continued our trip North to Cayo Costa. Before we reached Cayo, we spotted a dolphin and it was spectacular! The dolphin cruised on both sides of our boat, so close that we could hear the dolphin take a breath. I put the boat into neutral and we enjoyed watching the dolphin swim around the boat. When the dolphin finally decided he was ready to move on, we continued our voyage to Cayo Costa. But, sometimes the best laid plans don’t always come to fruition. My first choice of a place to disembark on Cayo Costa didn’t work out as planned, so I went with Plan B. It’s always good to have different options. The second place to access the island worked out great. However the wind was a strong 25 mph on the Gulf side of the island. Remember when I said Plan B? Well, it is always good to have plan C. We ended up pulling anchor and traveling to the Pine Island Sound side of Cayo Costa. We enjoyed the warmth of the sun and found excellent small shells in perfect condition. The ride back to Captiva Island was enjoyable, with the wind at our back. Three generations enjoyed a beautiful beach, river otters, dolphin, manatee, and Plans A, B and C.

Captain Brian

Brian Holaway

I have been a Shelling Guide to Cayo Costa State Park since 1995. Many people know me as the Shelling Guide and Captain with Captiva Cruises over the past 20 years. In 2016 I began solely offering private small boat charters to the islands of Pine Island Sound including Cayo Costa State Park, Cabbage Key, Useppa Island, Pine Island and North Captiva. I am a certified Florida Master Naturalist, licensed USCG Captain, avocational photographer, seashell enthusiast and passionate about the history, people and culture of Southwest Florida, especially Cayo Costa. I volunteer as a member of Friends of Cayo Costa State Park and have great respect for the heritage of Cayo Costa. My goal is to provide guests with an overall experience and appreciation for the waters, islands, shells, plants, marine life, wildlife, history and people of this unique area of Southwest Florida.

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