Pine Island Day Trip

We live here in sunny SW Florida and we just recently realized that with all this area has to offer, we spend way too much time here at home. It's time to get out there and see something new. I wanted to go to the beach. I have a brand new bathing suit and we haven't seen the Gulf in over a year now. BUT, Mike had heard about a really cool biker bar in St. James City. So we decided to head there for the day, do some exploring, have a nice lunch and so on.

It's about an hour's drive from here to Pine Island. We drove all the way to the end of the island, St. James City, to find that awesome bar. It's called the Ragged Ass Saloon, sounds like a lot of fun. Nope, turns out it was this tiny little snack bar...  looked ragged alright. We decided we wanted something a little different so we headed a few doors down to the  Low Key Tiki bar. Sidled up to the bar, ordered our drinks, and were informed that they only serve beer and wine. WTF? Is this a bar or the Winn-Dixie!

A few more doors down we settled on this place; Woody's Waterside Restaurant. When they say waterside what they mean is it's on a canal off the Gulf. Whatever... they have whiskey and food! Mike ordered a pulled pork sandwich and I had a Philly steak sandwich. We really were looking forward to some fresh seafood, being waterside and this is a huge fishing area, but our choices were either ground up on a taco or served on a stick.

They do have a nice deck overlooking the canal. Here's Mike enjoying his beer.

A nice view looking down the canal. Time to take some waterside pictures. I came here to see the Gulf but I will take what I can get.

Pelicans are fun to watch. Since this area is mostly about fishing you will see lots of pelicans hanging out at the docks waiting for some leftover fish.

There was a duck. She had a couple babies with her, too.

A pair of pelicans, not much more to see here. So we went for a drive about the island. Hopefully we could find a spot to get out, roam around, shop, do some sight seeing. We headed to the other end of the island to a little town called Bokeelia.
Really, you couldn't go anywhere there without running into no trespassing signs or a fee. They wanted $8 just to walk out on one of the piers... per person! We tried to drive into a place that does kayak rentals and were immediately stopped by a guy in golf cart. He was friendly enough I suppose, giving us his list of prices and so on, yet I got the distinct feeling that I wasn't welcome anywhere near his water until I paid up. Moving on.

It's a coconut tree.

Pine Island is known for their mangoes and they are for sale everywhere, ripened right on the vine.

This was cool. I believe it's an osprey high up in a tree. He wouldn't turn his head around for me to get a good shot. We were on a side street and with the greeting we got on Bokeelia, I was afraid we'd piss off the locals and they come at us with flaming torches.

Heading back off the island we went through Matlacha. This place seems a bit more touristy but there is nowhere to park. We finally found some sort of Community Park, and low and behold, shock of all shocks, there was no fee to park and walk around.

There is a very short walking path through the mangrove backwaters.

This is some sort of plant I see all over this area near the beaches. I have one growing here but I have no idea what it is called. Some of those seeds accidentally fell into Mike's pocket.

Ah, the mangroves. Ugh, the mosquitos. I'd surely like to grow a mangrove. I wonder how they propagate.

Wait! What is this? Could it be? My toes in the....

Yep, there's the Gulf. And here's Mike wishing I would put the camera away.

We found a pier to walk out on and look for signs of life.

These are still very shallow, very warm backwaters. Saw a few little fish, a crab and this jellyfish.

At last, open water! I believe that is Sanibel in the background.

 I still want to go to the beach and get more than just my toes in the water. Maybe next week....
Overall, I wouldn't recommend Pine Island unless you were dead set on doing some fishing and had made reservations and paid in advance. Otherwise there really isn't much else to see and do.

Oh, and when we got home, we realized that these mangrove seedlings had somehow fallen into the car, or something like that. I must try to save them!